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Phil Robertson’s Victory Over the Secular Theocracy

Editorial Note: This is the second installment in a two-part series on Duck Dynasty and what it reveals regarding America’s “secular theocracy,” from the inimitable David Theroux, President and CEO of the Independent Institute. If you missed it, read the first part here.

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Duck Dynasty and the Secular Theocracy, Part II

By David J. Theroux

Phil Robertson himself is certainly no lightweight. The Los Angeles Times has called him “a man of legendary individuality, who once passed up an opportunity to sign with the NFL because it might interfere with his hunting.” One of seven children raised in a log cabin in northern Louisiana with no electricity, bathtub, or toilet, Robertson grew up in a poor family living off garden fruits and vegetables; deer, squirrels, fish, and other animals that they hunted and fished; and the pigs, chickens, and cattle that they raised. Nevertheless, in high school he became All-State in football, baseball, and track and received a football scholarship to Louisiana Tech University. At Tech, later football legend Terry Bradshaw was at the time benched as second-string to Robertson, who was star quarterback. And although Robertson chose to quit football in college for the freedom to hunt during duck season, he went on to receive a master’s degree in education, taught school, and became a commercial fisherman. In 1972, the young enterprising Robertson patented his first duck call and created the Duck Commander Company, which has been leveraged into today’s vast fortune and cultural phenomenon that includes Duck Dynasty. His autobiography Happy, Happy, Happy became a number one New York Times bestseller, and his new book for 2014, Phil-osophy, will share his philosophy of life, as he outlined in an interview before the release of his autobiography:

My message is to get human beings to love God, love their neighbor and for the life of me I just don’t see the downside of human beings not being so mean to one another and actually care for one another and not steal from one another and not murder each other for their tennis shoes. That’s the message I have. . . . America and the world, we have a love problem. I’m trying to get people aware of that. A loving person is not going to pick up a spear or a knife because when the Ten Commandments were written it was before guns, and God was saying, “Look, quit murdering each other.” Now I’m just trying to say, “Folks, let’s try to love one another no matter what the color of their skin.”

Indeed, Robertson and the family have repeatedly written, spoken, and preached against racism, and Phil’s adopted grandson Will is biracial.

While in the air force, I was stationed in northern Louisiana and took courses at Tech at the same time Robertson was there. Although a “damn Yankee,” I not only immersed myself in southern living, including good manners, faith-based communities, food, hunting and fishing, family, and friends, but ended up marrying as my first wife a young woman from Shreveport. I learned firsthand to understand and appreciate many core values that northern bigotry had blinded me to. As Magery’s GQ article notes, “The ecology here has been so perfectly manipulated that it feels as if two giant hands reached down from the sky and molded the land itself, an effect that I’m sure would please Phil. . . . [I]t’s hard not to gaze upon his cultivations and wonder if you’ve gotten life all wrong. This is life as summer camp. It’s gorgeous, in a way that alters you on an elemental level. I feel it when I breathe the air. I feel it when I survey the enormity of the space around me.”

It is this authenticity in upholding enduring core values that has deeply resonated with Americans and that A&E and “progressive” elites cannot simply put on “hiatus.” Probably to A&E’s surprise, the massive public outrage over Robertson’s suspension was immediate and widespread, and has ranged from conservative to liberal:

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin:

“Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal:

“The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. . . . It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

Liberal, gay journalist Andrew Sullivan:

“Robertson is a character in a reality show. He’s not a spokesman for A&E any more than some soul-sucking social x-ray from the Real Housewives series is a spokeswoman for Bravo. Is he being fired for being out of character? Nah. He’s being fired for staying in character — a character A&E has nurtured and promoted and benefited from. Turning around and demanding a Duck Dynasty star suddenly become the equivalent of a Rachel Maddow guest is preposterous and unfair. What Phil Robertson has given A&E is a dose of redneck reality. Why on earth would they fire him for giving some more?”

Lesbian, feminist author Camille Paglia:

“In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as well as they have the right to support homosexuality — as I one hundred percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right of religious freedom there. . . . To express yourself in a magazine in an interview — this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, okay, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades. I think that this intolerance by gay activists toward the full spectrum of human beliefs is a sign of immaturity, juvenility. . . . There is a dialogue going on human civilization, for heaven sakes. It’s not just this monologue coming from fanatics who have displaced the religious beliefs of their parents into a political movement. And that is what happened to feminism, and that is what happened to gay activism, a fanaticism.”

