Tolerance? Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson GQ Interview

I don’t read GQ.  OK, I looked at it once when I was teenager.  I was in the doctor’s office and Johnny Depp was on the cover   I may have ripped out some pictures of Johnny Depp and shoved them on my purse, but since then, my life has been GQ free.

I also don’t watch “Duck Dynasty.”  Partly because I got rid of cable, but even before that I didn’t watch the show.  Honestly, I don’t get the fascination with a bunch of backwoods hunters who are millionaires.  My friends tell me they’re Christians, therefore it’s a great show.  The local Bible bookstores AND Walmart carry “Duck Dynasty” merchandise, so I suppose the show has bridged the great gap between the sacred and the secular.

That is, until that GQ interview.  You know the one I’m talking about–the one where Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family, spoke out against homosexuality and made some ignorant comments on the Civil Rights era.  Now Robertson has been suspended from A&E, the network which broadcasts “Duck Dynasty,” because the A&E execs are outraged by Robertson’s view.  

Really?!  The family prays at the end of every episode and speak at Christian conferences.  Is A&E and the rest of the world really so shocked that evangelical Christians don’t support homosexuality?!  I don’t want the show and I’m not surprised; I don’t understand why anyone else is.

What does shock me is the way Robertson expressed himself.

According to this CNN article, Robertson used some pretty crude language to describe homosexual relationships.  I am appalled at his language, but perhaps that’s why people like him, perhaps they like his frankness…until Robertson says something they don’t agree with.  Then he’s a “racist redneck homophobe.”

I have learned that everyone won’t agree with me…and I’m [mostly] OK with that. But how dare Robertson express a belief that goes against popular culture’s view of what’s “right.”  Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion as long as he or she goes along with the majority view.  Oh, we say we value diversity and individual beliefs, but we don’t.

Instead of wondering whether or not Robertson may have been misquoted or if his words were taken out of context (though it appears they haven’t been), many are ready to tar and feather him while screaming for equality!  As a former journalist, I know I would always look for the best quotes from interviews to tell the story of my interviewee.  However, I am a stickler for context and dislike sensationalism.  As a public figure, Robertson should keep a closer reign on his tongue.

But Robertson has every right to say what he did.

If we really value free speech and want to preach tolerance, then we need to agree to disagree with others.  I have friends who support gay marriage and friends who don’t.  I have friends who think I’m a fanatical Christian, others who think I’m a nice girl, and others who share my beliefs.  Even among my church family, we have different views on theology, politics, and relationships. But I don’t just stop being friends or talking to people with whom I disagree.  If I did, I wouldn’t have left with which to talk.

I am offended by Phil Robertson comments, not just because some what he said was ridiculously ignorant (yeah, I’m sure the blacks loved Jim Crow laws.)  Note my sarcasm.)  But does a man who calls himself a Christian, a reflector of Christ, need to actually name private parts to make a point?  Does his foolish talk really have to affect what others will think of me as a Christian?  This is what I find the most disturbing because I am nothing like Phil Robertson.  It hurts me that other Christians have to deal with someone who put his foot in his mouth.  We will find the grace to forgive him because that’s what Christians do–make mistakes and are forgiven.  Though some mistakes (or sins) have consequences, like Robertson’s suspension from A&E.  His suspension probably has little to do with his tone and more about his comments regarding homosexuality.

I won’t be tuning in to “Duck Dynasty” any time soon, especially now that Robertson has been suspended and many are questioning the future of the show.  I won’t buy their merchandise or sign a petition to try to get A&E to reverse their suspension of Robertson. Yet Phil Robertson has a right to say what he wants, though I don’t like his tone.  So do what I did, change the channel and watch something else.  Don’t preach “tolerance” and then condemn someone because you disagree with his or her beliefs because seems rather intolerant, don’t you think?  But you have every right to be offended.

5 thoughts on “Tolerance? Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson GQ Interview

  1. I was raised in a traditional Christian home and while I don’t believe in the “religious Christians” I do believe in Jesus Christ -and have been in a relationship with a woman for the last 10 years. And when I say “religious Christians” I mean those who spout off scriptures in the bible judging and condemning others instead of being Christ Like. Study to show thy own-self approved instead of cramming your beliefs down other people’s throats. Live your life as Christ lived his and people will ask you how you do it.

    As for gay people, how can you preach tolerance but refuse to tolerate other people and their beliefs. Practice what you preach! If you want people to be tolerant, than tolerate other people. And in that same breath, if you show intolerance to others, then expect the same in return. Hypocrisy will get you nowhere.

    When the day of judgment comes, we will all stand by ourselves before our creator and answer for the life we lived. If we stand by ourselves then why are we so worried about other peoples lives? Why can’t we live life for ourselves and leave others alone?

    Robertson has every right to his beliefs and the constitutional right to say as he pleases. You don’t have to agree, and you also don’t have to watch him.

    I am blessed to live in a country where I have the freedom to be who I choose and say what I want. I would never hope to take those same rights away from others simply because I do not agree.

    I love your post, and will end my comment here.

  2. Seems like a pretty balanced post to me. I find it interesting that Hollywood spends millions trying to force feed us shows, and a show like Duck Dynasty ends up being about the most popular thing on TV. Not a thing like what they produce.

  3. I read somewhere that Duck Dynasty is fake, the whole show, characters, their attitudes, appearance, “redneck” attitudes…everything… Wouldn’t be surprised if interviews like this one are just PR stunts to get folks talking and writing about the show. Ignoring it is the best way to go, it seems..

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