Quackery: Phil Robertson’s Secular Heresy
The Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson/A&E Christmas-season (coincidence?) controversy found Robertson held up for ridicule as an ignorant back-woods bigot. The debate arose from an article in the January 2014 GQ magazine entitled “What the Duck?” by Drew Magary. GLADD (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) used the article to brand Robertson a homophobic racist. Thusly designated, Phil and anyone else not in lock step with GLADD’s mindset was supposed to stop talking and slink back into the swamp from whence they came. Bowing to GLADD, A&E quickly suspended Robertson from Duck Dynasty which wasn’t in active production anyway. (If a tree falls in the swamp and nobody is there to film it, does it get a Neilsen rating?) Within days A&E lifted Robertson’s suspension from… um, his vacation?
Thus we found ourselves in the midst of a media-hyped debate that had one side diagnosing the other with a phobia. The phobic label is used by liberal groups to suppress speech with which they disagree. Thusly labeled, the speech in question must be suppressed for the greater good as determined by said group. How can a bigot like Robertson have any legitimate claim to free speech? This homophobic racist must be in the wrong. Naturally, analysis of this controversy dictates that one read the GQ article itself.
Firstly, the article was mischaracterized as an “interview,” implying a question and answer format. The article is not an interview. It is a stream-of-consciousness internal dialogue by Magary. Quotes attributed to Robertson are inserted randomly with no discernable legitimate purpose. This debate simply boiled down to a Christian American sharing his thoughts while a progressive liberal group said Robertson must stop thinking and talking as he does. In short, expressions of Christianity that clash with the left’s progressive secularism are worthy of censorship by mob pile-on. What did the article and Robertson actually said.
The magazine’s introductory tease asked how “did a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase spouting duck hunters become the biggest TV stars In America?” Further, “what will [the Robertson family] do now that they have 14 million fervent Disciples?” These are the questions Magary apparently will answer with this article.
Magary starts right off that he fears Robertson will view him as a word that rhymes with “wussy” if Magary elects to wear an ATV seat belt. Magary uses the actual “p” word. Then Magary refers to a “goddamn” mountain. A hypothetical deer that Robertson may shoot is a “poor bastard.” Three paragraphs in, this is already shaping up as what may be less than a fair and balanced article.
Magary acknowledged discomfort when Phil started talking religion. Christianity. Phil’s religion. Sinners and such. “Holy sh*t!” Magary says, leaving the “i” where you see an asterisk.
Magary “reports” that out in the woods, “Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free.” Huh? How does one speak too freely in America? This is where Magary inserts the primary sentence that ignited the debate. “It seems like, to me, a vagina- as a man- would be more desirable than a man’s anus.” Phil is a heterosexual who has no desire to engage in homosexual sex and says so in very clinical terms. Phil continues “But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” All righty, Phil also believes homosexual sex is a sin. He’s expressing his religious belief, his Christian faith.
The second prong of the controversy was sparked by a large-type block quote entitled “Phil on Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana.” Robertson said “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.” Robertson worked side-by-side with black people on farms. Apparently he and his co-workers, white and black, occupied the same economic station in life. Robertson says he never heard his black co-workers complain about white people. Does Robertson speak with the eloquence of a highly educated secular elitist? No. But he speaks his mind and he communicates no overt hostility towards anyone. Looks like plain-vanilla American free speech so far. Robertson is not yelling “fire” in a crowded theater nor promoting violence towards any person or group. Robertson’s words explaining his personal experience are misconstrued by the mainstream media as explicit support of Jim-Crow laws.
Magary, further demonstrating his finely-honed secular communication skills, explains how Duck Dynasty came to be on A&E, “which led to everything blowing right the [d]uck up.” Magary does not use the word “duck.” Magary notes that the Robertson family earns “a holy sh*t-worthy $200,000-an-episode paycheck.” Apparently Magary dislikes Christianity (a Christophobe?) and a good American success story.
Magary mocks the Robertson family’s success in the Christian community; “it has made them into ideal Christian icons: beloved for staking out a bit of holy ground within the most secular, often downright sinful, pop culture of America.” To that end, Robertson tells Magary “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.” (emphasis added- OBS) This sentence does not get GQ’s highlighted block quote and headline treatment; it’s just buried in the story. The majority of mainstream media coverage conveniently ignores the sentence.
It is here that we understand the hatred and scorn that has been heaped upon Robertson and his family from the GLAAD side of this debate; the Robertsons are secular heretics! Christians who openly talk about their faith, who hold beliefs that are not politically correct. The nerve of these Christians!!
The third prong of the controversy arose where Robertson supposedly equates homosexuality with bestiality or some such nonsense. Look at how Magary sets up this part of the article. Keep in mind this is not an interview transcript. Nevertheless, this part of the article is designed to look like a direct question and answer;
What in your mind in 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 idolators, 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.” block quote credit GQ “What the Duck?” by Magary
Does Robertson in fact equate homosexuality with bestiality? Magary certainly tries to leave that impression. Robertson is merely saying, in his rough-hewn way, that the acts of homosexuality and bestiality are both sins according to his faith. Those are Robertson’s Christian beliefs. Why does Magary mischaracterize Robertson’s religious beliefs in this manner?
The article’s introduction promises Magary will answer two questions. Magary never answers those questions. He merely slaps a few Phil quotes into what would otherwise be just another sparsely read article. Note that Robertson’s own words show that he is not a bigot. His religion tells him that “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.” What a shame that GLAAD, a group that claims to seek tolerance for gays, is so intolerant of Christians. -Grizzly Joe