So, everyone is talking about Phil Robertson.
There are people vilifying him. There are people starting petitions saying, "We stand with Phil!"
When I saw the headline, that the guy from Duck Dynasty (a show I've never watched) said homosexuality is a sin, I thought, A backwoods redneck says a bunch of discriminatory stuff. I have literally never been less surprised in my life.
(Ted Cruz and several other Republicans are rushing out to defend Robertson. I already oppose you guys' elections, but thanks for making it easier.)
It's not the fact that he's a backwoods redneck that makes me say that, though. I know lots of people in rural areas who are very progressive, even if their ways of expressing that progression are a bit limited. A while ago at work, a couple of truckers having lunch while waiting for their vehicles to load had the following conversation:
"We should just nuke the Muslims!"
"Not all of them, just the ones that want to kill us!"
"That's what I meant, you fucking dumbass!"
Inelegant, sure. But at least they got it.
The problem is isolation. It's not that the folks from Duck Dynasty live away from civilization, it's that they don't want to be part of the civilized world. I've seen this with both whites and blacks -- they have their own little fiefdom away from the world, and talking with them will fill your ears with so much racist bullshit, they will start to bleed. Without other people to see as examples of how the world can and does work, they create an echo chamber where discriminatory thoughts thrive. It has nothing to do with whether or not you have money, but whether or not you want to be discriminatory. I regard Ted Nugent as proof. Nugent is a rugged outdoorsman, lives off the land, and has carved a Mad Dog persona for himself, a conservative icon (despite the fact that he dodged the draft) and a total Libertarian who thinks the government should get the fuck out of our lives. However, in December 2012, Nugent said, "Let’s also stop the insanity by suspending the right to vote of any American who is on welfare. Once they get off welfare and are self-sustaining, they get their right to vote restored. No American on welfare should have the right to vote for tax increases on those Americans who are working and paying taxes to support them. That’s insane." This is a guy who wants to be isolated, who wants to think these things and not be proven wrong or stupid. Money and success don't do it, wanting to live with their id unchecked is.
The flap over Robertson's comments on gays is actually misleading. Yeah, he said it, but it overshadows something much worse. What he said is just Old School Homophobia -- use Scripture to justify it and sit there smugly while thinking you know so much more. Initially getting a pass was his statements about blacks, which frankly I find a lot more upsetting that the gay comments. These quotes are taken directly from the GQ interview.
For starters, Robertson thinks blacks were happy and treated just fine in the Jim Crow South. "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."
Here's a nice little endorsement of America's educational system -- Robertson thinks the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because they don't believe in Jesus. "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." The Inquisition...let's begin...the Inquisition...look out, sin....
And now, the gay comments, which compared to the above, are pretty much standard bullshit we've been hearing for the past fifty years. "Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil."
People defending Robertson continue to twist the Bible. They say Robertson's statements are full of love, not hate. Robertson himself says, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." Does any of that sound like he loves the sinner, saying gays are "full of murder"? The song and dance is that Robertson is trying to warn people away from sin. We're all sinners in some way, it's just that gays are engaged in the sin of homosexuality (HOMOSEXUALITY ISN'T A SIN, GODDAMMIT!). They say that's what God said in the Bible -- actually, that's what a person writing the Bible said, and he said for a man to lay with a man as he would a woman is "an abomination," not a sin (besides, that's just men. No one says anything about the lesbians), so saying combating homosexuality is combating sin is total bullshit.
Actually, the whole thing about combating homosexuality is combating sin and upholding the Bible is beyond total bullshit. Has anyone else noticed that these people saying they oppose homosexuality because the Bible says it is wrong don't campaign against, say, divorce? Jesus warned against divorce. Alcoholism? That's poo-poo'ed in the Bible. We don't shun them as sinners, some in fact are celebrated as cool. How about premarital sex? Modern men and women aren't sitting around on blocks of ice waiting for their betrothed to arrive. The Bible says that, if a man has evidence that his wife is not a virgin when he marries her, he has the right to kill her. You don't see that idea being advanced in the New York Times.
What this boils down to is simple -- people want to hate. They want to discriminate. They want to have some group they can see as "the Other" and blame for the downfall of society, something that reassures them they are not at fault and the world is unfair to them in ways they can identify. And when someone gives them that straw man, they rally around him.
In the name of a religion that taught peaceful co-existence and being nice to each other.
The majority are never the rebels. It just isn't logically possible. And for other people to buy into it is the greatest mistake of all.