Sunday, December 22, 2013

Truth, Tolerance and Love

“The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.” –Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal-

By now I’m sure most of you have heard about the two big headlines of the week, namely, Phil Robertson being placed on “Hiatus” from A&E’s show Duck Dynasty, and secondly, Same Sex Marriage in Utah. It has come to my attention from more than one source that I am “Just as bad” as the people doing the wrong thing if I sit here and don’t do or say anything. Therefore, I have decided to write this blog in the hopes of stating my personal opinion and also encouraging love, tolerance, and patience with others whose opinions are differ from yours.  

I’ll start off with the matter of Phil Robertson. I heard a lot about it before I actually read any articles on it. I heard that he was fired, that his first amendment rights to freedom of speech were taken away from him, that he said being gay was like bestiality, and several other rumors. Then I read some articles for myself and here is what I have come up with. 

He had an interview with GQ. In the interview he is asked about several controversial things including what it was like growing up in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana, and why he voted for Mitt Romney. Then of course, he was asked about what he thought was a sin.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” 

After this interview, he was put on an indefinite hiatus. 

A statement from A&E:

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty," the network said in a statement Wednesday. "His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."

So let’s dispel a few rumors right now. He wasn’t fired. He was put on a temporary hiatus. Indefinite means for an unspecified amount of time, not forever.

Also, he did not compare being gay to bestiality. He said homosexual behavior was a sin, and he said that sleeping around was a sin, and he said bestiality was a sin. He did not compare them; he simply stated what he thought was sin.

Lastly, his freedom of speech was not in any way infringed upon. He was asked his opinion and he gave it, as is his right. A&E read it. They disagreed with it and stated that his personal beliefs do not reflect those of A&E. They put him on hiatus, as is their right. 

Whether you agree with what he said or not, the fact is, he was asked his opinion and he gave it. If that isn’t freedom of speech, I don’t know what is. In this country you have the right to say what you want. However, you DON’T have the right to avoid the consequences of saying what you want. Whether the consequences are good or bad, there are still consequences to every single action and choice you make. 

In my own personal opinion, I believe that the specific sins he listed ARE indeed sins. I also believe that the way he said it, and many other things he said in the interview, were in poor taste, and perhaps ignorant. 

I can see why people are upset about him being put on hiatus. The guy was asked his personal opinion and he gave it. Does this really warrant a suspension? I personally don’t think so. But however unjust we may think it is, let’s not forget that it is A&E’s right to decide this. 

I do think that it is somewhat hypocritical to ask a man about his beliefs and then tell him he is wrong afterwards. I ask you this. If a famous gay actor was interviewed and said that Christianity was wrong, would he be fired? It’s unlikely. This is the double standard of society. Wrong is now right, and right is now wrong. We are now ‘bad’ if we think homosexuality is a sin. 

Isaiah 5:20

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Here is what I say. Don’t waste your time being offended by other people’s personal beliefs. Being upset and offended most likely won’t change what they think. You have your opinion and I have mine. Let us agree to disagree, and let God judge between me and thee! 

Phil had the right to state his personal beliefs, A&E had the right to suspend him, and you have the right to be smug or upset about it. Nobody’s rights were taken away, even if there were perceived injustices.

Now, let us move on to the next topic. 

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”-Rick Warren-

I am LDS, obviously. And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I quote from The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

I stand by the prophets and their teachings, and I intend to honor my temple covenants. I believe that Thomas S. Monson truly is a prophet, and that he receives direct revelation from God. I believe that what this document proclaims is true. 

What I don’t believe is that we should hate homosexual people. It doesn’t say that we should call them names. It doesn’t say that we should tear them down. It doesn’t say we should harass them. In fact, we are commanded to love one another. 

Matthew 22: 36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

I’ve often heard the expression, “You can hate the sin, but still love the sinner”. And truly, we are all sinners. There is none among us who are blameless before the Lord. If we couldn’t love sinners then we’d be all out of love

They look like loveable people to me, even if I don't approve of what just happened.

I’m going to put it out there that I don’t believe that gay marriage should be legalized. However, I’m not going to go out there and protest. I’m not going to get upset if it IS legalized. And I’m not going to harass gay people who decide to get married. As long as my religious rights are protected, and I'm still allowed to oppose gay marriage and my church is not forced to perform gay marriages in our sacred temples, then I see no reason to stir up contention.

If it comes down to another vote against gay marriage, then I will do so, because it is my right, just like it is the right of any other Utahn to vote for  or against gay marriage. 

What is frustrating to me is how underhanded the legalizing of gay marriage was. I believe the judge was more concerned about his own personal beliefs than he was about the beliefs of the majority of Utahn’s.
I’m not very knowledgeable about politics. I try to be, but honestly it just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t like reading or watching the news. I don’t enjoy listening to politicians. But I can say that it really bothers me when politicians and other government officials are corrupt. What happened to “government of the people, by the people, for the people?”

Either way, whether this law gets appealed or not, I stand by what the church says:

“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

If someone in my family came to me and told me they were gay, would I still love them? Absolutely. Would they still be part of my family? Absolutely.  Would I march in a gay pride parade? Absolutely not. 

I believe in the Plan of Salvation. I believe that the atonement applies to everyone, not just those whose sins we ‘approve’ of. I believe that there is truth, and there is tolerance, and that we can still cling to the truth while being tolerant of others beliefs. 

I’m not a perfect person. I’m not a perfect Christian. Sometimes I’m a hypocrite. Sometimes I’m not very loving. But I AM trying. I am always trying to be better than the person I was yesterday. 

Since it is Christmas, I’m asking you to give our Savior one thing. Give him your love

Matthew 25:40

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

If the savior was standing in front of you, would you call him names? No? Then don’t do it to someone else.
Remember that the savior ate with the sinners and stopped the stoning of an adulterous woman, and by most standards, adultery is a more serious sin than homosexuality. 

John 8:7

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

This Christmas let us Christians not forget the first 6 letters of the label we have taken upon ourselves. Christ. 

Merry Christmas!