The A&E channel says Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the wildly popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty,” is off the show after saying homosexuality is sinful. This seems to be the portion of the interview that got him canned:
“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.” …
“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.”
Our country might tolerate twerking Mileys, gay Rudolphs pitching Obamacare and polygamy. But this? This summary of St. Paul’s words was a bridge way, way, way, way too far. Christians who really believe what the Bible says about homosexuality? Not fine at all. Or perhaps it was the crudeness with which Robertson spoke (although that’s considered a feature when the topic is not homosexuality, so who knows).
Tolerance now means not tolerating those who whose sexual norms are based in the Bible. Inclusivity is short for “You’ll have to leave now.” And to show how much we oppose judgement and condemnation, we say “You’re fired.”
In any case, Douglas LeBlanc — a veteran journalist with Louisiana roots — offers his perspective and predictions on the matter:
- Phil Robertson knew exactly what he was doing in making his remarks to GQ. His making them as he did indicates that (a) he’s grown weary of accommodating A&E’s programmers and is happy to see a separation, (b) he doesn’t give the slightest damn what big-city yuppies will think of him, or both.
- There will be the usual hand-wringing and pressure on the Robertsons to repudiate Phil Robertson’s remarks. If anyone apologizes it will be Willie the CEO, and even then it probably will be the usual “We are sorry if anyone was offended by Dad’s shotgun mouth.” Phil Robertson will not back down or crawfish on this.
- Glenn Beck probably called the Robertsons today to let them know they’re welcome to move their show over to his Blaze TV any old time they like. Beck met Kay Robertson earlier this year at a NASCAR event and spoke highly of her on his radio show.
- Mr. Beck’s eccentric theories of the world notwithstanding, the content of a Robertson show on Blaze TV probably would better reflect who they are, without the pressure to say an occasional “Crap” or to make a redneck-style remark about having swampy pants.
- The ratings probably will decrease, as will the family fortunes, and I doubt that many of them other than Willie the CEO will be very concerned about it. The family members will, more likely, be happy to be in a less glaring spotlight.
One quick media note. The Associated Press ended its report:
In the interview in the January issue of GQ, Robertson put gays into the company of others who are sinners, including adulterers and swindlers.
Some people hold the doctrinal view that homosexuality, adultery and swindling are sinful. Others hold the doctrinal view that homosexuality, adultery and swindling are not sinful. If you’re talking about whether something is or is not a sin, you’re talking doctrine. In this regard, it’s not just Phil Robertson who is talking about his personal doctrinal views. Some self-awareness is in order.
Further, one of the most important points of Christianity is the forgiveness of sins. Christians talk about sin a lot. From Genesis to Revelation, it’s a major theme. For the last 2,000 years it’s been a major theme. While the current media climate tends to have a rather narrow view of sin (the only sin is believing in sin), this is in contrast with historic Christianity. Again, some self-awareness is in order.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified where Glenn Beck met Kay Robertson. They met at a NASCAR event.