KISS front man Paul Stanley:

“Yank people off TV if we don’t agree with their views in a mag. interview? You want your views heard — allow others same right. . . . Don’t want to be penalized for your views you can’t penalize someone for theirs. That’s more offensive than their words. . . . Being ‘allowed to speak’ isn’t supposed to be followed by punishment for speaking.”

Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Clarence Page:

“I like Duck Dynasty. I have been a fan for a number of months. I was hooked by the humor and the personality of the folks in the family. . . . What does A&E do?  They suspended him. I think that was an over-reaction. . . . I think instead of trying to punish people, like Phil Robertson, we should talk about the issues he raised. Have a dialogue. This is the way you encourage more tolerance.”

Singer and hunter Ted Nugent:

“Though they claim to be the party of tolerance, what the left wants is to intimidate and silence, and even hurt, those with whom they disagree. The left’s tolerance only extends to those who espouse their agenda and nostrums. Phil Robertson didn’t say anything hurtful or shameful. He didn’t say that homosexuals should be beaten, maligned, persecuted, denied human dignity or rights, or have their birthdays taken away. . . . My suspicion is that as this plays out it will be more beneficial to the ‘Duck Dynasty’ guys than the disconnected suits at A&E who made a business decision to bow at the altar of political correctness. This isn’t about Phil Robertson’s First Amendment rights. He can say whatever he wants. This is about left-wing hit squads pouncing upon anyone with whom they disagree to shut them up and intimidate others into being quiet.”

Gay CNN anchorman Don Lemon:

“He has a right to say exactly what he wants. This is America. . . . I always err on the side of free speech. The marketplace should decide. If people do not like Duck Dynasty, they should not watch Duck Dynasty. . . . I don’t think he should be fired. I think people should be allowed to say what they want and if they hang themselves they hang themselves.”

Columnist and author Patrick Buchanan:

“What GLAAD wants to do is to blacklist Robertson, to punish him by taking away his podium, ‘Duck Dynasty.’ . . . [H]e is being censored by elites who wish to deny him access to the medium they largely control — television. . . . To our modern moral and cultural elites, it is those who condemn the values of GLAAD who are the enemies of decency and progress who ought to be fired and blacklisted to prevent their poisonous views from being disseminated. In the Hollywood of the late 1940s, Communism was persona non grata. In the 21st century, biblical Christianity is persona non grata.”

The backlash has been so enormous that Facebook pages were created within twenty-four hours to boycott A&E’s action, with the number of fans accessing these pages totaling 1.8 million, 1.5 million, and 1.4 million. Elite social media firms responded by trying to muzzle the reaction, with Facebook initially slapping the administrator of the Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty page with a twelve-hour ban because “it received nearly 4,500 likes in just one hour,” but after protests the ban was removed. Twitter similarly blocked tweets that included links to the pro-Robertson site IStandWithPhil.com but then reversed the ban and apologized after being deluged with protests.

And according to Nielsen, when the boycotts began, A&E’s ratings immediately dropped by 13 percent, with the percentage of adults ages twenty-five to fifty-four who watched the network dropping 22 percent and that of adults from eighteen to forty-nine falling 18 percent. So if A&E were indeed pursuing a publicity campaign, that strategy has seriously backfired.

When major Duck Dynasty sponsor Cracker Barrel also tried to follow A&E’s lead and announced that its stores would no longer carry Duck Dynasty merchandise, they also reversed their ban within forty-eight hours and issued an apology: “Dear Cracker Barrel Customer: When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.”

Meanwhile, days before Christmas, Walmart, the major retailer for Duck Dynasty, had completely sold out of show merchandise; five (and counting) Duck Dynasty books had become 2013 bestsellers (with at least three more scheduled for 2014 already heading up the sales charts in pre-release); the Duck Dynasty Christmas album Duck the Halls debuted at number one on the Billboard Chart; 250,000 fans had signed a petition to reinstate Robertson; and GLAAD began “reeling from [the] biggest backlash in years.”

According to a Radar Online source “with inside knowledge of the network’s machinations,” the New York Daily News has reported that “It’s an absolute disaster for A&E. . . . Now, it’s a standoff between the family and the network, who is going to blink first? There is no way Phil is going to apologize for his comments because he doesn’t think what he said is hateful or prejudice, it’s his religious beliefs. . . . A&E isn’t going to walk away from ‘Duck Dynasty,’ they can’t afford to do it. It’s just a matter of getting both sides to agree on how to move forward.”

