Whatever one thinks of Duck Commander Phil Robertson’s recent remarks (and let’s be honest, his references to human anatomy could have used some nuance and his comments on race were rashly insensitive), there’s at least one element in this hubbub that’s going underemphasized, but that should be appreciated: Morality. Merely defending the right of Robertson to make these comments without defending the underlying rightness of his comments (leaving aside the comments on race) is to deny the full monty of this story.

A lot of the defenses of Robertson’s comments omit any discussion of the merit of Robertson’s views on human sexuality. Most applaud Robertson from the virtue of viewpoint diversity, pluralism, and free speech. In essence, commenters seem to either intentionally or unintentionally bracket the moral reasoning or merit of Robertson’s comments, implicitly cowing to today’s sexual relativism.

Morality matters. America may be reacting against the declaration of moral obligation as much as it may be against the particular action that Robertson condemned. Robertson’s attempt at offering a comprehensive view of sexuality based on a certain understanding of human sexuality contradicts the reigning dictatorship of relativism.

Lacking the lexical ability to call a wrong a wrong (and, even worse, calling a “wrong” a “right”), we fall prey to what the prophet Isaiah warned of when he said: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

I interpret hostility to Robertson’s Christianity as part of a la rger cultural chafing against a sexual metanarrative, a metanarrative that Christianity assumes is normative for all of humanity. If we focus on claims to free speech to the exclusion of the moral aspect of his argument, that Robertson actually believes certain goods about human sexuality, we’re guilty of bowing to a Naked Public Square that conservatives detest.

Articles by Andrew Walker

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