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An Open Letter To Phil Robertson

I’ve seen a lot of vitriol on the internet over the issue of Phil Robertson’s suspension from his show Duck Dynasty. And all of this hate and disgust seems to be going in the wrong direction. A&E has been getting bashed on blog after blog, while Phil is held up as this paragon of free speech and godly goodness. Well he got his First Amendment rights. But A&E also has the right to can his ass.

And I’ve read the entire interview in GQ. It was interesting, and it seemed like the narrator was trying to remain impartial (though failing) while keeping to his own voice, but there were so many sketchy, misleading, and downright wrong comments made by Mr. Robertson. This man should not be made an idol. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, but his religion is blinding him to his own ignorance. So, I’ve taken the time to compile some of the more egregious statements and provided a rebuttal. You be the judge.

“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.”

It has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with genetics (okay, genetics and a little organic chemistry). Not logical, biological. Some men feel about vagina’s exactly how you feel about other men’s dicks. Some women feel about dicks the exact same way you feel about dicks. You don’t get it because you apparently never took a Biology course and wouldn’t know a Punnet square if it hit you in the face. I’m also really surprised you didn’t pull out the, “It’s not natural,” argument somewhere in here. Why don’t you turn yourself gay for a couple months, and then switch back right before the next season premiere. Just show me it can be done, and I’ll shut up. You’ve been born-again once and had your entire sordid past washed away, I’m sure you have another 1UP to spare.

Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana “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.”

I really don’t know how I feel about this comment. It’s like he’s saying it’s okay that black people were in a lower caste because he was too. That doesn’t make it right. Especially since black people, even more so in the Deep South, were still second-class citizens and Jim Crow laws were still the norm. It had only been a few generations since most of those black families were owned by somebody.

What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.

Nope. Definitely not founded on Christian values. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention god. Ever read Jefferson’s letters? In his letter to the Committee of Danbury Baptist Association, he proclaimed a “wall of separation between church and State.” Ever read the Treaty of Tripoli? “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

And how many of the ten commandments are actually against the law? Two? So let’s put up a plaque that some random dude 3000 years ago carried down from a mountain where a burning bush talked to him? Yeaaaah…how about we talk to each other and create moral, secular laws that benefit everyone, not just one religious group. Because there is that whole freedom of religion thing. Which also means freedom from religion.

“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.”

I’m so fucking sick of people comparing homosexuality to bestiality. HOW IS CONSENSUAL INTERCOURSE BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE OF THE SAME SEX THE SAME AS RAPING AN ANIMAL!? And also, when did this become Victorian England? Homosexuality is going to lead to promiscuity? Like that’s a bad thing? Um, I don’t know how to tell you this, buuuut…too late. Have you heard of hookup culture? Because that’s a thing now. Besides, it seems like all the fun people are going to be in hell. I can’t wait to meet Oscar Wilde!

He and the other Robertson men happily tour the country, giving speeches and hosting Bible studies. I ask Jep Robertson later on if the second generation of Robertson men shares Phil’s views on sin and morality. “We’re not quite as outspoken as my dad, but I’m definitely in line,” he says. “If somebody asks, I tell ’em what the Bible says.”

Soooo, you don’t use any critical thinking skills or look at any of the scientific and idealogical progress we’ve made in the last two millenia? Do you believe in all of the Bible, or just the parts that you like? If, let’s say, you, Phil, didn’t have kids and were to die, would Uncle Si have to marry your wife

What about eating pork and shellfish? 

And does your store sell clothes made with mixed threads?

Do any of you have tattoos? (at least one does) 

Wear gold? (they do) 

Play football? (they do) 

Pull out? (no idea on this one)

All I’m saying is, if you don’t abide by any of these, then how can you quote Leviticus saying homosexuality is an abomination? But hey, at least you don’t shave your beards.

“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it,” Phil tells me. “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.”

Nazis had Jesus. Nazis literally had “Gott Mitt Uns” (God is with us) stamped on their belt buckles. Hitler was Catholic and consistently talked about Jesus and the Christian faith. The term Third Reich is a reference to the Holy Roman Empire. But it’s not just Jesus=Good, Not Jesus=Bad. The Emperor of the Japanese was revered as a god. The Soviets, who I assume you mean by Communists, established the State as the Church. Islam (which refers to the religion, not the people, who are called Muslims) believes in the same god as Christians, but just a different prophet. Blind obedience is harmful no matter who it’s directed to. Skeptical analysis and critical thinking is how we should vote, live, and legislate. And before you get on a your Christian high horse and say that all these people killed so many more, examine the log in your own eye. Your eye being Christian history and the log being the Crusades and the Holocaust.

“So you and your woman: Are y’all Bible people?”

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.”

So if you can make everyone have the exact same beliefs as yourself, then everything will work out fine? Good luck with that.

“Why don’t we go back to the old days?” he asked me at one point.

How far back are we talking? Back to the atrocities the Romans committed? Back to the Crusades? Back to the Spanish Inquisition? Back to the extermination of the Native Americans? The Holocaust? Slavery? Racism? Sexism? All I see is progress.