And indeed this is exactly what has happened, even though GLAAD is not glad about A&E’s reversal, stating that “Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists.” In response, Brietbart’s Warner Todd Huston has noted: “It is interesting that GLAAD put Robertson’s comments about African Americans first in its own statement about his comments on homosexuals. One might think that GLAAD feels it lost the battle on that issue and needed the cover of ‘racism’ to add heft to its complaints. Still, the statement takes Robertson’s comments out of context and mischaracterizes them.  Robertson made no such claim that Jim Crow laws did not harm African Americans, nor did he ‘compare’ homosexuals to terrorists.”

Cultural “leftists” have been pursuing a campaign against Judeo-Christianity, traditional morality, gender identities, the nuclear family, limited constitutional government, free enterprise, the family, civility, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and much more. In the name of “tolerance” and “diversity,” this campaign has sought to impose a “secular theocracy” to smother bourgeois values and coercively impose “progressive” culture on an unwilling public, and gender issues have become a key rallying point (see, for example, articles in the Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Register, Hartford Courant, Reuters, and Washington Times).

And what about Robertson’s views of a clear and innate differentiation between men and women? In a recent Wall Street Journal interview of Camille Paglia, “A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues,” she similarly decries “opinion makers [who] deny the biological differences between men and women” and considers “the idea that all gay people are born gay” to be “the biggest canard.” Also and as reported in The Guardian, in recent studies of the human brain,

[s]cientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains. Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women’s brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men’s brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions. Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men’s brains apparently wired more for perception and coordinated actions, and women’s for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.

So, and contrary to postmodern wishes, is gender no more a choice than is the law of gravity or one’s birthday, DNA, or species? Vive la différence!

In his essay “America’s Ruling Class—and the Perils of Revolution,” author and scholar Angelo Codevilla superbly examines the culture war here as a conflict between two political classes in contemporary America. As Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs points out regarding this article:

Codevilla cuts immediately to the core: the United States today is divided into (a) a ruling class, which dominates the government at every level, the schools and universities, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and a great deal else, and (b) all of the rest of us, a heterogeneous agglomeration that Codevilla dubs the country class. The ruling class holds the lion’s share of the institutional power, but the country class encompasses perhaps two-thirds of the people.

Members of the two classes do not like one another. In particular, the ruling class views the rest of the population as composed of ignoramuses who are vicious, violent, racist, fanatically religious, intolerant, irrational, unscientific, backward, generally ill behaved, and incapable of living well without constant, detailed direction by their betters; and it views itself as perfectly qualified and entitled to pound the rest into better shape by the generous application of laws, taxes, subsidies, regulations, speech controls, and unceasing declarations of its dedication to bringing the country — and indeed the entire world — out of its present darkness and into the light of the Brave New World it is busily engineering.

This class divide has little to do with rich versus poor or Democrat versus Republican. At its core, it has to do with the division between, on the one hand, those whose attitudes are attuned to the views endorsed by the ruling class (especially “political correctness”) and whose fortunes are linked directly or indirectly with government programs and, on the other hand, those whose outlooks and interests derive from and focus on private affairs, especially the traditional family, religion, and genuine private enterprise. Above all, as Codevilla makes plain, “for our ruling class, identity always trumps.” As true believers, these people “know” they are superior in every way, and they are not shy about letting everyone else know that they are. “Arrogance” might as well be their middle name.

As I have also discussed elsewhere, this “progressive” (i.e., authoritarian) campaign first began in earnest during the “Renaissance” of the sixteenth century, and by the “Enlightenment” of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries this view took on a ferocity in leading the “modern” Zeitgeist dominated by a secular civic religion of utilitarianism, moral relativism, narcissism, collectivism, and the worship of government power. In short, postmodern, cultural elites disdain almost everything upon which civilization has rested and work toward silencing all contrary views. Litmus tests that trigger such campaigns have included (but are not limited to) global warming, Obamacare, gender and race identity, Judeo-Christian beliefs, and birth- and gun- control.

In response, Duck Dynasty has remarkably broken through this Nanny-State malaise, connecting with many millions of people fed up with the absurdities and bullying of “liberal” elites. And whether viewers consider homosexuality a sin or not, the show has further raised a crucial tenet of the natural law, the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” C. S. Lewis showed in his brilliant book The Abolition of Man and other writings that the natural law is central to individual liberty, personal responsibility, civic virtue, and the rule of law, and has been universal to all civilizations and essential for their very existence, even as rulers have repeatedly and hypocritically exempted themselves from it.

