By Shane Kastler
It's not about the TV show. Let me start with that. Regardless of whether or not Duck Dynasty continues as a show is inconsequential to the rise or fall of Christianity. This issue with Phil Robertson runs much deeper than that. And Christians should be concerned. So should all Americans (both gay and straight) who value free speech. Does anybody want to live in a country where your employer can dictate to you what you are allowed or not allowed to believe regarding religion? Can a man still speak the unabashed truth and not get burned at the stake by those who disagree? And has welfare been harmful to many in America (including the black community)? These are some of the questions I wish to address.
First of all, I think A&E's intent in airing shows like Duck Dynasty is that they enjoy mocking and ridiculing Southern, rural, Christian people. Then as soon as one of those Southern, rural, Christian people dares to express his beliefs he gets fired. Of course this whole concept kind of backfired on A&E to begin with. The real appeal of Duck Dynasty for many people (myself included) is not that they seem so strange, but that they seem so normal. Since I grew up in rural Oklahoma, lived much of my adult life in rural Kansas, and currently reside in the same Louisiana the Robertsons live in I see the Robertsons as very similar to most of the people I know. Most of my family and friends have similar religious views as the Robertsons. Most of my family and friends have the same political views as the Robertsons. Many of my family and friends wear camo, have beards and love to shoot guns like the Robertsons. We're not mesmerized with the Robertsons because they're so odd. We laugh because they remind us of ourselves. New York TV executives don't get that.
Phil Robertson's comments on homosexuality came straight out of the Bible. And while television executives might find this strange, it's a Bible that many of us in America still believe in. On this particular issue, to reject what Phil said is to reject what God himself has said. Here is what Phil said: “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.” Phil was paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. You might not personally agree with that view. But it is the Biblical view and to reject it is to reject the Word of God.
Furthermore, Phil has been criticized by some for being too “coarse” in his language. Even the Robertson family statement admitted to the “coarseness” of some of the things he said, while defending his position as being biblical. Many Christians, who defend Phil's viewpoint, have nevertheless criticized some of the graphic nature of what he said and the words he used. But even on this, I ask the question: “Did he say anything that wasn't true?” If he has, I've yet to see it.
Perhaps I suffer from some of the same coarseness as Phil. I've certainly been accused many times over the years of being too blunt, both in conversation and from the pulpit. Incidentally, I've also had many people who have appreciated the bluntness. But I have essentially made the same argument many times, that Phil made in the interview regarding how “illogical” homosexuality is. Phil offended some by using the words “vagina” and “anus.” Maybe he shouldn't have used them. But in his defense, those are considered the “proper” names for those body parts. And we all know he could have used MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more offensive terms to describe them. His basic argument was that it doesn't make sense for a man to be attracted to another man. Men should be attracted to women; which is in fact God's design. I have argued from the pulpit that homosexuality is not only sinful, but against nature and indeed unnatural for numerous reasons. One of those reasons is that the reproductive body parts of male and female were clearly designed to go together. Which is most certainly not true with a homosexual relationship. In the case of lesbians, something vital is missing. And in the case of sodomites, too many of a certain “somethings” are present. And something else vital is still missing. That's why they have to resort to sodomy. Which (as Phil said) is simply NOT LOGICAL.
In 2007, James Holsinger, who was nominated by then President George W. Bush to be Surgeon General, had to remove his name because he argued the same point from a medical standpoint. In a medical paper he had written several years earlier, he argued that sodomy was unhealthy because it mixed the reproductive system with the digestive system in a way that was never intended. With the result being serious medical problems to the homosexual's body. One would have to be willfully ignorant to not see the truth of this study. And the logic that it bespeaks. And once again, the Bible fully confirms this line of reason. Sin is not logical. Homosexuality in particular is not logical. Here is what the Bible says:
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” (Romans 1:26-28 NASB)
As for the issue regarding “free speech.” This is actually something that should concern not only Christians but all Americans. Should a man be fired if he has an opinion other than yours? Or is it possible for various viewpoints to peacefully go exist in a free society? I would warn the homosexual who praised Phil's firing that the same line of reasoning might be used tomorrow to fire them. In fact, if the shoe were on the other foot and Phil had been fired for speaking in favor of homosexuality I wonder how quickly a federal “anti-discrimination” lawsuit would have been filed. I suspect Phil would have a case even now, if he were so inclined to go that route (which he probably isn't).
Regarding free speech, the Constitution protects a citizen's right to hold whatever view they want, and to speak publicly about it without fear of reprisal from the government. The television network, A&E is also within their rights to employ or fire whomever they wish. Of course there are contractual obligations, no doubt, regarding both parties that must be taken into account. I suspect this was what the Robertson family meant in their statement when they said they were in discussions with A&E to see what their options were. Lawyers will be heavily involved before this thing ends.
As an aside, I believe “anti-discrimination” laws to be completely unconstitutional. I know this flies in the face of conventional thinking. But I see no grounds whatsoever for the government to be able to tell a business what criteria they must use in their hiring and firing practices. If, for example, I open a Chinese restaurant and only want to employ orientals, should I be legally stopped from doing that? With that said, I think to refuse to hire someone solely based on their skin color is deplorable. And I should know. I've had prospective employers tell me before that they would hire me in a second “if only you were black or a woman.” If it's wrong to shun a black person or a woman, then isn't it also wrong to shun a white man? Nevertheless, just because something is wrong doesn't mean it should be illegal. The government needs to butt out of the hiring practices of businesses. But I digress.
