Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the very popular Robertson family of the very popular A&E show, “Duck Dynasty.” The Robertsons, who run a multi-million dollar duck call and hunting gear company, are beloved for their good-natured family drama, creative country fun, and down home senses of humor. They’re also vocally devout Christians, and Phil credits Jesus with keeping him sane and his family together when he was headed down a very different path.
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he tells me. “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.”
What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he 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.”
He also said this, which is the part of his views on sexuality getting all the headlines:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me.”
It’s certainly a colorful expression of his personal preference, and expresses mild confusion for others’ tastes, but it’s not a terribly mean-spirited comment.
Now, he’s been suspended by A&E indefinitely because they object that the devout Christian and social conservative cash cow who averages 14 million viewers per episode might express views on homosexuality that differ from, say, those Pajama Boy might express in his Oberlin Race & Gender in the Media symposium. (For perspective, A&E’s “Breaking Bad” series finale— the most talked about finale in the history of all TV ever—attracted 10 million viewers.)
“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty,” A&E said in a statement, which was reported byThe Hollywood Reporter. “His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
Because GLAAD is mad, and though there’s no evidence that Phil Robertson has ever discriminated against gay men and women or treated them badly, he must be punished for his views.
“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. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”
This statement doesn’t really seem to match Robertson’s actual comments, but I’m guessing they’re just in cut and paste mode at this point. Robertson offered this statement and will appear on Megyn Kelly’s show tonight:
“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.
“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
To the Left, it doesn’t matter how Robertson actually treats real people. The thought that homosexual acts are wrong is enough to make him a bad person who should be fired. He’s literally guilty of a thought crime against humanity even if he is literally tolerant of gay people every day of his life. There is no room for tolerance of him.
I don’t agree with Robertson’s remarks, but this is clearly an overreaction. Even those who are more critical of Robertson than I think this was a bad move by A&E. Maybe if he had talked about someone defecating in a specific gay political figure’s mouth, he could have gotten a few more weeks on the air. (For the record, I wasn’t a huge fan of Martin Bashir or that Martin Bashir got fired for saying something dumb, as I think we should allow room for people on both sides to say things that offend people without getting fired.) I’m sure it’s a misreading of A&E’s audience, who will not take kindly to this decision, and probably the Robertson family, who will have countless offers to do their show elsewhere and, oh yeah, also have a multi-million dollar company to keep them occupied.