The Golden Rule is the basis for tolerance in the freedoms of speech and religion, including whether individuals are allowed to freely express their views when asked, without being smeared, bullied, and silenced. One may in fact love the sinner but hate the sin. Jesus said it best:

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:43–44, NIV)

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3–5, NIV)

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12, NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21–22, NIV)

So the lesson here is that treating all people, white or black, gay or straight, male or female, young or old, drunk or sober, rich or poor, etc., with love and respect is paramount. In a new, thirty-minute film about the Robertsons, “I Am Second,” Phil and his family discuss their own dark and ugly journey through drunkenness, violence, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and far more, and how accepting Jesus taught them to love God and all people, turned their lives around, saved their family, and formed the basis for what has become the immense success of Duck Dynasty.

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David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Independent Institute and Publisher of The Independent Review and President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.

 

 

  • John L

    Loving all people, that IS the bottom line, isn’t it? Even those who hate us. Even our enemies.

    We know that thousands of animal species exhibit some kind of homosexual behavior. We know from 40+ years of research that homosexuality is likely a genetically inherited trait. There are simply too many “physical coincidences” of homosexuality for it not to be a biological-physiological orientation. Here are just a few (Disqus stripped out links, sorry):

    Gay men and straight women have, on average, equally proportioned
    brain hemispheres. Lesbian women and straight men have, on average,
    slightly larger right brain hemispheres.[53]

    The VIP SCN nucleus of the hypothalamus is larger in men than in women, and larger in gay men than in heterosexual men.[54]

    Gay men report, on an average, slightly longer and thicker penises than non-gay men.[55]

    The average size of the INAH-3 in the brains of gay men is approximately the same size as INAH 3 in women, which is significantly smaller, and the cells more densely packed, than in heterosexual men’s brains.[32]

    The anterior commissure is larger in women than men and was reported to be larger in gay men than in non-gay men,[31] but a subsequent study found no such difference.[56]

    Gay men’s brains respond differently to fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.[57]

    The functioning of the inner ear and the central auditory system in lesbians and bisexual women are more like the functional properties found in men than in non-gay women (the researchers argued this finding was consistent with the prenatal hormonal theory of sexual orientation).[58]

    The suprachiasmatic nucleus was found by Swaab and Hopffman to be larger in gay men than in non-gay men,[59] the suprachiasmatic nucleus is also known to be larger in men than in women.[60]

    The startle response (eyeblink following a loud sound) is similarly masculinized in lesbians and bisexual women.[61]

    Gay and non-gay people’s brains respond differently to two putative sex pheromones (AND, found in male armpit secretions, and EST, found in female urine).[28][62][63]

    The amygdala, a region of the brain, is more active in gay men than non-gay men when exposed to sexually arousing material.[64]

    Finger length ratios between the index and ring fingers may be different between non-gay and lesbian women.[58][65][66][67][68][69]

    Gay men and lesbians are significantly more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous than non-gay men and women;[70][71][72] Simon LeVay argues that because “[h]and preference is observable before birth…[73] [t]he observation of increased non-right-handness in gay people is therefore consistent with the idea that sexual orientation is influenced by prenatal processes,” perhaps heredity.[32]

    A study of over 50 gay men found that about around 23% had counterclockwise hair whorl, as opposed to 8% in the general population. This may correlate with left-handedness.[74]

    Gay men have increased ridge density in the fingerprints on their left thumbs and pinkies.[74]

    Length of limbs and hands of gay men is smaller compared to height than the general population, but only among white men.[74]

    • dtheroux

      John L., Thank you for the summary but none of this is relevant to whether you or anyone should be bullied or silenced for expressing one’s views, or are they also genetically determined? In this regard, if all of our behavior is determined genetically, eliminating free will, then how do we choose what instincts to follow or do we choose at all? If being gay is genetically programmed, is being homophobic also so programmed? Do you believe that the absurdity of the “Twinkie defense” in the murders of George Moscone and Harvey Milk was acceptable after all? I would suggest that the “gay as robot” view is a slippery slope into the horror of eugenics, which all people, gay or straight, should oppose.

      • John L

        DT, I think you’ve missed entirely that the A&E event was a brilliant publicity stunt — a stunt that has added millions in wealth to the Ducks and A&E mgmt. You seem to be buying into the “reality” of the event, like most others. Whatever floats your boat!

        As for gays, they are such a small minority of culture that I wonder why anyone even bothers to notice. I mean, really, who cares? There are starving, hurting, oppressed, marginalized people in our own neighborhoods. You want to talk about issues that matter? Let’s focus on loving our neighbors and helping them. Let’s focus on making the world a more loving place.

