Oh my, it has hit the fan.
Phil Robertson ignited a firestorm of criticism that engulfed him following a GQ interview in which he spoke about his views on what he believes is immorality. That interview has resulted in his Robertson’s suspension from the show “Duck Dynasty.” A sample of what he said:
“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.”
They take their religion seriously:
And then, of course, there is their faith, which plays no small role here. During the family’s initial negotiations about the show with A&E, Jase told me, “the three no-compromises were faith, betrayal of family members, and duck season.” That refusal to betray their faith or one another has been a staple of every media article about the Robertson family. It’s their elevator pitch, and it has made them into ideal Christian icons: beloved for staking out a bit of holy ground within the mostly secular, often downright sinful, pop culture of America.
And they’re not shy about it
“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.”
The interviewer pushed on and asked Phil what he considered sinful and opened Pandora’s box:
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.”
Then he added something important and germane:
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
Hang on to that.
The reactions were swift. Robertson was suspended from his show by the A&E network, something of such apparent import that even the NY Times took note. And here we’ll being to examine how this event is being framed:
Mr. Robertson, who travels the country preaching, graphically denounced gay sex in the magazine and called it a sin.
They made it sound as though Robertson singled out homosexuality as a sin. He didn’t.
There was outrage, complete with misrepresentation. From Eric Sasson at the WSJ:
After an interview appeared in GQ in which he equated homosexuality to bestiality, used a quote from Corinthians which likened gays to “drunkards” and “prostitutes,” and questioned the “logic” of gay sexual practices, Phil Robertson has been suspended indefinitely from A&E’s hit show, “Duck Dynasty.”
Other than Phil being suspended, none of that is true. There was soul searching:
I’m reminded of something Bill Maher said during the height of the Paula Deen controversy: “Do we always have to make people go away?” I think the question applies in this situation, too.
Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them? One of the biggest pop culture icons of today just took center stage to “educate” us about sexuality. I see this as an opportunity to further the discussion, to challenge his limited understanding of human desire, to engage with him and his rather sizeable audience—most of whom, by the way, probably share his views—and to rise above the endless sea of tweet-hate to help move our LGBT conversations to where they need to go.
GK Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right—and he usually is—then I wonder if the Duck Dynasty fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil’s.
But that was only the beginning. Duck Dynasty is the most popular program in cable history and golly do people feel strongly about it. Duck Dynasty fans took to the interweb quickly. A “Boycott A&E” page was set up on Facebook and it has generated 750,000 “likes” as of last count.
The hits were coming so fast that the administrator of the page was suspended for 12 hours. Among the comments:
“I am going to buy a duck call from Duck Commander. I have never owned a gun or gone hunting in my life,” Watson L. Clark stated.
Teddy NeSmith said: “I stand for the U.S. Constitution and the 1st. Amendment, Phil can say anything he wishes about his religion.”
At least one sponsor is standing behind Phil Robertson.
The statement of Robertson’s hiatus released by A&E said this:
“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. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”
OK, that’s fine, but let’s have a look at some of the suggestions A&E has offered to the Robertson’s. Following alleged complaints about references to God and guns Phil told A&E:
“God and guns are part of our everyday lives [and] to remove either of them from the show is unacceptable.”
According to a post 93.1 The Wolf put in their Facebook page, Phil also said: “If we can’t pray to God on the show, then we will not do the show.”
In April Robertson said that on the one hand A&E bleeped out words to make it appear the Robertson’s were using vulgarities when none was being used and on the other hand wanted them to stop referring to Jesus.
Here is the interview:
Robertson hinted at why the editors wanted to delete references to Jesus:
“So I said, ‘Why would you cut out ‘In Jesus’ name?’ They said, ‘Well those editors are probably doing that. They just think that they don’t want to offend some of the Muslims or something.”
It would be illuminating to know who was offended, especially if it turned out to be Muslims who were offended as they share much with Phil Robertson. Islam’s view on homosexuality:
Islamic Shari’ah law is extracted from both the Qur’an and Muhammad’s Sunnah (found in the Hadith and Sira). Islamic jurisprudence are expansion of the laws contained within them by Islamic jurists. Therefore, they are seen as the laws of Allah. You need only look to the rulings under Shari’ah to see the accepted mainstream interpretation of Islam and its commandments to its followers. Homosexuality under this law, is not only a sin, but a punishable crime against God.
In the case of homosexuality, how it is dealt with differs between the four mainline schools of Sunni jurisprudence today, but what they all agree upon is that homosexuality is worthy of a severe penalty.
“When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes.”
“Kill the one that is doing it and also kill the one that it is being done to.” (in reference to the active and passive partners in gay sexual intercourse)
And just for completeness:
As Salaamu Alaikum! (The peace of God be with you!)
Homosexuality is wrong, a sin, in Islam. Of that there really can be no dispute. See the excellent articles already on-line cited at the end of this article for the citations from the Qur’an. The point of this article is to try to put this into some reasonable perspective.
Sex outside of marriage is forbidden. It does not matter whether it is fornication, adultery, bestiality, pedophilia or homosexuality. Many homosexuals claim they were born that way, they can’t help being homosexual. The truth is that man has an urge for sexual gratification. As rationalizing (more than rational) beings, people will always try to find a justification for any activity which they find enjoyable. As to the claim by some homosexuals that it is genetic, this has been decisively disproven. Studies have shown that children of homosexuals are no more likely to be homosexual than any other children. If it were hereditary, many more of them would be homosexual. In our society, homosexuality frequently seems to result from a failed male role model, a father who is abusive or grossly negligent. Bestiality and pedophilia are certainly natural as well. Every society has men who use children sexually. Everywhere sheep or goats are kept, they are used for sex. So the argument that homosexuality is natural or inborn has little persuasive power for Muslims.
Fornication, adultery, bestiality, pedophilia and homosexuality you say?
So let’s recap. A&E suspended Phil Robertson for his voicing his religious belief that homosexuality is illogical and against his religion and A&E is a strong supporter of the LGBT community and A&E wanted to eliminate references to Jesus as that offends Muslims whose religion believes homosexuality is wrong and illogical.
Makes perfect sense.
A&E has discovered touching the third rail of contemporary culture can have some shocking consequences and right now Duck Dynasty is that third rail.
You have to love it. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens next.
I forgot to include this. There are some at A&E who are not bothered by Robertson’s opinion:
An openly gay couple on A&E’s “Storage Wars: New York” is NOT offended by the homophobic comments made by fellow A&E’er and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson — telling TMZ, they just feel bad for him … because man ass beats vagina any day of the week. Chris Morelli and Tad Eaton tell us, “We could give a s**t what he thinks … [man ass] is tighter.”