Okay – I’m tired of the damned Duck Dynasty Crap. I could not care less which side you support or what your beliefs in Jesus are or are not. But in the hopes that I can get a few people to stop talking about a redneck duck hunter from Louisiana and his views on Gay and Black people, I’m going to give my two cents.
1)While you were all in a state of apoplexy that an old, white, southerner from the middle of nowhere found gay sex gross and didn’t understand the plight of Black people a few important things were going on.
- As a way to settle a lawsuit amongst VISA, MasterCard, and American Express and various merchants, a district court judge approved an agreement that allows merchants to charge more to credit card users with the approval of the credit card companies (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/20/business/an-easing-of-rules-on-charges-by-amex.html?hp&_r=0). So whatever crap you plan to buy for Christmas that you’re already going to pay more for via interest charges, you can now pay a surcharge for using your plastic – because the merchants and the credit card companies agreed that you should. You should be pissed off about this, but by all means, be upset that A&E said we are suspending the guy who said nasty stuff about Gays and Blacks.
- A group of activists protesting fracking invaded the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City to spread their message (http://www.koco.com/news/oklahomanews/okc/okc-protestors-slapped-with-terrorism-charges/-/11777584/23477498/-/hsyc0r/-/index.html). While two chained themselves to the door, several made it to the second floor and unfurled banners in support of the Great Plains Tar Sand Resistance and their opposition to fracking. The banners contained glitter (yes, that’s right, glitter) but the police, claiming ignorance of a substance a kindergartner could identify, arrested as many as twelve protesters and charged them with terrorism. That’s right, terrorism. But yes, please tell me how the duck guy has had his rights infringed upon.
- The Pew Research Center released data (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/19/global-inequality-how-the-u-s-compares/) that demonstrated that the United States distribution of income ranks ahead of only Chile, that we are behind virtually every other nation. Perhaps even more startling was that the data led them to conclude that, unlike the continuous claim of the right that social welfare leads to the poor being takers, the use of social welfare puts even more money in the hands of the wealthy – the income gap widens after taxes and payouts of social program moneys.
This is just some of the bigger stuff – there were myriad smaller stories, like a 5-year old being hogtied by police for assaulting them, or the strip search of an Indian diplomat ordered by US authorities.
I am not saying that it was okay what this man said. I am not saying that A&E is wrong in this case (see below). My point is that we are getting caught up in cultural nonsense when truly important stuff is happening all around us, things that will affect us in a far greater and more meaningful way than this duck guy’s opinions on gay sex and the Jim Crow south and slavery.
- There is no constitutional issue here. I am sick to death of hearing “what about his rights to free speech” from Robertson, Robertson’s family (http://duckcommander.com/news/robertson-family-offical-statement#.UrXQIK7aK3l.facebook) and his myriad of supporters from Fox News and Facebook.
Only A&E is taking a stand here. As a corporation, they are entitled to say “we no longer want to do business with Phil Robertson” because his comments harm them as a corporate entity. Period. The constitution has nothing to do with the relationship between A&E and Robertson.
- I have spent a lifetime hearing that Christianity is a religion of love, and I will say that when I have read the words of Jesus Christ, I read love, not hate. And yet for that same lifetime, I have heard Christians say some pretty awful things and couch them in “hey, it’s just what my religion tells me.No…it…doesn’t. Sorry. Nowhere in the Bible does your god call on you to hate others. Christ hung around with some pretty sketchy characters. And while you all like to pretend that just because Paul said in Corinthians that certain people cannot inherit the kingdom of God, elsewhere in that same book, Christ said that salvation comes through God and God alone. Let me break it down. You can read your Bible and use it as the guide to your life. But if doesn’t give you any insight into who is going to heaven. You don’t decide – and neither did Paul, or any of Christ’s other followers if that’s the sort of thing you believe in.Let me also quote my good friend Chris P. from Houston – “I do not need a supernatural being to give me an instruction manual on how to treat people who are different from me.” Yeah, it really is that simple.
- Lastly, this is not an attack on religious freedom. Those who are in opposition to what Phil Robertson said are opposed to the bigotry and lack of understanding in which he wrapped his comments. Phil Robertson compared homosexuality to bestiality, he went beyond Biblical belief. He gave his commentary on the condition of the Jim Crow south, statements borne of ignorance. His statement that he never personally saw violence against African Americans is plausible. He also said that being from the same class (“poor white trash” in his words) there was some sense of togetherness he felt while working side by side (“I was with the blacks”), and this is also believable. What Phil clearly did not get was African Americans’ unhappiness with the status quo of 1950s and 1960s Louisiana,or what singing represented in plantation work. And again, this is simply plain unfamiliarity.And here is the problem. Issues of ignorance and unfamiliarity are teaching moments. Most of my friends are engaged in the process of teaching, and this is a teaching moment if I have ever seen one. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying “let’s line up and all give Phil a history lesson.” What I am saying is that instead of de-friending each other, and yelling, and screaming, and posting angry messages on each other’s Facebook walls, let’s all take a second and do what we love…teach.