        • Jakeithus

          I think you’re over estimating A&E in order to say that everything that occurred was a publicity stunt. I don’t think A&E’s executives have the balls to go “We have one of the most successful television properties in TV history. Let’s purposefully have our star say something controversial about a hot-button issue, on the side that has been on a downward trend in recent years and goes against our own personal beliefs, on the off chance that it will increase our ratings even more”. I think television executives are far more risk adverse than that, and things could have turned out very differently for everyone involved if the Robertson’s didn’t receive quite so much support.

          The reaction to Phil Robertson seems to be the opposite of what normally happens when a star makes a controversial statement, not something you would be on happening.

          • John L

            Having worked in and around the entertainment industry for the last 25 years, I would say that you are naive. Phil is their golden goose. And it’s only about the gold. Those people at A&E would say and do just about anything to make a large amount of cash, which they did.

          • Jakeithus

            We just have a different perspective. I have no doubt that the entertainment industry frequently creates controvery in order to raise interest and profits. I just think this particular incident is too risky even for them. Intentionally making the comments Pat did would be like playing Russian Roulette with the Golden Goose, maybe you get lucky but why risk it when you don’t have to?

        • dtheroux

          John, Thanks for your further note.

          Loving God and all others is indeed our calling. I also address in my article the issue of whether this was all a publicity stunt by A&E Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t, but the bottom line here is that it has certainly raised some key issues pertaining to the centrality of Christian teachings, including the Golden Rule, that have been avoided for way too long.

        • Eric

          If you look at the statistics regarding suicide, drug addiction, and homeliness you see an enormously disproportionate number of homosexual youths affected. By caring about gay rights you are in fact, contributing to a more loving world.

      • Nemo

        Slippery slope is usually a fallacy. You raise the specter of eugenics, but let’s look at reality: the only people saying that homosexuals are a blight on the community is the religious conservatives. The secular boogeyman who is often raised as supporting eugenics is in reality often supporting gay rights.

        • dtheroux

          Nemo, The secular, “progressive” theocrats are authoritarians who have demonstrated over and over again that as theocrats they have no reservations on not only using bullying and government mandates to silence anyone who may disagree, but seek to compel all others to conform and fund their pet schemes.

          • Eric

            The aggressor wearing the mask of the victim is a new tactic employed by theists that often perplexes me.

          • dtheroux

            Eric, I would simply suggest that as the natural law upholds, individual rights apply universally to all, and “progressives” would do everyone a great service, including themselves, by dropping their intolerant crusades to silence anyone who disagrees with them and compel others to comply and fund their pet projects. We don’t need another theocracy.

          • Eric

            How is equality for all an intolerant crusade? For examples of intolerant crusades we need look no further than the histories of the Abrahamic faiths. You are free to whatever hateful opinion you hold yet, when you speak it publicly, when you attempt to galvanize it as truth, you now do harm to others. It is silly engaging people like you in a conversation anyway as it validates your belief in an ancient falsehood. The onus of proof rests on you and the worlds other theists, I (and other non-believers) would do well to remember that. It’s my New Years resolution in fact.

          • dtheroux

            Eric, I have provided the proof for anyone who cares to examine it.

          • Eric

            Proof that this particular diety out of all others in human history is the correct one, now that really is something isin’t it? I am obviously not as intelligent as you are but I do know that shouldn’t bar me from entering the kingdom so perhaps you would be gracious enough to explain your proof in simpler terms? Thank you :)

          • dtheroux

            Eric, For the existence of God, perhaps the following will be helpful?
            http://lewissociety.org/articles.php#8

            For the historicity of Jesus as the Son of God, please see the following by the renowned scholar N. T. Wright (U. of St. Andrews):
            Christian Origins and the Resurrection of Jesus: The Resurrection of Jesus as a Historical Problem, by N. T. Wright
            http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Historical_Problem.htm

            The Historical Jesus and Christian Theology, by N. T. Wright
            http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Historical_Jesus.htm

            How Can The Bible Be Authoritative?, by N. T. Wright
            http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Bible_Authoritative.htm

            Jesus and the identity of God, by N. T. Wright
            http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_JIG.htm

            Jesus, Israel and the Cross, by N. T. Wright (pdf file)
            http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Jesus_Israel_Cross.pdf

            Wright is completing a six-volume series on Jesus, of which four are not in print, but as an excellent, shorter book, please see the following:

            The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is, by N.T. Wright
            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0830822003/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

  • Eric

    I dont get why he is applauded for holding to the law of Leviticus 20:13 to the point that this entire controversy hinges on his religious freedom yet, was an avid participant in a sport which requires one to touch a ball made out of pigskin AND has been seem numerous times eating crawfish which are BOTH prohibited in Leviticus as well.

