Jesus the Enabler

Jesus the Enabler October 19, 2015

I recently came upon this in a post from RightWingWatch:

On “The 700 Club” today, Pat Robertson praised a man who banned his gay grandson from bringing a “friend” to Thanksgiving dinner because “there’s a real good chance that he might come out of that so-called lifestyle” as long as the family does not condone his behavior.

Fielding a question from a grandfather who had told his grandson that “the presence of his sex partners would not be welcome in our home,” especially on Thanksgiving, Robertson praised him for “taking the right stand.”

“Otherwise you become an enabler,” he said, “and you’re condoning that. The chances are there’s a real good chance that he might come out of that so-called lifestyle, but if you’re going along with it, he says, ‘Well, mom likes it, so it’s okay.'”

I may be a former evangelical, but sometimes I feel like I know the Bible better than current evangelicals like Pat Robertson. Take a look at this passage, for instance:

Mark 2:13-17

14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.

15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus *said to them, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

So following Robertson’s logic, Jesus was condoning these sinners’ sin, right? After all, he was eating with them. That, according to Robertson, is “going along with” their sin. Jesus, by Robertson’s reasoning, is an enabler.

Oh, and there’s another version of this passage, with one more detail:

Matthew 9:10-13

10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassionand not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Methinks Pat Robertson needs to spend more time reading the book he claims to believe and revere so strongly.

To be clear, I’m not saying that the Bible is clear-cut on this or any other issue. Indeed, I would argue that there are literally thousands of different Christian sects in the world because the Bible isn’t clear on many many many things. But I find it somewhat maddening when someone who claims to take the Bible at face value—like Pat Robertson—so flagrantly goes directly against exactly what the Bible says at face value. I find it maddening, I think, because it is so hypocritical, and perhaps also because the former evangelical in me feels lied to when I see evangelical religious leaders saying things like this.

If Pat Robertson is going to condemn parents who eat with their gay sons and daughters and their partners as “enablers,” he’s going to need to condemn Jesus right alongside them.

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