Christian hate: “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson claims AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases are God’s punishment for immorality.
Last week Robertson did a radio interview with Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Christian group Family Research Council. Perkins asked Robertson about the controversy he ignited last year after telling GQ magazine that homosexuality is a “modern immorality” and a sin comparable to bestiality.
Answering Perkins’ question, Robertson said:
“If you just look at the physiological downside to immorality… I mean, a great question to ask is … do you think that it’s a coincidence that all of these debilitating — and, literally, it can cause death — diseases follow that kind of conduct. God says, ‘One woman, one man’ and everybody says, ‘Oh that’s old hat. That’s that old Bible stuff.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Well, let’s see now, a clean, disease-free guy and a disease-free woman they marry and they keep their sex between the two of them, they’re not gonna get chlamydia and gonorrhea and syphilis and AIDS.’ It’s safe. Now, to me, either it’s the wildest coincidence ever that horrible diseases follow immoral conduct or it’s God saying there’s a penalty for that kind of conduct. I’m leaning towards there’s a penalty toward it.
Robertson’s logic, like his God, is non-existent. To claim that “horrible diseases” are the result of immorality is silly and absurd. Even the most obtuse among us recognize that children and others do not suffer “horrible diseases” such as cancer because they are immoral.
This is not the first time Robertson has used his Christian faith to promote his hatred and bigotry. Previously he used his Christian faith to justify equating homosexuality to bestiality, and comparing LGBT people with drunkards, thieves, prostitutes, and adulterers.
Of course, Robertson has every right to express his hatred, ignorance and bigotry, and to use his Christian faith to justify such vile sentiment. By the same token, A&E and the general public have a right to reject and scorn Robertson for expressing his religiously inspired hatred.
Free speech does not mean you will not be judged and held accountable for what you say: the guarantee of free speech means only that the government will not punish you for what you say. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to say whatever you want without consequence.
Robertson, and his brand of Christian hate and bigotry should be condemned in the strongest terms by all reasonable and decent people. The fact that so many conservative Christians continue to defend Robertson only reveals the moral and intellectual depravity that springs from religious superstition.
The moral depravity of Christian conservatives like Robertson serves as a potent reminder of the thesis so eloquently defended by the late Christopher Hitchens, the thesis that religion does indeed poison everything.