I've been thinking about the "Duck Dynasty" controversy and what it means for religious people in America, most of whom — or at least very many of whom — adhere to a scheme of beliefs that includes forbidding homosexual behavior. They're seeing how badly it can hurt your career and your social standing to express this belief.
How can there be a norm against the expression of something that so many people believe on a profound level?
But it is not unusual at all. There are many things that religious people believe that they also know they can't go around saying. You're not going to do very well in American society, for example, if you come right out and declare that people who don't follow your religion are going to hell. You'll be drifting toward Westboro Church territory if you talk like that. You sound like a crazy hate-monger. The fact that you truly believe it and that it's religious won't help your standing in the community.
So it's not unusual that some widely held religious beliefs aren't fit for expression to the general audience, only a bit surprising when something new crosses the line from fit to unfit. How did that happen? It happens! The culture changes. Think about how that happens.
Speaking of Westboro Church, I see those people are making a show of their support for Phil Robertson. Now, they are religious people who have thrown aside the interest in social acceptance. They've chosen to be in-your-face outrageous, and they seem to believe that God is giving them credit for enduring social scorn.
Jesus said: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."