"D" is for Duck Dynasty…and Double Standard: Why Conservatives are Freaking Out and Why LGBTQIA is Rightfully Upset
Why Everyone Is Freaking Out In The First Place
GQ Magazine’s interview with Phil Robertson:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he tells me. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”
What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
During Phil’s darkest days, in the early 1970s, he had to flee the state of Arkansas after he badly beat up a bar owner and the guy’s wife. Kay Robertson persuaded the bar owner not to press charges in exchange for most of the Robertsons’ life savings. (“A hefty price,” he notes in his memoir.) I ask Phil if he ever repented for that, as he wants America to repent—if he ever tracked down the bar owner and his wife to apologize for the assault. He shakes his head.
“I didn’t dredge anything back up. I just put it behind me.”
As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
Robertsons’s comments have (unsurprisingly) gained serious attention within the past few days on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The conservative right has put in their own two cents, including former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (R):
"Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us,”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) says:
"Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV," said Jindal, who began serving as governor in 2008. "In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."
And of course, many ordinary citizens have taken to Facebook as well to show their support for Mr. Robertson. In fact, a page on FB called “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson is Put Back on Duck Dynasty” has - as of 2:00 PM on Friday, December 20 - gained 1.5 million likes.
And according many, his suspension from A&E is a free speech issue.
Free Speech Infringed Upon?
The problem with this argument is that (no offense) it doesn’t make any sense. Robertson has not faced jail time or been told by the United States Government that he was not allowed to make those comments.
What has happened is that his private employer, A&E, has suspended him because they saw his comments as contradictory to their own beliefs as to how they run their business. A&E responded with this statement:
"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
When the controversial comments were made by Robertson, he was doing an interview for GQ Magazine about the show he is in on the channel A&E. This interview dealt with his private employer, which reserves the right to suspend him for misrepresenting their company. What he said might have been his own personal views, but from a business perspective, he was on record, in a business situation, making these comments while also talking about a show that his private employer owns the rights to. Although his views didn’t deal with the show directly, he is in the public eye because of Duck Dynasty; while he is still working for A&E, he knows that there is a certain image that he - and the rest of his family - are expected to portray.
"But He Has a Right To His Own Opinion!!!"
This has been the consensus around social media for the past few days. And it’s completely correct. He has the right to his opinion, and he stated it. As stated before, his private employer suspended them and they had every right to. Now every one is angry at A&E.
Why Robertson’s Remarks Were Offensive
Robertson grouped gay people with “drunks” and “terrorists” in the latter part of his interview. While he did say that he and his family “loves them,” it was inappropriate to group these people with the likes of terrorists, who have been responsible for thousands of deaths all over the world. He paraphrases the Biblical book of Corinthians and says that “homosexual offenders” will not “inherit the kingdom of God,” aka, they will burn forever. Gay people have heard this kind of stuff their whole lives in many cases, and it is insulting to think someone casually assumes you will burn for the rest of an eternity because you love another human being.
He says that being gay leads to having rampant sex with many people and eventually having sexual relations with animals. As I said before, this is insulting to gay people on a ridiculous level. If straight Christians were told by a gay person on national television that their “sinful” lives would lead to eventually shamelessly having sex with anyone they see and then having sex with animals, everyone would be up in arms, because a statement like that is ridiculous and insulting.
What It’s Really About: Many Christians and Religious People Feel Threatened by the Growing Acceptance of the LGBTQIA Community
Yes, I said it, and everyone (even Christians) know it’s true. It really boils down to the fact that most American Christians (not all of them, but most) who are fairly conservative disapprove of LGBTQIA and feel that our country’s moral fabric is being threatened by this “sinful” behavior. They are afraid that acceptance will become so widespread that their impressionable children will be raised in a society that accepts the fact that human sexuality is wide and diverse. They are afraid this will cause their children to be influenced by these “demonic powers” of Satan and therefore “decide” to become gay. And then God, who loves everyone, will burn them forever in fiery torture lest they repent. Well, some people don’t believe that sends you to hell. Depends on who you ask.
Okay, minus the sarcasm, I feel that this is what this whole Phil Robertson thing is really about. For those of you who don’t know, the Bible teaches that God laid down a set of rigorous rules for the ancient Jews to follow. This included not wearing clothes of mixed fabrics, not eating shellfish or pork, and complicated rules regarding animal sacrifices which were required for forgiveness of sins. It was stated in these rules that if two men had sex, they were to be stoned to death. Many Christians refer to the Bible to state that homosexuality is wrong and should not be accepted as normal behavior.
The problem with this is that they are getting their morals from a book that requires those who pick up sticks on the Sabbath be stoned to death. That the throats of calves be slit, that their blood be sprinkled on the altar; cut into pieces and given to God as a burnt offering. The Bible says this was a pleasing aroma to God.
God said that if a man and a woman have sex while the woman is on her period, that both of them should be “cut off from among their people.” That if a betrothed virgin is raped within a city, and doesn’t cry out loud enough, that the men of the city were to stone her to death.
God’s champion, Joshua, killed thousands upon thousands in the name of his Lord, and by his command. The armies of Israels were to take the virgin women for themselves in many instances. Slavery was okay, and you weren’t in trouble if your slave got up within three days of beating him/her.
No, I am not making any of this up. This is only the tip of the iceberg regarding these types of things that can be found within the Bible.
So why do Christians insist on ignoring these other rules? Why do they insist on deriving their morals from a book that obviously has some rather hideous demands?
"But That Was The Old Testament."
Honestly, why should that matter? It was still something that God supposedly ordained. I’m not trying to attack the Christian faith: I’m trying to illustrate that deriving your moral standard from this book is probably not a good idea.
Why the LGBT Community Gets Upset When Stuff Like This Happens
Christians wonder why the LGBT community gets angry with people like Phil Robertson- he says that gay people are going to hell, and that they are under some kind of spell from “sin” and that this spell leads you to have rampant sex with many people and also start having relations with animals. This is insulting to LGBTQIA people, who do not exactly see it the same way that you do.
Actually, being gay, etc. isn’t exactly something you can help. Christians and people of other religious persuasions do not believe this statement. They feel that it is some excuse that the Community has made up in order to make themselves feel better about their “sin”. In fact, human sexuality (while fluid in many cases) is not something that can be chosen. Do you really think that someone would choose to make it difficult on themselves? To have strife between themselves and their parents? To be laughed at and bullied at school? Christians say, “that is the power of sin. Gay people have no shame. They are proud of their sin and don’t care what anyone thinks.” No. No, gay people are born the way they are. They have deal with the shit they do because of people who think their God’s rules trump human rights and acceptance. They are tired of being put down for how they were born. And since when was it bad to be proud of who you are?
This is why the LGBTQIA Community gets upset. For years and years they have simply wanted to be treated as equals. They aren’t out to make you gay, they aren’t mad at you because you are straight or Christian. They are mad because you push the bronze-age rules of your religion on the rest of society. These rules do not make sense to them and many other people. And if these rules came from any other religion other than Christianity, Christians would also see them as abhorrent and vile.
The Community gets upset because every time someone like Robertson gets up and says this kind of stuff, a hoard of people flood the social media to show their support of this outdated mentality that being gay is sinful. It perpetuates the hate and the judgment from other people, no matter how much you aren’t judging them.
You can’t help who you love. End the hate and judgement.