Ducking the Truth

11174_edited-1By now, most everyone is likely aware of Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Roberton’s horrific comments about homosexuality in an article in GQ magazine. In case you haven’t, here the situation in a nutshell.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/18/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson-gay_n_4465564.html

And the actual GQ article:

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson

Now, before I go further let me clarify a few things. I am a Christian. I am NOT a theologian. And I don’t approach any of this as a self-proclaimed expert in all-things Bible, Christian, behavior, sin or morality, except that I’m a sinner and in need of the Savior God sent for that very purpose.

I wasn’t planning a post in defense of Duck Dynasty today, and in reality (get it? Because he’s on reality TV) this brew-ha-ha over his comments isn’t about Phil. It’s about free speech, it’s about freedom of religion, it’s about misrepresentation in the media of someone who is bold about his Christian faith.

This is much bigger than just what Phil said. It’s a symptom of the moral decline of our nation and our need for a religious reality check.

First, can we all recognize that this is an article in GQ? It’s a puff piece. The interviewer spent part of a day with Phil and his family on Phil’s property, driving around in an ATV and shooting at ducks. This is not a Barbara Walters interview. He is not running for office. This is GQ’s attempt to jump on the Duck Dynasty bandwagon by creating some duck real estate in their magazine.

Other important articles in this same issue of GQ include:

  • The 25 Most Stylish Men in 2013 (discriminates against men #26 thru eleventy billion and men who can’t afford clothes)
  • The 10 Best Celeb Shirtless Selfies in 2013 (partial nudity!)
  • The GQ Gift Guide: For the 1% (blatant hate speech against poor people)
  • Cover Story: Bradley Cooper (because all of his Hangover movies are good, moral stories that don’t include offensive behavior or dialogue at all)

Incidentally, in Bradley Cooper’s article I stopped counting his use of the f-word after 10 instances and didn’t make it to the next page. He’s so cool and such a role model!

There’s certainly no double standards, even though the Human Rights Campaign said of Phil Robertson’s comments (in the same magazine as Bradley Cooper’s article):

Prior to A&E’s announcement, the Human Rights campaign said Robertson, as a public figure, “has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans . . .

Phil Robertson agrees with the Bible and fails as a role model. What?

But I digress . . .

Second, the media has labeled Phil’s comments as “anti-gay” and “gay-bashing” and “homophobic”. (Really??). GLAAD said he was spreading “lies that fly in the face of what true Christians believe” and that his comments were “some of the most vilest and extreme” ever made about gays and lesbians. (Um again . . . really???). Pretty sure I could google more vile comments about gays and lesbians in about two seconds.

Hyperbole much? I guess that’s what it takes to pick a fight where there wasn’t one to begin with.

But, let’s take a look at some of this. Let’s start with the facts. Not the interpretation.

While I could have done without Phil’s comments about which, um, body hole he prefers (though not particularly lewd, or even too lewd to be printed in GQ), the comments he made were his personal beliefs. And while he was on his own property, no less. Not on behalf of Duck Dynasty, not on behalf of A&E, not during an episode of the show, not in connection with anything other than what he wanted to say in this interview.

Y’all, if we can’t speak our own beliefs on our property without getting punished or publicly flogged, we truly have a serious problem here in America (land of the free, home of the brave).

In fact (remember, we’re examining the facts), the GQ article explicitly confirms that Phil is out in the woods, no cameras, free to say what he wants:

Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out.

So, if anyone was under the impression that Phil’s comments have anything to do with his TV show (I’m talking to you, A&E), they didn’t read the article.

And if anyone thinks Phil just went on a rant blasting gays (as the media is portraying) they didn’t read the article.

In the article, Phil talks first about his own sin, and repentance. He then makes this comment:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

I personally agree with that 100%. Folks, we are in a time when it is not popular to believe in what is good and right, and in fact, speaking up about truth and good gets you put in a category of “narrow-minded intolerance.” We lump sinful behavior into acceptable behavior. But let’s continue with the article.

The interviewer then asks Phil:

What, in your mind, is sinful?

And this is Phil’s response to a question he was asked (maybe this is what GLAAD feels are lies, gay-bashing, and extremely vile):

“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.”

Where is the lie in that statement? I mean, it would be more accurate if he lumped in murder and theft and some other more politically correct sins. But that doesn’t make his statement a lie or untrue by any means.

I know it’s not popular to write this out loud, but y’all . . . homosexuality actually is a sin. And so are all of the other things Phil lists in his answer to the question “what, in your mind, is sinful.” Which pretty much throws all of us human beings into the pot of sinners in some way.

Not only are these things sins “in Phil’s mind” as the interviewer’s question is phrased, but the Bible says so. They are sins in God’s mind. Which, honestly, is more important than what Phil thinks.