    • dtheroux

      Eric, Robertson is nowhere “holding to the law of Leviticus 20:13.” Indeed, his comments are from the New Testament.

      • Eric

        Thank you for your reply. Can you please provide New Testament citations specifically for his views on homosexuality only? Thank you.

        • dtheroux

          Eric, The one reference he presents is the one cited from Corinthians.

          • Eric

            References please.

          • dtheroux

            Eric, Robertson was paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV).

          • Eric

            Ah yes, that little bit of tolerance, I forgot that dusty book of Jewish fables had one other part in it that condemned natural human sexuality, how kind of those goat herders to pass that bit of hatred down through the generations. So Phil adheres to the rules set forth in Corinthians to the letter? Is that a true statement?Corinthians, I am to assume, is more relevant than Leviticus? I have such a difficult time figuring out what parts of that book to follow without question and what parts to completely ignore. For a being of pure love, god is sure a vain entity who likes to make his people jump through a lot of hoops. I wonder if he is sadistic, that we were created simply for his amusement. The “use my name right or suffer eternal pain” seems to support that theory, LOL :)

          • dtheroux

            Eric, Despite you cynicism and sarcasm, there is no sadism in the perfectly loving teachings of Jesus, nor what Robertson was quoting. If you are interested in the “problem of pain,” I would recommend the following book:

            The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis

            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060652969/qid=1146954305/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

      • LesterBallard

        Yeah, he mentioned drunkards; they sell their own brand of wine. He mentioned idolaters; they put their picture on anything and sell it.

  • Nemo

    The Golden Rule predates Christianity, although apologists do love to take credit for it. A shame, really. If the Bible were true, Jesus could have beaten everyone to the punch by asking his dad not to mandate all the bloodshed in the Old Testament. That sure was awkward to retcon later on, I can only imagine.
    I suspect you would divide me into a member of the ruling class, though anyone familiar with me in real life would wonder how you did that. I wield no power whatsoever, other than snark on the Internet.
    I read the article you link to. You praise natural rights, but disdain the Enlightenment period from whence we derive them, and praise the medieval European period? The New Testament makes no statements of political ideology, other than to just render unto Caesar. That’s it. The Old Testament at one point says to proclaim freedom throughout the land, and then it goes on to demonstrate tyranny of an almost cartoonish level.

    • dtheroux

      Nemo, Christ’s teachings pertain to all aspects of life, which is what the natural law is all about.

      You are indeed correct that the natural law predates Christianity, and I have noted this in referencing the work of C.S. Lewis. However, numerous scholars have also shown that it wasChrist’s teachings that were the basis for the rise, first only in the West, of the ideas of liberty, individual agency, reason, free markets, property rights, science, and the rule of law. In this regard, I would recommend sociologist/historian Rodney Stark’s book, “The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success” (Random House):
      http://www.independent.org/store/book.asp?id=89

      And here is Stark, “How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and the Success of the West” (“Chronicle of Higher Education”):
      http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1809

      But you cannot have it both ways regarding the origins of natural law and natural rights in your subsequent statement that it was the “Enlightenment period from whence we derive them.” Stark shows that
      it is a myth that the presumptuously named “Enlightenment” was the source of the ideas of natural rights, which were instead first developed in a rigorous wayby Aquinas and the Scholastic tradition in the Middle Ages. Instead, the “Enlightenment” split off and then abandoned the natural law tradition as the “Enlightenment project” pursued the naturalism/utilitarianism of Hume and others. This in turn morphed into positivism and the entire subjectivist and determinist worldview of “modernism”. Here is a sampling of additional references regarding the “Enlightenment myth” and the rise of secular authoritarianism and global war of the “progressive” nation state:

      “Does Religion Cause Violence: Behind the common question lies a morass of unclear thinking,” William T. Cavanaugh (“Harvard Divinity Bulletin”):
      http://www.hds.harvard.edu/news-events/harvard-divinity-bulletin/articles/does-religion-cause-violence

      “The Myth of ReligiousViolence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict,” by William T. Cavanaugh (Oxford University Press)
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195385047/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

      “Onward, Secular Soldiers, Marching as to War,” by Joseph Stromberg (“The Independent Review”)
      http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=921

