Since everyone else is issuing an official statement, I might as well too.
I’ve seen the show twice, perhaps. I am not a fan, but I am not non a fan either. I respect the showcase of family values, however, given the scripted feel of the show I am skeptical about the reality behind the reality. Recently, the patriarch of the family, Phil Robertson, participated in an interview with GQ magazine wherein he compared homosexuality to terrorism and said homosexuality leads to bestiality. This has attracted the expected reaction from the Left, the overreaction of A and E, and hypocrisy from the Right. What has attracted little attention is Robertson’s comments on race and how racial submission was godly under Jim Crow-era laws. I do not want to speak to any issue in particular as others have said enough. Rather, I want to speak about the reactions.
The liberals are siding with A and E while lobbing verbal bombs at Phil Robertson. This is expected, of course, but I think it shows an amount of hypocrisy. I believe in tolerance. Further, I believe in the marketplace of ideas. If there is any one place I would like a laissez-faire attitude towards control, it is the marketplace of ideas. Liberals have shown a remarkable ability to live up to the stereotype of thought police often hoisted upon their shoulders by those on the right. In this case, they are no different than the charactertures of them created by the Right Wing talk machine. What Robertson said was asinine. It was vulgar. It was, in my opinion, wrong. However, Robertson is also a product of his time and place. Many of us believe in contextualization of knowledge. Yet, when we encounter knowledge that conflicts with ours, we react strongly against it. If liberals were truly a tolerant group, they would issue statements against Robertson’s comments and urge for dialogue. To oppress the man because of the idea is to invite counter attacks by the Right.
The Right as well is a cesspool of sheer hypocrisy and lunacy. Seminary after Seminary has fired a professor for voicing something different than the party line. Conservatives will hold the firing up as a choice of the institution to protect the (business) interest of the institution. How dare a professor utilize fact to make a decision that conflicts with centuries of wrong belief. How often has a conservative organization attempt to squash the results of scientific studies? Conservatives are apt at witch-hunting because they have done so for centuries. If anyone challenges their ingrained doctrinal suppositions they will root out that person. Yesterday, it was pogroms, burnings, and inquisitions. Today, it is firings and public shamings. Further, conservative organizations, such as the one led by white supremacist Tony Perkins, regularly attempts to silence the gun control lobby and the anti-gay bullying lobby. Why? Because they simply do not like what is said. Conservatives fire people on a regular basis for something that is said or believed.
Society as a whole is hypocritical. We are more concerned with controlling what is said than changing the minds of those who say it. We simply want to control what is said rather than help to progress what is believed. As a Christian, I believe we seek to change the hearts and minds of the other person, and if nothing else, we follow the examine of Diognetus 5. We do not seek to coerce silence. As a Christian, I seek to encourage dialogue. I want Phil Robertson to speak his mind; albeit I wish his mind was changed. But, this is an open door to Phil. Imagine if we were granted a dialogue rather than calling for a boycott. I want to know what others are thinking because it challenges me. I want to be offended because then I know how much further I must go, or sometimes, it causes me to consider how far off track I am. We live in a society where to be offended is treated as a criminal act.
As Americans, we value freedom of speech and freedom of expression. But these freedoms are not natural and nor are they afforded to every person. They are protected by the Government and from the Government. I’ve seen a spate of posts via Facebook and Twitter, even from elected officials, decrying the abridgment of the freedom of speech for Robertson. An educated populace is needed in our form of government. Watching these comments scroll by insures the soon destruction of our Republic because on the whole, it would appear too many Americans are uninformed. A and E as well as Phil Robertson has yet to have their freedom of speech abridged. The Government has not stepped in. To suggest an abridgment has occurred only shows the amount of ignorance, the rather large amount of sheer stupidity, in the accuser.
There is an image going around pulled from a rather ignorant public official comparing Phil Robertson and Miley Cyrus, rather the reactions to them. At no point is the image or the talking points actually true. The reaction to Miley Cyrus was immediate and from all corners. If a laugh was made, it was because of the ridiculousness of it. However, at no point in her performance did she attack one group as vehemently as Robertson did. The contexts are equally different. One was a one-time-a-year performance. The other is an ongoing reality show. One was a single act. The other is a star of the show. The responses, essentially are the same. The consumer will decide not to invest any more money into the offender. I will not, not that I ever did, buy a Miley Cyrus CD or support her. A and E decided not to buy Phil Robertson, or at least for the time being. This is the marketplace of ideas.
Finally, some are accusing Robertson of doing what he did out of hate. I disagree. I do not believe he hates the groups he spoke against. I believer, rather, he loves them as he forthrightly said. People dismiss that part of the statement, but it needs to be repeated.
“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…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?”
This is not the language I grew up with when I grew up preaching the other statements Robertson said. It wasn’t about love or non-judging. It was about hate and judging. It was about condemnation and worse. I do not see this in Robertson’s comments. I believe Robertson believes in Hell as a place of eternal torment God will send some to. Further, I believe Robertson believes the Gospel as he knows it will keep people out of Hell. Both are as real to him as the sun and the moon. In his mind, then, homosexuality is a sin that may send someone to Hell. Thus, he has a charge to speak the truth and warn others not to engage in sin so that they will not end up in Hell. This is not hate. This is love. I believe he is wrong on a few theological issues and his understanding of Romans 1.18–32, but I am not willing to allow that he is hateful. I will rather state his love, admirable, is misdirected and could use some serious theological reconstruction. If you refuse to allow he needs amending in his views but would rather cast him off, you, my friend, are the one in the wrong.
With this statement, I’m pretty sure I’m angered all sides, so I’ll close now. Just remember, watch the way you speak always. If someone voices an opinion completely vile, pray for them and ask them if you could speak with them about their beliefs. Finally, stop overreacting. There are serious issues in the world and not one is really connected to Phil Robertson says or believes.
- Duck Dynasty: Can’t imagine show going on without Phil – Fox News (topbreakingnews.info)
- In Defense of Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty (geekalabama.com)
- Phil Robertson suspension reactions: ‘It’s a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended’ (christiantoday.com)
- Bobby Jindal Is Mad No One Thought Phil Robertson Was Funny (advocate.com)
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch Phil Robertson Calls Homosexuality ‘Sin’; Talks ‘Anus’ vs ‘Vagina’ (christculturenews.com)