What?? I know. Do we dare believe that part of the Bible??? In this day and age? In 2013???

I saw a Twitter post in response to this brew-ha-ha that because it’s 2013 we all need to get up to date on what we really should be believing and what is acceptable for today’s standards. Because there’s that Scripture in the Bible that says — and I quote from a very secret speech Jesus gave his moralciples, a secret group kind of like disciples but who were in charge of morals in society:

And in the year 2013, thou shalt becomest more lenient and tolerant of the sins that the Lord your God abhors. Scripture shalt be selectively honored and followed, as it is thus convenient for you, so as not to offend the easily offended. What was wrong shalt then be right. What is evil shalt then be good. What is truth shalt then be condemned, publicly.”

Thus saith the Lord . . . never.

Well, let’s consult the Pope, Time magazine’s Person of the Year (again, emphasis mine below). He’s the next best thing to God. And he’s pretty popular these days for his approach to tolerance and loving all creatures great and small.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

To the Pope’s credit, he has been very clear that “who is he to judge?” on the matter of homosexuality. And I agree with that. We are called to treat everyone with love and dignity, no matter their situation, lifestyle choice, etc. But it’s interesting what he also says above, that we have to talk in context and follow the teaching of the Church, which I believe is based on the  Bible. And again, the Bible is clear that homosexuality and the other sins Phil mentions are sin.

So, if the Pope indicates homosexuality is a sin (and I say “indicates” because he has not come right out and said that he believes homosexuality is a sin in lieu of a more politically correct stance), why is that different than a reality TV star sharing the same personal belief? (I stole that thought from my Uncle, by the way. And he’s right.).

And about context . . . the media is taking pieces of Phil’s interview and blowing them out of proportion as “gay-bashing”. The GQ article is actually a three-page article. It focused mostly on family, and hunting. The few paragraphs that are causing such an uproar aren’t even the bulk of the article.

And about hate, I’ve read the entire article and I have yet to see anything in it that speaks hatefully of homosexuals, or adulterers or any of the other sin behavior Phil mentions . . . again in response to a question he is asked by the interviewer.

So let’s move on to the accuracy of the representation of Phil’s comments in the media. I intentionally chose the Huffington Post article that I referenced at the start of this post for the way it sets up the controversy. Bias, much? It says this about Phil’s comments (emphasis mine):

Not only does “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson fail to understand what it’s like to be gay, but he also thinks homosexuality is a sin comparable to bestiality.

First, there’s no reason Phil should understand what it’s like to be gay. Why should he? Is that a requirement to be tolerant these days? I don’t understand what it’s like to be gay, either. I’m so intolerant, I know.

Second, Phil doesn’t exactly say “homosexuality is comparable to bestiality.” But, Huff Post actually is correct (even though that’s not what they intended by leading their article in this way). Sin is sin in the eyes of God. There’s no lesser sin or greater sin that is acceptable. All sin requires repentance. And y’all . . . we all sin.

What?? I know. I’m walking down a long road of narrow-minded, intolerant unpopularity right now.

The article concludes with this note from the interviewer:

But now, I’m afraid, I must get out of the ATV and go back to where I belong, back to the godless part of America that Phil is determined to save.

And that’s the whole point. Phil just wants to help people, this nation, revert back to God, or find Him if they’ve never known Him. And this is wrong in the eyes of the media, the liberals and those who choose which parts of the Bible they want to believe and obey (or what GLAAD believes are “true Christians”, I guess).

The start of the GQ article says this:

Phil calls himself a Bible-thumper, and holy s*!$, he thumps that Bible hard enough to ring the bell at a county-fair test of strength. If you watch Duck Dynasty, you can hear plenty of it in the nondenominational supper-table prayer the family recites at the end of every episode, and in the show’s no-cussing, no-blaspheming tone. But there are more things Phil would like to say—“controversial” things, as he puts it to me—that don’t make the cut.

Phil makes no mystery of who he is and what he stands for. Why is anyone shocked or offended that a Christian would support what the Bible says? Out loud! In public! We are afforded that right in this country, just like those who aren’t Christians and who don’t believe in the Bible are free to do so.

Who gets to decide who is a true Christian? GLAAD said that Phil’s comments aren’t what a “true Christian” believes. Since when is GLAAD an expert on “true” Christianity?GLAAD goes on to make the point that 56% of the residents of Louisiana (where the Robertson family lives) support some form of legal recognition of marriage equality.

Here’s the thing: Just because a majority of people in a poll want something, does not make it any less of a sin.

In fact, that’s Phil’s concern at the start of the GQ article and this post, and is something I agree with. We are in a very dangerous time where the lines of morality are blurred, making immoral things popular and cool and condemning those who are committed to standing for what is right in the eyes of God. Just because a majority is louder doesn’t mean it’s right.

