Providing a Catholic framework on the truth and meaning of sexuality, love, and family

Duck Dynasty, Dignity, and God’s Design for Us

By: Vincent Weaver

In recent days, there has been quite an uproar over the patriarch of Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, commenting on homosexual acts in an interview with GQ magazine.  For those comments, he has been indefinitely suspended from the show.  Though some of his comments were rather crude, to be sure, they weren’t what most rational people would consider “hateful” or “mean”.  In fact, one could view these comments as quite instructive.  Let me explain.

First, though most media outlets utterly failed to make this distinction, Mr. Robertson was clearly speaking about sexual behaviornot homosexuality itself.  Not only that, he wasn’t just singling out homosexual behavior, but rather, sexual immorality overall.  There are two things we can all glean from that:

1)    We should always recognize the dignity of every person first and foremost.  We have that dignity because we’re created in God’s image and likeness, and that “True Worth” that we have never changes or goes away.  However, not only do we have a right, but an obligation to speak out against behaviors that are destructive and place us at risk of our eternal salvation.  It is not loving to stand by and watch someone jeopardize their eternal soul – it’s cruel and it’s cowardly. 

     We should never single-out homosexual acts while turning a blind eye to other behaviors that are contrary to God’s plan for our sexuality (i.e. cohabitation, adultery, etc.)  All misuses of our sexuality are harmful to us.  Period.

Specifically, Mr. Robertson used a phrase that is interesting.  He says homosexual acts are “…just not logical”.  In striving to understand God’s logic (and not our own), this is a correct statement.  Defying natural law in the way our bodies are made is “not logical”.  Adultery is “not logical”, nor is cohabitation, because our bodies are saying to the other “I’m committed to you.  I’m a part of you.”  When, in fact, that’s a lie under those circumstances – it’s illogical. 

However, I would propose that Mr. Robertson didn’t take this analysis far enough.  Even within marriage, we can fall short of God’s plan for us.  God gave us two gifts in our lives that were meant to be both life-giving and pleasurable.  Those two are eating (and drinking) and the marital embrace.  When we eat (or drink) solely for pleasure, and then don’t allow our bodies to derive the natural, life-giving outcomes, we do damage.  Why is bulimia harmful?  It seeks pleasure without affording the life-giving outcomes.  Therefore, it’s naturally considered a “disorder”, and even the pleasurable aspect soon disappears.

But, what about sex within marriage that does the same thing?  If a couple engages in the marital embrace while using contraception (or voluntary sterilization), we are seeking pleasure without accepting the other part of God’s gift – the “unitive” or life-giving aspect.  Even when the act does not result in a baby, it’s intended to be life-giving to the relationship.   Is it any wonder that couples who are not “open to life” within their marriages have much higher divorce rates?  Another way to look at this is that it appears that contraception is present in over 99% of the failed marriages being addressed in annulment cases.  99%.  When you purposefully remove the procreative aspect, you risk losing the unitive aspect, as well. 

So, may we all be loving enough to speak to others about God’s beautiful design for our gift of sexuality.  But, may we all embrace the entire message and recognize the dignity we all have as persons – as children of our loving God.

(Want more information on the problems with contraception?  Click on this link to listen to Dr. Janet Smith’s “Contraception: Why Not?” – probably the best presentation in existence on this subject.)

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