Phil Robertson finally cut loose. In the newest issue of GQ magazine, Robertson came out and said what we’d suspected his beliefs were all along.
The star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, cable television’s most successful show ever, Robertson has earned cult figure status for his rough appearance, conservative standards, family values and biblical faith. Say what you will about him, the man loves Jesus and doesn’t shy away from telling you so.
So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that in the magazine interview, Robertson spoke his mind on homosexuality. While I can’t repeat everything he said (some of his comments are too earthy for a blog read by all ages), he finished with this opinion of sin in general:
“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 went on to paraphrase 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, “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.”
I would have given almost anything to see the reporter’s jaw drop when Robertson got through. In today’s America where homosexual marriage is considered a constitutional right and criticism of the homosexual lifestyle is attacked as intolerant and cruel, people like Robertson who believe what the Bible says about sexuality can expect to undergo the public humiliation formerly reserved for criminals, traitors and politicians who embezzle public funds.
Which is precisely what happened. Critics treated Robertson’s comments as though they were radioactive.
CNN’s Piers Morgan tweeted, “Just as the 2nd Amendment shouldn’t protect assault rifle devotees, so the 1st Amendment shouldn’t protect vile bigots.”
Mr. Morgan—like so many of his brethren—thinks speech should only be free when he agrees with it. When you parse his comment you have the impression that a “vile” bigot like Robertson is far worse than garden variety bigots, like people in the KKK. It will be interesting in coming days to watch how Robertson’s shrill opponents exhaust their imaginations and vocabularies as they attempt to express their growing outrage. Like a child angry toward a parent who won’t give him what he wants until he loses his capacity for words and stands there sputtering his rage and stamping his little foot.
Wilson Cruz, spokesperson for GLAAD weighed in with this statement:
“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans – and Americans – who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”
Mr. Cruz is reading from the same playbook as Mr. Morgan. Robertson’s comments are “vile”; and besides, he’s not really a Christian; and even if he is, he’s ignorant of gay people; and even if he knows something about gay people, the majority of Americans support homosexual marriage; and A&E should be punished for sponsoring this vile person and his vile family and their vile beliefs on a television show that the American public watches by the tens of millions.
Phil Robertson’s views can’t be tolerated and his voice must be silenced.
A&E caved without a whimper and its executives immediately placed Robertson on indefinite suspension for thinking Christian thoughts, expressing his freedom of religion and exercising his right to free speech.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the execution. America began to stand up. Facebook reported over one million “likes” yesterday alone on the page, “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty.”
Conservative commentators across the board point to Robertson’s silencing as simply the latest step in an on-going campaign to silence every religious and political questioning of the homosexual lifestyle.
Even some who support the homosexual lifestyle see the hypocrisy of their movement denying the very freedoms they claim. Lesbian feminist writer and professor Camille Paglia said, “I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech. In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as well as they have the right to support homosexuality — as I one hundred percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right of religious freedom.”
I suspect we’ve seen the last of Duck Dynasty, at least on A&E. Of course, if Phil would retract his statement, make the talk show rounds and offer apologies to anyone he offended, and attend a class on sensitivity training, the network might consent to put him back on air. On a probationary basis. If he never again mentioned the name of Jesus. If GLAAD agreed.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see Phil doing that.
Phil and the Duck Dynasty men embody a masculinity at odds with modern sensibilities, one where men shoot animals, work for themselves, love Jesus, love their families, believe the Bible, say stupid things, play pranks on each other and in general behave like the Christian American male used to behave before modern culture condemned that life style.
Which is why many Christian men and the women who love them are cheering Phil on. Not because they’re judging homosexuals (Robertson was quick to point that out that he wasn’t judging anyone) but because they’re tired of being told by others what to think and say about sexuality instead of simply reading the Bible.
As for Phil, my guess is he could care less what anyone thinks about all this. He knows Jesus saved him and he knows his life’s purpose is to tell other people that they can be saved, too. I imagine at this very moment he’s in a duck blind somewhere in a Louisiana swamp, scouting prospects for the hunting season.
May his tribe increase.