Thursday, December 19, 2013

Phil Robertson: Right or Wrong?

"We're Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television. 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. Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. Sin becomes fine. 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. 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. 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."

The above is a sample of what Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty said recently in a GQ magazine. 

If you are a fan of the show, it should come as no surprise to find Phil as outspoken as he is. Nor should it come as any surprise to find a family as deeply rooted in their Christian faith as the Robertsons are, aren't supporters of the GLBT community. It's no secret that the majority of the Christian community stand against homosexuality, using their bibles to validate their belief. So why is everyone surprised that a deeply devout Christian from Louisiana that lives off the land has such strong opinions?

I'm not surprised. 

Not in the least.

I AM, however, surprised that A&E suspended Phil indefinitely.

“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. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

The above is the statement issued by A&E.

Now, before anyone starts screaming "There's a war on Christianity", let me stop you. No, there isn't. There's a war on hate. There's a war on bullying. There's a war on intolerance. But let's be real here. People stand up and say what they want to say in the name of their deity every single day. Hence the reason I, personally, take issue with religion as a whole, not each individual sect of it. I, personally, think we should keep our faith but do away with religion. Faith is personal, religion is manmade. But that's not what this post is about.

It's about truth.

And the truth is that until we ALL start trying to be equal and treat everyone as equal, we aren't going to have equality. Because as it stands right now, one side will always be heavier than the other. There isn't a balance.

I was recently asked what character trait I wanted to give the world. I said I wanted to give the world the trait of acceptance. We lack that so much in this world. We don't accept that we are all different. We live differently. We believe different.

We love the same. 

Love is the only commonality between us. Yet it's so often overlooked.

We want marriage equality and human rights equality, but we want to take away a simple notion such as freedom of speech and deem anything that opposes equality as "hate speech". What Phil said wasn't hate speech. It was the views of a man that is set in his ways. I disagreed with everything he said, but that doesn't mean that he shouldn't have the right to say it.

“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.”

That is what Phil later said. Is it a backhanded apology? Sure. But the man was asked his views and he shared them. Personally, while I don't agree with them, I respect him for being that honest. Do I believe that Phil would be nasty or hateful toward a homosexual? No. I really don't. Because, while he isn't afraid to speak his mind, he is also a good ol Southern man that believes in helping his neighbor, whoever said neighbor might be.

Look, I'm not defending Phil. I disagree with everything he said in his interview. However, I disagree with him being suspended indefinitely. Yes, he is the patriarch of his family, which the show centers around. But he is entitled to his views and has the right to state them.

I've always said that my rights end where another person's begins and I think that is truth on both sides of the argument. If we want same sex rights and equality then we have to be willing to accept the rights of the devout. One of those rights is that they can speak openly about what they believe, just as I can, or as you can, or as anyone can.

I think there needs to be a shift in equality, to balance it out. We need to stop individualizing who the equality is for and demand it for EVERYONE. Until we do that, we will never truly be equal.

Phil was right about one thing. We WOULD be better off if we loved each other as we loved our deities. After all, isn't that what Jesus would do?

6 comments:

  1. I'm torn. He has the right to state his opinions. A & E has a right to decide how they want their employees to act/represent their company, and to fire anyone not acting according to their standards. I think it is just a yucky situation.

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  2. I agree with just about everything you've said here. The man has a right to believe whatever the Hell he wants and to say it to whomever he wishes. The job thing may have been contractual. I don't know enough about that. I do know that A&E would have to not know him at all to think he'd say something different. Anyhow, great post. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I feel the same as you on this issue. I am a happily married gay man. I have my opinions and beliefs and fight for equality everyday. However you can't take the right of one person's free speech away because you don't agree. I don't agree but I stand for this man's right to state his beliefs. This is the biggest hold up in America with the LGBT movement. We can't find common ground. Everyone wants you to pick one side or the other. That's not being equal and if we want to be treated ad equal we have to treat others with that same equality. The golden rule in life is to treat people the way you want to be treated. Some people just need a refresher in that elementary rule.
    All my best,
    Anderson

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  4. I'm torn. He has the right to state his opinions. A & E has a right to decide how they want their employees to act/represent their company, and to fire anyone not acting according to their standards. I think it is just a yucky situation.

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  5. You can call me cynical if you want, but I honestly believe that the decision A&E made was based on money, not just disapproval of the statements Phil made. I think they want to be seen as separating themselves from his statements so they gave him a slap on the wrist as a way to keep their GLBT viewers from walking. But I think that they will go forward with the shows Phil is already in, wait a short while, make some kind of statement and bring him back. Because there's still more money to be made with him as well.

    That's my prediction . . . we'll see.

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  6. Free speech is a right. A television show on A&E is not a right. If they think association with him hurts them, they can fire him (assuming that's in the contract). But then, I also think he's already been hateful and nasty to LGBT folks just by saying these things. He's got the right, no question, but if you want to convince me that I would be safe being his neighbor, much less feel as if he'd treat me the same as anyone else, you've got some more work to do.

    I suspect if I moved to the area, instead of a fresh-baked pie, I'd get an ignorant lecture about how a penis is way preferable to whatever it is my wife and I get up to. This is neighborly behavior?

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So....what did you think? And are you THAT Sarah Michelle?