Not that There's Anything Wrong with That

What Is -- or Isn’t -- Homophobic

Cultural views on homosexuality are changing so rapidly, it’s hard to keep track of what is or isn’t homophobic anymore. I’ll explain, next on BreakPoint.

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Eric Metaxas

In a classic episode of “Seinfeld” entitled “The Outing,” a student reporter is convinced that Jerry and George Costanza are gay. They strenuously deny being gay, while adding “not that there's anything wrong with that.”

The phrase almost immediately became part of the way Americans talk about homosexuality.

The “Seinfeld” episode came to mind while reading recently about the brouhaha concerning Roy Hibbert of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers. During a press conference, Hibbert used profanity and commented about being “stretched out” on the basketball court. And then he used the phrase “no homo.”

If you’re unfamiliar with that phrase, you’re not alone. It’s an expression from rap music asserting that “the speaker of such does not have any homosexual intent.”

If that sounds like Wikipedia, that’s because it is. I didn’t know what it meant, and I strongly suspect that 99 percent of the people in the room didn’t either. That didn’t stop news of Hibbert’s “gay slur” from becoming the biggest sports story of the weekend.

The NBA fined Hibbert $75,000, saying it was necessary to demonstrate that “such offensive comments will not be tolerated.” I think that comes out to $25,000 per syllable.

I’m not going to defend Hibbert. His profanity alone warranted a fine, and absent his “no homo” comment, I doubt that anyone would have read anything sexual into what he said.

But I can’t help but notice that what constitutes a “gay slur” is a moving target. LeBron James used the same phrase a few years back and nobody cared.

Again, I’m not defending anyone—I’m simply noting how fast the definitions of “homophobia” and “bigotry” are changing.

Take the issue of same-sex marriage. A few weeks ago, Michael Kinsley of the New Republic, commenting on the furor over Dr. Ben Carson’s opposition to same-sex marriage, rightly noted that Carson “has views on gay rights somewhat more progressive than those of the average Democratic senator ten years ago.”

In fact, Carson’s position is about the same as President Obama’s position just two years ago! Yet, Carson’s opinion is considered beyond-the-pale in many circles today.

All of this has me wondering whether a Seinfeld episode like “The Outing” could even be produced today. The phrase “not that there's anything wrong with that” was a classic because it captured the audience’s ambivalence about homosexuality: While people aspired to be “tolerant” and “open-minded,” they certainly didn’t want others thinking that they engaged in same-sex relations.

Some commentators are displaying the same ambivalence in reaction to the new HBO film on Liberace. They confess to being put off by the homosexual content—all the while feeling guilty about being put off.

If such ambivalence isn’t already branded as “homophobia,” it will be soon. The mere suggestion that there might be something wrong with same-sex relationships will be considered “homophobia.”

So why bring this up on BreakPoint? Well, as Christians we can’t be blind-sided by the accelerating speed at which the culture is jettisoning traditional views of sexuality. Nor should we be intimidated by the hostility we’ll face for our beliefs.

Newsletter_Gen_180x180_BIt may be that the culture will soon be beyond repair—that traditional views will not be tolerated. Or maybe not. But one thing’s for certain, we must, by God’s grace, hold fast to His plan for human sexuality: marriage between one man and one woman, one time, for the couple’s mutual joy and the procreation of children.

Only then will we be able to preserve—or perhaps create anew—a culture of life, goodness, health, and beauty.

And nothing is wrong with that.

Further Reading and Information

BP-Takeaction_60713Not that There’s Anything Wrong with That: What Is—or Isn’t—Homophobic - Next Steps

It seems everything has become a battleground for ideology. Be aware of this when engaging in today’s cultural setting. It's important to stand up for the truth, even though conversations may be difficult and costly in this sometimes hostile environment.

Promote the culture of life, goodness, health, and beauty as Eric discussed, doing it winsomely and with grace.


Shutting Down Free Speech
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | July 25, 2007

The Coming Persecution
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | July 1, 2008

The Thought Police
Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | May 1, 2007

When Two So-Called “Married” Women (or Men) Repent
John Piper | desiringgod.org | June 4, 2013


@ Michael Snow
I know, right?
Homophobic distraction
What about Ecclesiastes 7:10? When reading this article, the tone assumed that 20 years ago was a better time for Christians because the anti-homophobia movement was in its infancy.

There was an enemy placing obstacles 20 years ago placing obstacles just as he continues doing today. I grew up in the 1990s a non-Christian regular church attender enslaved by elemental powers.

I never heard the gospel while sitting in the pews every Sunday with my parents only to go home to more rituals such as praying before bed, and before meals and wearing a cross around my neck and a WWJD bracelet on my wrist as if it made up for the fact that I actively chose to sin, transgress and live in iniquity actively rebelling against God.

All of the hype about living a Christian life, being more Christian, and working to do everything in a Christian way while forgetting the gospel is what lead to me growing up in the Church only to be enslaved by the elemental powers Paul's letter to the Galatians talks about.

Three years or four years ago, the law convicted me; Jesus extended grace to me through the church that He created after He made His flesh and blood sacrifice on the cross to be buried, so He could rise victorious over death on the third day according to the scriptures to visit people in their affliction and invite them to repentance.

A new obstacle that is not really a new obstacle is the Christians' sinful flesh that distracts us from paying our debt of love to our brothers. I love Homosexual people, but their lifestyle is only evidence of their iniquity. If I share the gospel with them, it is their choice whether or not to follow it, and I am blest if they persecute me for Jesus' namesake.

My Christian worldview leads me to the difficult position that I should be in the world but not of the world. I do not love government, culture, flesh, or pride, nor do I want to re-create what never was attempting to repair the curse that only God can lift.

I prefer a separation of church and state because it is pointless to fight about how to fix a perfectly broken world. God hands people over to their evil (Romans 1:24), and God controls the government (Romans 13). If it is God's will that people's evil desires be legalized as people's active rebellion becomes revealed, who am I to lobby against what God has established. Therefore, what the government approves or disapproves does not affect my faith or determination to love my neighbors.

I care about preparing for the enemy and testing everything according to the scriptures. I want to be ready for the final judgement. I do not want to waste my time bickering with people who choose to live in sin after hearing the gospel, because there are many other fertile grounds for the gospel. Trials are coming as it is written in the scriptures; Jesus will return like a thief in the night.

What is certain, is that I will do my best to keep my house in order to live an authentic life in Christ where I remember the Gospel and make loving others just as Jesus loved us a genuine goal. I love defending what Biblical marriage is, but I pray that it comes out of the gospel.
Jerry Seinfeld
For years before the series Seinfeld premiered in 1990, "Not that there's anything wrong with that" was always his catch phrase that he would say after denying being gay, whether he was a guest on The Tonight Show or Letterman's show or his own special, and he continued using it in that way on the series. At least, that has been my experience as a viewer.
That Seinfeld is now a "classic" is a commentary in itself.