Can you call a self-professed “Bible Thumper,” who believes that homosexuality (along with adultery and idolatry) is a sin a homophobe? Or can you excuse a man’s narrow-mindedness because of his religious beliefs? Because that’s the thing with Ducky Dynasty’s Phil Robertson — who, along with the cast of the most popular reality show on television — gave an interview to GQ magazine this month, where they talk about using their show to spread the good word, so to speak.
“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,” 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.”
“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.”
That seems like an indictment of homosexuality, as well as a declaration in one’s religious beliefs. It’s ignorance, but it’s also predicated on the notion that gays, adulterers, and drunkards are interested in inheriting a kingdom of God. Is it hate, or is it religion, or is it both? Phil Robertson is clearly a deeply faithful man, after all, as he suggests when he states that giving up his family’s privacy was worth it for the opportunity to proselytize.
“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it… All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”
Obviously, I don’t believe in the same things that Phil Robertson believes, but I’ve always found it difficult to work up much rage for intolerance informed by conviction, particularly where there are no pieces of legislation or acts of violence attached to that conviction. I’ve seen a few episodes of Duck Dynasty, and I didn’t care for it (it’s painfully scripted) but I couldn’t bring myself to hate it because The Robertsons did seem like good-natured folks blinded to real goodness by archaic, backwards idea of goodness rooted in fundamentalist Christianity.