The main point from the Phil Robertson scandal is this: it's open season on Christians. If anyone dares proclaim Biblical truth they can expect to be browbeaten, tarred and feathered, publicly crucified; or all of the above. Every opinion is valid according to the 21st century mantra of “tolerance.” Every opinion that is, except for Christianity. Such attacks on truth have, of course, always existed. And they always will. This shouldn't surprise us. But at the same time, we currently live in a representative republic where we have the right to speak out. And so we should. If I were being publicly maligned and ridiculed for my Christian beliefs, I would hope my brothers and sisters in Christ would defend me. I suspect if it were you, you would hope for that too. The answer to this problem is not for Christians to simply shrug their shoulders and say “Oh, well. That's just the way America is.” If we must be blasted for speaking the truth. Let us go down defending each other; and speaking out unto the end.
There is a three-pronged attack that liberals use to besmirch conservatives in general and Christians in particular. First they will try to attack you for not being “pro-gay.” Today, this really is the litmus test for approval by the media elites. Athletes, actors, politicians, and just about anyone will be questioned about their views on gay marriage, for example. And if they don't “fall in line” you can expect an all out media blitz. The second prong of their attack is to play the race card. This too has been done by the anti-Phil Robertson crowd. And sadly, even some Christians have jumped on the bandwagon. Not because they're evil, but because they're ignorant of the economic realities of the American welfare system. The third prong of the attack, by the way, is from the feminists. I'm sure that one is forthcoming as well.
Here's what Phil said regarding race: "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."
This statement absolutely sets the liberals on fire. Because in their pious Northern arrogance they assume the South is made up of nothing but white racists. Phil never said that black people were never mistreated. He simply said the reality of his life was different than the typical caricature. The truth of the matter is that black families stayed together during slavery and during segregation at a far higher rate than they do today. Does that mean slavery and segregation were good? Of course not. But the government solution (so-called) known as welfare has been absolutely devastating to the black family and the black community..
Would you be shocked if I told you that two of the most well respected economists in America have been saying the same thing Phil said, for years? Would you be further shocked if I told you both of those brilliant economists were black men? Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams have both spent decades bemoaning how welfare has ravaged the black families of America.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Williams said this: “Racial discrimination is not the problem of black people that it used to be. Today I doubt you could find any significant problem that blacks face that is caused by racial discrimination. The 70% illegitimacy rate is a devastating problem, but it doesn't have a damn thing to do with racism. The fact that in some areas black people are huddled in their homes at night, sometimes serving meals on the floor so they don't get hit by a stray bullet—that's not because the Klan is riding through the neighborhood."
In the same interview Williams goes on to say: “Even in the antebellum era, when slaves often weren't permitted to wed, most black children lived with a biological mother and father. During Reconstruction and up until the 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children lived in two-parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are born to single women. The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, what Jim Crow couldn't do, what the harshest racism couldn't do and that is to destroy the black family."
Sowell echoes this sentiment in and interview he gave to Capitalist Magazine when he said: “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”
Phil Robertson's statements might have been angrily received. But many knowledgeable economists; and even some black Americans would agree with his views. Indeed the facts and statistics seem to prove him right.
In conclusion, I don't believe Phil Robertson to be a perfect man, nor Duck Dynasty to be a perfect show. But I've been suspecting a showdown with the gay community for some time. I knew Phil's views and I was waiting to see how he would respond when questioned. I was pleased with his response and I commend him for his backbone. And I hope and pray that all the Robertsons will stand strong in the face of the opposition. I personally don't think Phil cares about losing the show or the money. He has said several times that he's tired of doing the show and wants to go back to a private life. And he already has all the money he needs. Phil was right about homosexuality, because the Bible is right about homosexuality. Phil was right that gay attraction makes zero logical sense. Phil was right that many in America, including many blacks, were more content before the government swooped in to save them with welfare. To my knowledge, Phil's only mistake in this matter was granting an interview to GQ magazine. Why Phil would give time to an uppity, elitist, pro-gay, pro-liberal, snotty New York rag like that is beyond me. And why would GQ want to talk to Phil anyway, except to try and destroy him? I read somewhere that Phil attempted to share the gospel with the reporter which was what got the conversation on to the topic of “sin.” Maybe Phil thought God might save the man. But it may turn out that the New York reporter was instead a reprobate. Most of them seem to be.
Whatever happens, I'm glad Phil spoke the truth. I wish more folks in America would. It'd be nice to restore a little sanity to our country which has gone mad. Praising gays, bashing Christians, and silencing all dissension is not what America was founded on. And unless things change real fast, the America we used to know will be nothing but a distant faded memory. Hate crime laws already exist to try and silence any proclamation of truth regarding homosexuality. Make no mistake the gays ultimate agenda is not “equality.” They want absolute adherence to their mantra by all Americans, with swift legal force brought down on any who espouse another opinion. They don't want the “freedom” to marry, they want the “power” to dictate. And men like Phil Robertson are public enemy number one to them. I wonder how it will go if they gay mafia finds out that in fact America is over populated by thousands, even millions, of Phil Robertson types. Maybe these fine Christians will arise and say “enough” of the lunacy. This is what we believe. You don't have to like it. But you can't force us to be quiet. And we, like the Apostles of old might say, “whether it's right to obey you or not, you can judge; but as for us we cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.” Those Apostles got killed for their stand. We might also. But at least we'll fall with truth on our lips and Jesus in our hearts. And really, what better way is there to go?