Hyperbole is alive.
Willfully reading the worst into every word out of every mouth, then demonizing The Other for "hate speech" is a growth industry for which there is no apparent ceiling.
OK, so Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty notoriety ain't down with the gay agenda. Considering that he's a 67-year-old evangelical Christian from north Louisiana, that should be no surprise.
Given that the A&E cable network is raking in record earnings based on the proposition that the hirsute, duck-call-making Robertson clan is a postmodern version of the Beverly Hillbillies -- minus the Beverly Hills part -- and do wacky things because they're wacky rednecks, it beggars credulity that the TV execs are shocked and offended that ol' Phil gave an interview that sounded like something you'd expect from Ol' Phil from Bumf***, Louisiana. For example:
“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.”
“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.”I GUESS some things are too real for "reality" TV. Probably a good quarter of the United States' population is too "real" for TV, actually.
Two things are absolutely true today. First, we are a nation divided and at each other's throats. Second, what a person says is way more important than what a person does, and the muddled things we think -- or haven't thought out, exactly -- will get us written out of polite humanity, regardless of how we actually live our lives or treat our fellow man.
Amid the never-ending tribal warfare that passes for American society today, Phil Robertson made the fatal error of sounding weird in saying something politically incorrect. The man A&E made famous for being a "good ol' boy" -- a rich good ol' boy, but a good ol' boy nevertheless -- has been made a non-person for living out his typecasting.
And 25 percent of Americans just got the message, loud and clear. Throw another stick of dynamite on the fire, wouldja?
One thing I appreciate about being Catholic is that Catholicism knows the value of nuance when it comes to things like homosexuality. In other words, we try to make it clear that the person is not the sin, and the condition is not the sin. Only the sin is the sin -- it's what we do that can become problematic, not what we are or who we are.
OR . . . as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about homosexuality:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.I WISH Robertson had the moral, cultural and religious vocabulary to have been a lot more nuanced about this matter. And not flippantly gross. (You'll know it when you read it in the GQ piece.)
Saying the right thing the right way probably wouldn't have kept GLAAD's indignant harpies at bay, and it might not have even kept Ol' Phil in the good graces of Hollywood, Inc. It, however, would have been more faithful to the biblical truth Robertson seeks to proclaim -- and added just a little clear water to the muck of another culture-war fever swamp.
* * *
THEN, OF COURSE, there's what Ol' Phil from Bumf***, La., had to say about race. Which, again, is utterly unsurprising. Which means the man is completely clueless, and perhaps morally obtuse.
As others have said, he's lucky the gays have made such a stink because it's taking attention away from this:
“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.”OH, GOD . . . the Happy Negroes live on in Southern lore. This ain't religious; this is the staying power of a disordered and deviant culture. This is how one is formed by that rotten culture, and formed to the point where the deviant looks completely normal.
Where vice looks like virtue. Where empathy not only fails, but moral blindness prevails.
And it's just ignorant.
Well, we at least can say Phil Robertson deserves a good shunning because of that, right? Well . . . hold on there, Hoss. There's this:
Willie has just come back from Washington, D.C., where he accepted an award at the Angels in Adoption Gala. (He and his wife, Korie, adopted a biracial child named Will and are dedicated advocates of the practice.) As we speak, there’s a film crew outside the house, prepping for a State Farm ad that the family will be shooting here on the property tomorrow. The Robertsons receive more than 500 media requests a day, and Willie had to negotiate down to four shooting days a week with A&E just so the family would have a bit of breathing room. Phil knows it won’t last. He can already see that the end is near, and he’s prepared for it.MR. IGNORANT REDNECK managed to raise a son who adopted a biracial child. He raised a son who tirelessly advocates adopting biracial children.
I'd say it would be reasonable to assume Phil Robertson loves that half-black grandbaby with all his heart. No matter what crazy s*** he said for the benefit of a magazine writer. Meantime:
“So you and your woman: Are y’all Bible people?”OBVIOUSLY, we're dealing with a horrible person here. Absolutely irredeemable. Mandatorily ostracizable.
Not really, I’m sorry to say.
“If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead—yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved. And the next time we see you, we will say: ‘You are now a brother. Our brother.’ So then we look at you totally different then. See what I’m saying?”
I think so?
We hop back in the ATV and plow toward the sunset, back to the Robertson home. There will be no family dinner tonight. No cameras in the house. No rowdy squirrel-hunting stories from back in the day. There will be only the realest version of Phil Robertson, hosting a private Bible study with a woman who, according to him, “has been on cocaine for years and is making her decision to repent. I’m going to point her in the right direction.”
Life isn't always logical, and neither are the people who live it. A lot of times, the heart is a lot smarter than the brain, and our actions are a lot nobler than our words. God forbid that the total of our human worth should be less than the sum of our all-too-human faults.
Not that that matters anymore. Not here, not now.