Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson has recently come under fire for some comments he made about homosexuality in an interview reported by GQ. In all honesty, I’m surprised it took quite this long for controversy to arise from the strong opinions of a conservative gun-toting and bible-thumping family watched weekly by 14 million Americans. In the interview, Phil says many things about his Christian faith, but there are some particulars from the conversation that have stirred up groups like GLAAD which are calling for a boycott of the show. Here’s part of the exchange reported by GQ:
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he [Phil] says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“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 says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “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.”
Phil offers a fairly standard conservative statement regarding homosexuality, including the implicit slippery slope argument that accepting homosexuality leads to other “perverse” sexual acts and expressions. Phil defends his statements by acknowledging that he and his family have been given a platform to preach the gospel, and that they must preach unapologetically because the TV show won’t last forever.
So why all the hooplah about comments that have been voiced multiple times over on other conservative media outlets? Well, Phil took his comments a little further than the standard conservative fare. He also said,
“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.”
Arguing against homosexuality based on the “yuck factor” is just plain gross. While Phil Robertson is free to express his beliefs and convictions in whatever manner he desires, I would argue that for someone with the platform he has been “given,” his comments were unwise. Given the great chasm that exists between red states and blue states perpetuated by the media, Phil’s comments on homosexuality resound more politically than they do as gospel truth.
These comments have resulted in a firestorm of responses, both positive and negative. While calling for a boycott of Duck Dynasty, GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said, “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.” Elizabeth Durand Streisand over at Yahoo asserts that Robertson is unenlightened and is the one who should do the most repenting.
Phil Robertson’s comments certainly demand a response simply for the ill-informed and uncharitable way he went about expressing his opinion, but did he really “lie about an entire community”? Is he unenlightened? Such rhetoric gets us nowhere. The status quo of hotly-politicized topics is simply to dehumanize the dehumanizer. We must choose not to fuel the flame of ostracization simply to have our voices heard.
In the GQ interview, Phil Robertson insists,
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television…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.”
Let’s go on and start loving each other, Phil. And let’s begin by being slow-to-speak and choosing our words wisely.