Talk about the Energizer Bunny, this family has staying power. A few weeks ago (seems like months) I caught onto the story of the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty fame:
Yes, one of the tenants of Christian fundamentalism is condemnation of homosexuality, and Robertson’s recapitulation of the scripture on this did not sit well with the LBGT community. Nor with the show’s producers. A&E dropped Robertson from the show, likely forever.
Not to worry. The LGBT community aside, Robertson has many defenders, even among those who never watch the show.
So I’m finally getting down to the essence of this post. Robertson is receiving daily support from religious and political interests, and in this process we on the outside are gaining additional insight into this remarkable man and his philosophies. Now comes a revelation that is so startling that it’s bound to dominate the headlines for weeks to come. One Ian Bayne, preparing to run for the Illinois 11th Congressional District next year, has disclosed information not previously available to me or others. Besides being a protector of the Christian faith Robertson is also a civil rights defender of stellar proportions. He’s not just a summertime soldier when it comes to civil rights. He’s up there with the big time. Did I mention Martin Luther King? Maybe not. Did I mention Rosa Parks?
Of course that was good news. Queer-baiting Phil Robertson turning out to be a civil rights icon, standing shoulder to shoulder with Rosa Parks and others in the movement. But at the price of public scorn.
The good news, of course, is that A&E has re-instated the show Duck Dynasty to its rightful place, with father Phil still at the head of the clan. Ratings for the show are in the dumps right now, likely not so much due to Robertson’s anti-gay tirades, but more likely to viewer fatigue. Reality shows are great entertainment, but viewers’ appetite for coarse-talking backwoods men sporting Taliban beards has limits.
All this redemption has emboldened father Phil to re-paste his stance on homosexuals and the homosexual lifestyle:
Speaking at the Rock the South festival in Cullman, Alabama, over the weekend, Robertson defended his controversial comments made in a GQ profile last year when he said that being gay was a sin and compared homosexuality to bestiality.
In this latest tirade Robertson claims that he was really just “trying to help those poor souls and turn them to Jesus.”
Turn them to Jesus? What an idea. The reason queers are gay is because they have turned away from Jesus. Who would have thought? Of course, this ignores the millions of homosexuals who are devout Christians:
People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts,” declared the best-selling author of numerous books about faith and culture. “A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today.
What’s surprising is the “best-selling author” who has made this startling statement is none other than George Barna – who is a conservative author and pollster. His latest poll is a spiritual profile of “homosexual adults” and the “surprising insights” are that gays and lesbians are just as apt to believe in God and be Christians as any other human being, despite their sexual orientation.
As a Christian who happens to be a lesbian, the findings, for me, are a big, “Well, duh.” But, it’s heartening to see Barna doing such a survey and then making a very big and important statement that gays and lesbians are not the “godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers” that the media and right wing Christian organizations portray us as. The best thing about Barna’s latest research is that, finally, a respected conservative voice has given credibility to the idea that one can be both gay and Christian.
These people do not need to be “turned to Jesus.” What does Phil Robertson propose these people should do?
It is quite possible that when Robertson made these ill-conceived remarks he did not know about the millions of homosexual Christians. This is not surprising, since he turned out to be unaware of a number of other well-known facts:
Phil may have missed out on a lot that was going on in his neck of the woods 50 to 60 years ago. He may not have noticed that black people were prevented from voting. He might not have noticed that an uppity black teenager could be murdered for insulting a white woman, and the jury would give the murderers a walk. He might not even have noticed that black people had to sit in the back of the bus. It’s easy to miss out on a lot of stuff when you’re growing up in the Louisiana backwoods. However I’m thinking it would have been hard to miss the conversation at the dinner table, and it would have been hard to miss the sermons delivered from the pulpit assuring the congregation that subservience by black people was ordained by God.
Personally, I cannot begrudge Robertson his intellectual shortcomings. Here is a person who has parlayed a family business into a multi-million-dollar industry. That kind of success speaks to a pragmatic approach and a capable head. Of a certain leaning.