My first reaction to Phil Robertson’s comments about homosexuality was dismay. I can’t help but take some of that personally. However, I am also a Capricorn, and logic and reason always quickly follow any emotional response.
Shocking absolutely no one, it was one of MoC’s comments about the Westboro clan’s protest outside a Cher concert that made this issue (and a few others) hit home with me. I saw the picket signs: GOD HATES FAGS! and I said something about it. MoC told me to ignore them. I asked her how she could ignore such hatred and she said, “Because they’re crazy.” And that was the beginning and the end of it.
Fast forward 8 years or so. Phil said:
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph from there,” Robertson, 67, said when asked what is sinful. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
Key words: when asked what is sinful. As far as I can tell, he didn’t bring it up; he simply answered a question. Some have said GQ set him up. I can’t answer that but what I do know two things about Phil Robertson: he has said more than once he wants to leave the show and he is an intelligent man. My personal feeling is that he saw an opportunity – to talk about his religion, to leave the show, and to create a controversy that might garner even better ratings. Win, win, win in his mind.
The thing I find fascinating about this is not that he believes gay people are going to hell (who is surprised by that????), but that people who should know better are freaking out about his First Amendment rights. I’m not a politician, but I have read the Constitution and I’m pretty sure the First Amendment is about protecting speech from government retaliation. If the FBI showed up at Robertson’s house to arrest him for making anti-gay comments, then they would have a point. Phil Robertson has a perfect right to express his beliefs and A&E – a private sector company – has a perfect right to fire him for it.
“Free speech is an endangered species: Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ & taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal opinion take on us all,” tweeted former U.S. Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Shut up, Palin. Seriously. Shut the fuck up.
Faith Driven Consumer, a group that connects Christian shoppers with faith-compatible companies, started a petition drive to reinstate Robertson immediately.
“Simply put, Phil Robertson is being censored and punished for quoting the Bible, and A&E’s treatment of him is punitive and highly discriminatory,” said Chris Stone, the organization’s founder.
Big words, Chris. You actually know what they mean? Punitive is correct, they are punishing him.
Discrminatory: characterized by or showing prejudicial treatment, especially as an indication of racial, religious, or sexual bias: discriminatory practices in housing; a discriminatory tax.
If Robertson got fired because he is gay, then yes, discriminatory is the word you want. Otherwise, go sit with Sarah in the corner.
I’ve watched a few episodes of Duck Dynasty. It’s not really my thing, but I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. And I found Phil an interesting character, to be honest. So I looked him up. He played football in college, got a Master’s degree, taught for a while, drank and raised hell for a while and then he found Jesus and changed his life. Good for him, but it means nothing to my life. But in the articles I read about him, one thing stood out: He is a true believer. He fought A&E to stop cutting the prayer he says before every meal. He fought them about randomly bleeping words in the first season to make it seem like the family was cursing. He stood up for what he believed. No matter what I think of his silly show and no matter how I feel personally about his remarks, I have to applaud that independence. I really do.
Edit to add: Roberston issued a statement explaining his remarks.
“I myself am a product of the ’60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together,” he says. “However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Not exactly an apology, but at the risk of having my lesbian card revoked, why should he have to apologize? He said it. He got fired for it and while he did try to explain it, he did not back down from it. End of story. /edit
It seems like GLAAD and the LGBT community won’t rest until every human being on the planet agrees with them. More change needs to happen, no doubt about that. I just don’t think the way to do that is to vilify every person who disagrees. That solves nothing – it only makes the problem worse in the long run.
Who gives a shit what Phil Roberston says? Not me. This may or may not be why I am not a cultural icon.
MoC had it right. They’re all crazy.