      The result has been the folly of “progressivism” and its moral and epistemological ambiguity in championing the welfare state, nanny state, therapeutic state, warfare state, and statism more broadly. Perhaps you
      are unfamiliar with the historical roots of the secular, utilitarian, and
      proto-fascist ideas of “progressivism.” Hopefully, the following will
      be of assistance:

      “Richard T. Ely’s Social Gospel of ‘Progressivism’: Socialism, Fascism, Racism, Eugenics and Militarism”
      http://blog.independent.org/2011/11/29/richard-t-ely/

      “Nothing Outside the State”
      http://blog.independent.org/2010/03/16/nothing-outside-the-state/

      “The Shaping of a Future President’s Economic Thought: Richard T. Ely and Woodrow Wilson at ‘The Hopkins’”
      http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=805

      “Jim Wallis and the Folly of ‘Progressive’ Christianity”
      http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2906

      “Richard T.Ely: Paladin of the Welfare-Warfare State”
      http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=136

      “What is a Progressive?”
      http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=3223

      “’Changing the World: American Progressives in War and Revolution,’ by Alan Dawley,” reviewed byRichard Gamble
      http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=610

      “Progressive Betrayals of Civil Liberties”
      http://blog.independent.org/2012/07/30/progressive-betrayals-of-civil-liberties/

      • Eric

        While I applaud any theist able to climb from the dusty covers of their holy books and join the world I must respectfully point out that this is a heavily biased reading list sir.

        • dtheroux

          Eric, There has been no refutation of the analysis in these references.

      • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

        > The Myth of Religious Violence

        So Thomas Jefferson and John Adams—and the Bible—are wrong?

        “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.” ~Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

        “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved—the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!” ~John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, September 3, 1816

        The Hebrew Bible contains instances of religiously mandated wars[73] which often contain explicit instructions from God to the Israelites to exterminate other tribes, as in Deut 7:1–2 or Deut 20:16-18. Examples include the story of Amalekites (Deut 25:17–19, 1 Sam 15:1-6),[74] the story of the Midianites (Numbers 31:1–18),[75] and the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6:1–27).[76] ~/wiki/Religious_violence

        • dtheroux

          Brian Bowman, Yes, there has indeed been violence by religious people, but the view that religion itself creates
          violence is a myth, as is shown in the references I have provided. Indeed, the natural-law tradition rooted in “religio” has been a powerful force against violence.

          A further excellent reference is the following:

          “For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery,” by Rodney Stark (Princeton University Press):
          http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0691119503/theindepeende-20/002-6508816-9461647

          • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

            On the other hand, it can be argued that monotheism has been the foundation of the most violent institution ever invented, the Totalitarian State, as Kirsch argues in whole chapter entitled The Ruler of the Whole World: The Invention of the Totalitarian State by the First Christian Emperor of Rome

            Jonathan Kirsch (2004) God Against The Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism.
            amazon.com/God-Against-Gods-Monotheism-Polytheism/dp/0670032867/

            That is what Adams and Jefferson were getting at: the tyranny over the minds of man that religion, or as Jefferson put it, the “schemes” of the “clergy,” becomes. The Jefferson Memoral in our nation’s capital has carved into stone Jefferson’s “hostility” to Platonic Christianity.

            “The euthanasia of platonic christianity: Thomas Jefferson, Plato, religion and human freedom.” Gregory Knittel, San Jose State University 1993. scholarworks.sjsu.edu/etd_theses/689/

            While I don’t agree with atheist belief that religion ruins everything, it hasn’t really helped all that much either. I tend to regard the relationship between religion and violence (or taboos) as anthropologist Marvin Harris does. He says that religion is more a after-the-fact rationalization of violence (or taboos) than a cause, and that the cause of violence is more practical.

            His most famous work, related to how religion rationalizes social behaviors rather than causing them, is his essay on India’s Sacred Cow. [PDF, 37 KB] sociology101.net/readings/Indias-sacred-cow.pdf‎

          • dtheroux

            Brian, I have provided the references that refute the Kirsch claim that repeats the same old, tired and erroneous post-Enlightenment views. It is up to you to examine this and make up your own mind.

      • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

        How are natural law and enlightenment on such different paths?

        “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” is what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. Yet Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism, the “greatest happiness principle,” is also contained in the DoI when Jefferson modified John Locke’s famous tripartite phrase by writing that unalienable rights include “Life, Liberty, and Property the pursuit of Happiness.

