People are coming out in droves to support Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson. They see A&E’s actions to put him on an indefinite hiatus as discriminatory. Facebook was lit up this morning with angry Christians crying persecution. In case you have been busy for the last day or so, let me recap.
Robertson did an interview with GQ magazine where he made some statements about black people and gay people. You can read the article here. Here are the quotes about both parts:
Phil on “the blacks”…
“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.”
And Phil on “the homosexuals”…
“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.”
So the article came out, people read it, a lot of people were offended, some gay rights organizations urged A&E to take swift action, and, subsequently, A&E released the following statement:
“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are 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.”
As a result of A&E’s decision, a lot of conservative Christians are very angry. Most people are saying that Robertson’s freedom of speech is being suppressed, and that Christians are persecuted for their beliefs. I’m not so much concerned with that. If you want to cry that his freedom of speech is being impeded, that’s your choice. It’s nonsensical, though. I have the freedom to say whatever I want, but I have the common sense to know that I shouldn’t always say it. I don’t want to deal with the consequences of it. Phil said what he wanted to say and most of us have heard it. He had that freedom. Now, he’s paying the consequences of saying something so blatantly inflammatory. His employers decided that they didn’t want those statements representing their company, and he has effectively lost his job. That is life.
Okay, so that’s what happened. Here’s my take on it.
I don’t care an awful lot about what Phil Robertson says. I am not a Duck Dynasty fan. I have seen a few episodes, and I’m just not into it. In my opinion, he doesn’t present as someone who should be known for an intelligent analysis of the human condition. I’m not going to say much about his comments about black people, because I think the ignorance there is so blatant that pretty much everyone can see it. I do have a couple things to say about what he said about gay people, though.
First off, I’m offended that so many people who call themselves Christian don’t have a problem with what he said. Even if you think homosexuality is a sin, do you really want his presentation of that belief to speak for you? It was rather crass, in my opinion, but beyond that it is very hurtful. Let me tell you why.
The more we learn scientifically about homosexuality, the more we know that it is not a choice. Besides the sheer ignorance behind the idea that being gay is just a decision about what type of sexual activity you engage in, Robertson’s comments are just mean. Robertson’s comments boil the entirety of a gay man’s existence down to a sex act. He is saying to each of them, “You are anal sex.” Homosexuality is not a sex act. Being gay means you are attracted to someone of the same sex. You don’t ever have to have sex with someone to be gay. You just are or you’re not. According to a lot of Christians, this (uncontrollable) attraction is sinful. If you believe that, have at it. However, to proclaim Christ in one breath and then be intentionally disparaging of an entire people group in the next is a bit hypocritical.
Because the heart of the matter, as I see it, is not what he said, but the effect of what he said. It is incredibly dehumanizing to have your entire relationship be boiled down to a sex act. To not be seen as a person, but as a sex act. For the kind of person you are to not matter because of the type of sex you have. It’s hurtful. It makes you want to hide from the people who make you feel that way. It makes you cry. It makes you feel like you are worthless. Hearing the statement from one redneck man in Louisiana stings. Hearing it defended by hundreds of Christians…often people you love and care about…on Facebook, Twitter, etc. cuts to the core. It is not drawing people to Christ. It is causing the already wounded to run away from the Healer.
Christianity is supposed to be about loving God and loving people. Robertson’s comments do not make gay people feel loved, even if he follows them up with the assertion that he loves everyone. That’s not love, because “Love is kind.” Love doesn’t poke fingers into the sore spots and laugh when you wince.
We all have the freedom to be cruel. I just wish we would consider the consequences of our cruelty.