Everyone is weighing in on the Duck Dynasty "controversy". I have only ever watched one episode, so I'm not a "big fan". But I wanted to share a few thoughts.
If you're reading this, then you've probably already read Phil Robertson's quotes from a GQ interview on homosexuality and his experience with racism in his younger days. If so, skip the next paragraphs, if not, here they are:
"'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.
Regarding his experience with racism in the South:
"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field .... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word! ... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."
The author of the article in The Atlantic points out that the race comments are the "real controversy" in the original GQ article. The author attributes Phil Robertson with trying to maintain a "Song of the South" version of southern racism. Below are some points I'd like to share regarding both of these topics. Why am I sharing them? Because my Twitter and Facebook feeds have been crawling with all kinds of opinions on both of these topics, and I'd like to respond to all of them in one place. So here we go:
1. Phil Robertson can say whatever he wants. The freedom to speak your mind is guaranteed by the Constitution. It guarantees you the freedom to say something brilliant or something stupid. That's the cost of freedom, everyone gets to enjoy it, for better or for worse.
2. A&E is a television network. They are also a business. They can decide to kick someone off their network if they want to. They aren't the US government. So if they want to get rid of Phil Robertson, they are perfectly within their rights to do that. They ARE NOT INFRINGING ON HIS RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH. Phil can go speak anywhere he wants. He just won't bet paid by A&E anymore. So please stop talking about Phil Robertson's rights, he hasn't lost any of them. On the flip side, if Phil is removed form A&E they may lose millions of viewers, which in turn will do great harm to their business. Free market at work, it can be very painful for both sides.
3. Phil Robertson doesn't hate gay people. He has been very clear about that. He thinks homosexual acts are sinful. That is not hate speech. That is not hateful speech. He just happens to disagree with people who don't think homosexual acts are sinful.
4. Just because two people disagree, that doesn't mean they hate each other. If you like the Cowboys and I like the Texans we disagree. We don't have to hate one another. I'm a huge fan of Apple technology, I have many friends that prefer Windows/Android to Apple. While I don't agree with their choice, I don't hate them. It's ok to disagree, even about something so personal as sexuality. Just because someone may disagree with your choice of sexual lifestyle, doesn't mean they hate you. If you're a liar or thief, I don't have to agree with those lifestyle choices to love you either.
5. The overwhelming majority of Christians love homosexuals and desire for homosexuals to know Jesus, regardless of their sexuality. Unfortunately this doesn't sell newspapers or get clicks to websites. Morons like the Westboro Baptist church get far more coverage than average Christians, and thus they start to become the face of Christian thought on homosexuality. Nothing could be further from the truth.
6. Jesus called his followers to love everyone. Period. We try do that. Sometimes we are't very good at it. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we say stupid, insensitive things. Sometimes I yell at my kids. Sometimes I treat my wife poorly. Sometimes I think things that I would never write on the internet because if I did, I'd have no friends. The same is true for you. We are all mistake prone and selfish.
7. Homosexuality isn't some special sin that is worse than anything else. Jesus died for the gay, the straight, the liars, the porn stars, the porn consumers, the cheaters, the thieves, the murderers, the TV addicts, the gluttons, you get the point. We are all in the same boat, so there isn't any need for us to try to rate ourselves against one another. We are much better off putting our arms around each other and saying, "Wow, we are all pretty screwed up, we need Jesus in our lives everyday. Let's do our best to love Him and each other."
8. Phil's comments on race are merely his own experience. He never said "We need to go back to Jim Crow days!". All he said was the he never personally witnessed mistreatment of black people, and that everyone he knew who was black was happy. He wasn't making a grand statement that all black people were happy in the Jim Crow era. Everyone, including Phil Robertson, knows that wasn't true. Thats why we had that whole Civil Rights Movement that cost numerous people their lives.
9. Just because you are poor, doesn't mean you are unhappy. I think that was his point. He was poor, the black people he worked with were poor, but they were happy. Because, prepare to be shocked Americans, you can be poor and happy. And guess what, you can be rich and miserable. It's happening all around us!!!! There is a subtle message in all mass media that says "If you don't live like an upper middle class suburbanite then you can't be truly happy". If that were true, then the overwhelming majority of people who have ever lived on this planet were not happy. That's ridiculous.
10. Is Phil Robertson bemoaning the welfare state? Yes he is. You might disagree with his take on welfare. That doesn't mean you should hate him. Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong. Hating him isn't going to do you a bit of good. Especially because I'd be willing to bet he doesn't hate you.
There are my 10 thoughts. If I've offended you somehow, feel free to let me know below.