Why Is It Always About Sex?


Phil of the Duck Dynasty reiterates the fundamentalist view of sin:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious. Sexual immorality, is number one on the list. How many ways can we sin sexually? My goodness. You open up that can of worms and people will be mad at you over it. I am just reading what was written over 2000 years ago. Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it. Whether I said it, or they read it, what’s the difference? The sins are the same, humans haven’t changed […] But there’s a way out, do you want to hear the rest of the story or what? Jesus will take sins away, if you’re a homosexual he’ll take it away, if you’re an adulterer, if you’re a liar, what’s the difference?

In that last round-up of sins, Robertson puts homosexuality first, then adultery, then lying. The last two are actually in the Ten Commandments – and yet “homosexuality” is on their level, along with the view that somehow homosexual orientation can be prayed away (something that the largest Christian denomination on earth, the Catholic Church, denies). And this fundamentalist psychology then deepens:

If you break one sin you may as well break them all. If we lose our morality, we will lose our country. It will happen.

Again, as Christian doctrine, this is bonkers. There are obvious levels of sinfulness; the smallest white lie is not the same as a rape, and committing one does not mean committing them all. But you can hear the rhythms of the terrified fundamentalist psyche behind all these words. It is not enough for sins to occur (because that would make our time no different than any other); it is always the case that we are confronting a crisis of sinfulness, and that crisis is always spinning out of control into apocalyptic scenarios. So you give in to the gays, you give in to everything evil, because “if you break one sin you may as well break them all.” And if you break them all, America ceases to exist.

To recap: fundamentalism is not the same as Christianity. It has certain psychological tropes. The first is to see sexual sin as by far the worst of them and the root of all of them. The second is to see gays – whose very being represents sexual sin – as an enemy class within a society bringing about its destruction if they are not stopped or converted (see: Jews, Europe, circa 1300 – 1945). The third is to see these gays as opening the door to every other sin and evil. The fourth is to “lose our country.”

There are many varieties of Christian experience. Let’s just say I prefer the Pope’s.