Are Phil’s comments controversial? Yes.

Why? Because his comments don’t fit in to a liberal media world, or a world that wants to define their own truth and morality.

Are Phil’s comments off-color? Perhaps the “body hole” part.

But . . . was anyone under the impression that Phil is concerned with being politically correct? The guys is entitled to his opinion. Even if it’s not dinner table conversation.

Does A&E have the right to suspend him from the show? Yes. Of course.

If Phil had said what he said in an episode of the show, perhaps it would actually make sense for A&E to remove him from the show if they felt they didn’t agree with his beliefs (although his comments would never make it on air). But again, his comments had nothing to do with the show. A&E’s action is an attempt to censor thoughts that aren’t “open-minded” enough in the opinion of some.

Will A&E’s decision hurt Phil’s feelings, his career or his mission? Not at all.

See what Phil says in the same GQ article:

Phil knows it won’t last. He can already see that the end is near, and he’s prepared for it.“Let’s face it,” he says. “Three, four, five years, we’re out of here. You know what I’m saying? It’s a TV show. This thing ain’t gonna last forever. No way.”

Well, maybe the end of the show is closer since the article came out. But, the Robertsons’ don’t need A&E or the show.

Neither does the Robertson family’s message and hope for all of us. Says Phil in GQ:
“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.”

Such hate-speech!

Jesus loves us no matter what. Even though He will never agree with our sins. Not even in 2013.

Let the A.Bear bashing begin!

Love to all-

A.Bear

BONUS:

My thoughts on Phil’s civil rights” comments. Was he really racist, as some are claiming? Let’s take a look:

From the GQ article (emphasis mine):

Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana
“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. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Is he making a blanket statement about the treatment of black people? Not at all. If anything, he makes very clear his own situation, being “white trash” and working alongside a race of people that society had deemed unworthy of basic human rights at that time.

He’s telling his story. Simple as that.

Must have been a really slow news day yesterday, y’all.

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10 Comments on “Ducking the Truth”

  1. J Zavala says:

    Well thought-out and written. I totally agree. We all sin, and thank God, we can repent and be forgiven.

  2. Gary Frazier says:

    Anybody, with half a brain, should notice that the world, as is represented by the idiot’s
    blog, above, shows that he/she doesn’t understand how Phil Robertson’ Freedom of Speech rights have been thrown out because the world doesn’t like for someone to criticize the way of sinners.

    Well, the Christians (the REAL Christians, that is) stand with him and I am, proudly, one of those!

    • A. Bear says:

      Gary are you referring to me (A.Bear) as the idiot in your comment?

      • A. Reed says:

        I don’t get Gary’s comment either. I thought you did a great job. Thanks for including so much of the article. Makes what happened seem even more ridiculous. I wish I could spend 5 minutes with Phil and his family and let them know we all see what has happened here. And you’re right… we are living in a very dangerous time. I just hope we can turn it around. Thanks for sharing.

  3. D. Crosby says:

    Appreciate your well thought out observations of Phil’s intent, GQ’s agenda, and A&E’s hypocrisy.

  4. Theseus says:

    I wish you were President……

  5. Diane says:

    Good points, well-stated. Thanks for taking the time to write them!

    Just a little drive-by editing: the word is “brouhaha.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/brouhaha

    This brouhaha will die out quickly, I suspect. Maybe it’s mostly done for publicity.

  6. Blake says:

    Very nice response article A. Bear. I have heard a lot of people making comments and have read a lot of facebook comments from folks who have obviously not even read the GQ article, but have perpetuated other folk’s comments. As I have already posted on my FB, I support Phil and family and stand behind his comments and beliefs. As a whole, our country has lost it’s morale compass and I say screw political correctness if it conflicts with The Truth!!!

  7. […] Ducking the Truth (bearreality.wordpress.com) […]

  8. Charity says:

    I’m sure you’ll get a lot of hating for this article, but I enjoyed it very much. Free speech & religious rights are very much in danger over the special treatment of a very vocal minority. However, I also like that you emphasize how everyone is entitled to be treated with love & dignity, & how Jesus DOES love all people, but He never excuses OUR sinful behavior. I’m sad that people have bought into the lie that disagreement = hate, but I also suspect the ones preaching it in the media know that’s not true; it’s just an easy way to try to invalidate someone’s argument and shut them up, instead of having a real conversation. Also, the hilarious thing about being called intolerant, is that tolerance, by it’s very nature, requires that you don’t agree with someone else. You’re never tolerating what you’re on board with. All tolerance requires is not using coercive force against them (you know, like boycotts, suspensions, etc.).


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