        • dtheroux

          Brian, You have answered your own question for me. I would again suggest you read my article on the rise of the secular theocracy during the “Enlightenment.” While still fundamentally natural-law-based in their views, both Jefferson and Locke did begin to embrace utilitarianism, which the naturalist/atheist Bentham, Mill and others later enshrined. Here again is my article that is linked above:

          “Secular Theocracy: The Foundations and Folly of Modern Tyranny”
          http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=3206

  • Jonathan Allen

    This whole affair seems rather suspicious to me the more I think about it. Did A&E- and the Robertsons themselves perhaps- perhaps intend to ignite a publicity firestorm, gin up the troops as it were, and watch the profits explode? I don’t know. I had the same suspicions a few months ago with the whole Reza Arslan Fox News interview, which I had a hard time believing was anything more than a clever way to blow up book sales, especially given the derivative, sophomoric nature of the book. Everything, even skirmishes in the “culture wars,” seems stage-managed, to the degree that what is “real” and what is “genuine” is virtually indistinguishable. I may be wrong- the Robertsons may indeed be the real deal, as it were. But they are also very savvy; they are no ignorant rednecks by any measure.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Cultural “leftists” have been pursuing a campaign against Judeo-Christianity, traditional morality, gender identities, the nuclear family, limited constitutional government, free enterprise, the family, civility, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and much more.

    You forgot motherhood, apple pie, and puppies. Cultural leftists like me hate all those things too.

    • dtheroux

      Adam, I gather that this is your argument as a “cultural leftist.”

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

        You’re welcome to “gather” any conclusions you like. As the passage I quoted shows, you seem quite confident about what it is that we cultural leftists do and don’t believe.

        • dtheroux

          Adam, Perhaps you are not a “cultural leftist” after all. One can only hope.

  • http://newworldisland.blogspot.com/ Arnoldr

    Reading some of these comments is illustrative of our situation. Mankind is in its fallen state. We are all sinners, we all have come short of the glory of God. Us mere humans cannot and never will find peace on earth. We have been told to love, to live a life that forgives and forgets, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Jesus came that we might have life here on this earth living in peace and harmony with each other. Our rights to freedom from tyrants comes from God. Period. Over and out.

    • dtheroux

      Thank you Arnoldr!

  • Grotoff

    Seriously, you’re a disgusting hateful person.

  • LesterBallard

    Yeah, Ted Nugent; the guy who just called the sitting President of the United States a “subhuman mongrel”.

  • James

    Hummm… I wonder if the religious right would be nearly so tolerant and pro-free speech had a popular reality TV show star made disparaging comments about wealth-worshiping rightwing hyperpartisan evangelicalism, i.e. modern American “Christianity.”

    • dtheroux

      James, No need to wonder. Just surf the dial and you can find anti-Christian, “progressive” bigotry in many shows.

  • B.J.D

    The Long March Through the Institutions continues on.

    Look on the bright side, anything that cant sustain itself wont be sustained and will collapse in on itself. Lets just hope theres something left to put back together when it does collapse.

  • LesterBallard

    You don’t have a first amendment right to being on a TV show.

    And wow, a 28% drop in ratings for the season premiere.

  • cajaquarius

    I am gay and, as a result, am an enemy of people like Phil Robertson and, perhaps, yourself by birthright. I don’t tend to take pleasure in it and wish it could be another way but it can’t. That said, I want people like Robertson and yourself to have a voice to speak with. There will always be an authoritarian element in both parties that seeks to silent dissent. My liberal allies like to fancy themselves above and beyond this sort of small thinking, but I have seen too often where they become every bit as emotional and tyrannical as their conservative counterparts. There is a contingent that would love for us to be more like Germany where saying white supremist or antigay stuff can get you fined.

    I am not so in line with that thinking. If I wasn’t allowed to live openly as a gay man as I am today, I would be a stranger to most. The reason my mother and sister moved from being more traditional Catholic to much more liberal concerning that aspect of it is because I had the freedom to be myself, freely. When they see I am no different then them, really, much of the dislike seems to fade rather quickly, I find. And I couldn’t do that if I wasn’t allowed to. Robertson pays taxes too and is entitled to the same rights, fair being fair.

    A&E can do what it likes and words will have consequences, regardless. I am against government sponsored action but A&E is a private company and can do what they like. That said, there will be consequences for them too if they play this wrong. You are right; I am a foe of gender roles as a post agrarian construct, I find myself aligned with very progressive stances, and oppose traditional Judeo Christian stances on many things.

    If this bothers you, try not to take it personally. To borrow a tired cliché, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and we gotta be enemies; it is the nature of the world.


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