If You Support Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, This is What You’re Really Defending

To all those Christians who are planning to rally behind Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson on “Chick-Phil-A” Day and beyond, let’s remind everybody what exactly you’re supporting so that we have a(nother) record of how truly awful you are.

We already know about Robertson’s homophobia and how he believes it’s on par with bestiality when it comes to sin:

“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.

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.”

Don’t forget the ignorance-fueled racist comments suggesting that black people were actually happy in the Jim Crow 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.

And then there’s that video of him making misogynistic comments about how older women (ages 20 and up) are all gold-diggers and how you should marry underage girls instead since they’re easier to control:

“Look, you wait ‘til they get to be twenty years-old and the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they’re about fifteen or sixteen. They’ll pick your ducks.”

There’s also the (actual) Islamophobia, comparing all Muslims to Nazis while also throwing in some anti-Chinese sentiments for good measure:

… What will do the Muslims in? Violations of the law; that’s what’ll do ‘em in. What will do the Chinese in, if they don’t turn to Jesus? One violation… it’s not called the law of sin and death for nothing… they go on to be controlled by the Evil One. That’s why they run jet aircraft into buildings, because they’re under control of the Evil One. That’s why they rob and kidnap and rape and pillage, because they’re under control of the Evil One. That’s why they murder, from the Nazis, to the Shintoists, to the communists to this latest crop! You say ‘Why do they murder?” and “Why do they hate us?! Because all of them, those four groups, 80 years of history, they all want to conquer the world, they all rejected Jesus, and they’re all famous for murder. Nazis, Shintoists, Communists, and the Muhammadists. Every one of them, the same way…

And there’s also the less-offensive-but-still-highly-untrue claim that, late at night, atheists would prefer to meet Bible-thumpers on the road than anybody else:

here comes ten dudes, coming towards you. And they’re all carrying something in their hand. There’s your wife [and your] kids. And you’re thinking, “Oh my goodness, it’s three in the morning. Here comes ten dudes coming toward me. And I’m in a major metropolitan area of the United States of America.” And as they get close enough, and come into the light a little bit, they’re all carrying Bibles. [Late night] Bible study.

Even if you’re an atheist, tell the truth: You would feel better about it. Right? I’m just sayin’.

So I’ve looked at both groups. I’ve looked at the Bible Thumpers, and the ones that carry other things in their hands besides Bibles. Oh, I’ll take the Bible Thumpers every day of the week.

Actually, I’d prefer running into people carrying any books late at night. God Delusion? Koran? Kama Sutra? Whatever. Better a book than the alternatives. The Bible’s got nothing to do with it.

Yes, Robertson has free speech. No one’s denying him the right to say any of these things and, frankly, I’m more than happy to give him enough rope to hang himself with, so let’s hope he keeps giving interviews and opening his mouth. Remember: We have every right to judge him harshly for the beliefs he holds, just as we ought to judge anyone who wants to defend this horrible man. It doesn’t matter that he says we ought to “love” Muslims and black people when those comments are preceded by stereotypes, generalizations, lies, and outright ignorance.

Robertson revels in the fact that he doesn’t know much and he has no desire to learn why he might be wrong. In that sense, he’s not too different from Sarah Palin and Governor Bobby Jindal the other right-wingers coming to his defense.

All this attention thrown on the show has nothing to do with Robertson’s right to free speech. That was never in question. The real argument is how we, as a society, respond to someone who says such untrue, outrageous, harmful, and hurtful things. Do we push back against it or do we laugh because that guy’s just so folksy and real?

We have to push back. And Christians ought to be horrified that their faith is being used by Robertson to defend his statements. They won’t be, though. Instead, Evangelicals everywhere are bending over backwards to throw their support his way.

Don’t forget what they’re really defending.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.


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