With all the Duck Dynasty drama everywhere, I've tried to keep my mouth shut. Mainly because tempers are rising and people are way too excited about arguing their own point. But when things like this pop up, I try to keep in mind one major point.
It seems like both sides of the "debate" or "issue" have lost all regard for who they are arguing with, and their only goal is to make sure they prove that their view is the right one.
I've learned there is no ONE right view. Everyone on this planet is unique, has lived different experiences, gone through different trials, had different influences on them. We all develop our own personal beliefs and views based on those experiences. Remember that quote about viewing the world through rose colored glasses? In my mind, I picture everyone with their own colored glasses on. Reality happens, and you view it and perceive it through your own glasses (your experiences, your trials, your views, your beliefs, your issues, whatever else has influence on your perception.) No one views things completely without bias or judgement. We can try, but we don't. We can't. Because we're not clean slates, just absorbing info. We're taking things in and dissecting them and analyzing them and putting them back together how we see fit.
So... Both sides of the Duck Dynasty issue are viewing this event through their own glasses. Those who are Christians feel like they're being forced into political correctness and being pushed to say that something they believe is wrong really isn't. They are ONLY going to push back harder that they have a right to believe and say what they want, because they see the views of others and interpret them as attacking, so they get defensive. The Gay and Lesbian community who have felt left out and persecuted their whole lives took Phil Robertson's view as an attack on who they are and their lifestyles and of course got defensive as well. When we're under attack, we all either have that Flight or Fight instinct, and online, it's all too easy to Fight back.
I am Mormon. And I'm southern. I have a lot of Gay/Lesbian friends whom I adore. They are amazing people. People assume they know my stance on things based on any one of the above facts. But I'm not really upfront about exactly how I believe. I follow my church's teaching. The below is taken from LDS.org:
"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).
Point blank... Being gay is not a sin. Violating the law of chastity is. So there. I said it. In my opinion, Gay sex is a sin. But you know what else I believe? That all people sin in one way or another. So the fact that I don't have gay sex does not make me any better or more righteous than someone who does, because in fact, I sin a lot. So, you can get your panties in a wad because I think gay sex is a sin, or you can recognize that I believe everyone sins in one way or another. No one is better than anyone else.
And I'm absolutely positive that my view on it will come as no surprise to my friends, especially those who are gay. But can I tell you a couple things I always try to keep in mind when it comes to issues like this and my beliefs?
1. Like I said before, we all sin. No one is free from sin. Hence, who am I to judge?
2. Who am I to tell anyone how to live their life or what to believe? As I said before, we all go through life with our own perceptions and views and beliefs and they are all valid. You got to those beliefs and views because of what you've gone through in your life. And that is OK. It's alright. It's valid for you to see things that way. It doesn't bother me. It's not my job to "correct you" or "teach you." And it's not your job to do the same to me. My views are ok and valid as well. And what's super crazy is that we can co-exist without drama or disagreements or conflicts, as long as we both recognize this fact!
3. While I may view certain things as sin (I don't drink coffee or tea or alcohol, I don't smoke either.) That doesn't mean that I look at you and see you doing those things and think "That person is going straight to hell!" I don't think that it says that anywhere in the bible (or book of Mormon for that matter.) I don't know or understand every commandment out there, so I'm obviously not living up to and keeping all of them. Hmmm... I'm trying to figure out how to write this part out so it can be understood. You can take any bible verse, let 10 people read it, and all 10 people will have a different interpretation of exactly what it means (remember those glasses from before? That's why.) To me, religion and spirituality are very personal things. I believe that God teaches us what WE need to know. What I need to know may be very different from what YOU need to know. How I view sin is this... God looks on the heart, right? So what's in your heart? What do you feel and believe is sin? If you think something is a sin (or wrong, whatever) don't do it. If you think something is okay, go ahead. But be honest with yourself about it all. I would LOVE to get a tattoo (crazy right?) but I honestly believe that it would be defiling the temple(my body) that God gave me, so I don't do it. If you don't view that the same as me, then go ahead. I believe that God will hold us accountable for our own personal beliefs, and what He has taught us, through personal revelation (your conscience and all that.) I believe our judgement will be a very personal thing. Not that we have to measure up to some magic ruler he has, because honestly, none of us would ever measure up alone (but with Christ and the Atonement and all that... It's possible.) If you'd like to get into a more in depth discussion on what I believe the final judgement will be like, I'd be happy to do that, but it'll get way long (and this is already getting there.) so just message me or comment or something.
4. You don't even have to believe in God. If you don't, I'm cool with that too. Just try to live up to whatever ideal you have. Don't be a jerk. Try to be kind and decent to people. I do believe that a lot of this life is how we treat others.
Before I really conclude, I'd like to say one more thing. Because I have the views I do on homosexuality, that DOES NOT mean that I am Homophobic. I am not afraid of gay people. I do not believe that people are going to hell for being gay. I do not hate a person because they are gay. So, the fact that I am southern and christian/mormon does NOT mean I'm homophobic. And the comments that are labeling people (no matter what the label) kinda bug me. It's like name calling. It's not nice.
My main point to all this... BE KIND. The top two commandments given were to Love. Love God, and Love each other. When you love someone, you love them no matter what they're doing. You care for them no matter how they're living their life. It doesn't mean you have to participate in something you don't agree with. But you don't try to change them to fit your expectations. You're just there, accepting of the person as they are. That's how I see it. You treat people like PEOPLE. After all, we're all sons and daughters of God. Or if you're not religious, we're all just human beings trying to live out our lives as best we can. I think in this day and age, Kindness will go much further than arguing some point that in the big picture, has very very little to do with your life.