Duck Dynasty Mess Revealed That Not All Fundamentalists Live in the Bible Belt

Gay-rights activists have won the culture war — why the need to act like sore winners?

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Peter Kramer / NBC / NBC NewsWire / Getty Images

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty appears on NBC News' Today show in August 2013

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson’s victory over the A&E network, which sheepishly reinstated him late Friday, is a rare culture-war victory for conservatives. Though Robertson’s controversial remarks to GQ magazine were fairly cringeworthy, it is exhilarating to see the zero-tolerance liberal commissars who police the public square with such Javert-like zeal get their, er, goose cooked by their worst nightmare: a rural, Southern, fundamentalist Christian duck hunter who does not give a tinker’s damn what they think.

Bien-pensant activists and their corporate and media enablers lecture us endlessly about the virtues of “diversity” and “tolerance.” In fact, these are Orwellian terms they use to mask the intolerant monoculture that they truly desire — one that sends dissenters from the maximalist gay-rights line to … well, the closet.

(MORE: Duck Dynasty Reversal Shows GLAAD Has an Expiration Date)

We may (must?) celebrate a gay man hanging naked by hooks embedded in his back before a cheering crowd — as happened at this year’s Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, the annual sadomasochism festival, sponsored in part by Marriott Hotels and American Airlines — but we must banish from public sight a Bible-quoting fundamentalist who believes what nearly all Christians believed about homosexuality until around 50 years ago. A society in which St. Paul’s letters are considered “hate speech” is one with no place for traditional Christians. And people are surprised that these Christians push back?

The thing is, gay-rights activists have won the culture war. America has changed and is changing with astonishing speed. Many Christians who still believe normative Christian teaching on sexuality (and not just homosexuality) regretted Robertson’s coarse and dehumanizing language, preferring instead the more irenic tone struck by Pope Francis (who, by the way, shares the Duck patriarch’s basic view of the moral status of homosexuality). The Phil Robertsons have lost power and are fading into history. So why are gay activists and their supporters behaving like sore winners?

Similarly, the generation of white Southerners to which the 67-year-old Robertson belongs is passing away. His memories of how peaceful and happy black people were in the Jim Crow era were factually and morally wrong, but they were no surprise to me. I grew up in rural Louisiana and live there today. You hear many older whites talk that way about conditions in their youth, and by no means are they expressing a wish to return to segregation.

(MORE: Sarah Palin Defends Duck Dynasty Star Suspended for Anti-Gay Remarks)

Are they morally blind on the question of race and history? Yes, mostly. But the more interesting question their opinion raises is why otherwise good people failed to see what was right in front of them. It’s not a simply a matter of personal racism. If you grow up in a culture that conditions you not to see how it abuses black people, is there any wonder that you don’t have memories of black people being abused? “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” said Orwell. This is the kind of thing he was talking about.

This is not to justify Robertson’s remarks, but to understand them as a product of their era. This past summer, I attended public meetings in my town about our new form of government. The unapologetic antiwhite racism expressed by some black citizens took me aback. Later, I realized that these men and women, all in their 60s, had grown up amid the violence and cruelty of Jim Crow’s demise. The distorting legacy of Jim Crow clouds their vision too.

Too many of us — black and white, liberal and conservative, gay and straight, religious and secular — prefer the comforts of outrage and the self-absolution of victimhood to the struggle to see what is in front of our noses, in all its complexity.

Robertson’s harshest critics don’t see what his legions of fans do: he is not a troglodytic bigot, but a rough man, of rough speech, who loves his God and his family. Aside from the mountain-man beard, Robertson looks and sounds a lot like them, or at least people they know, love and respect, even if they disagree with them. When they see Robertson’s livelihood threatened by the politically correct outrage brigades, they know the same thing could happen to them. Because he’s rich and famous, Robertson can fight back; his triumph against A&E and GLAAD is a rare victory for people who are accustomed to losing.

(MORE: The Duck Dynasty Fiasco Says More About Our Bigotry Than Phil’s)

You know what would be nice? If the people who make and shape culture — TV producers, journalists, activists and the like — would take this moment to reflect on how ignorant and intolerant they are of their own country, and the world beyond their cultural bubble. Here’s a reading assignment for them: The Righteous Mind, a 2012 book by University of Virginia research psychologist Jonathan Haidt.

Haidt, a secular liberal, explores social-science findings that educated, upper-middle-class Americans are the most extreme moral outliers in the world. That is, the moral framework they impose on human thought and behavior is radically alien to the moral perceptions of the overwhelming majority of humanity. This doesn’t make them wrong, but it does make them extremely unusual.

These happen to be the people who populate and direct America’s culture-making institutions. They are often every bit as parochial as those they condemn, but flatter themselves that they are the tolerant, cosmopolitan ones. I have lived in Manhattan, and I live once again in my tiny south Louisiana hometown. To paraphrase Solzhenitsyn, the border between narrow-minded and tolerant runs not between city and country, North and South, degreed and uneducated, but down the middle of every human community and every human heart.

“Anyone who tells you that all societies, in all eras, should be using one particular moral matrix, resting on one particular configuration of moral foundations, is a fundamentalist of one sort or another,” Haidt writes.

The Duck Dynasty mess revealed that not all fundamentalists live in the Bible Belt, and that some of the biggest hicks live in Hollywood. The Duckman’s win is a score for authentic diversity and pluralism in the public square, and a victory for the right to be wrong without being ruined.

238 comments
George_Rock
George_Rock

And this writer calls himself a conservative?  What a joke. 

Sandyone
Sandyone

The intelligent people are fleeing from the GOP/TEA, thus in the future the remaining 99.9% of Republicans will not believe in evolution or science. Texas text books will be their only educational source. The world will once again be flat and the sun will revolve around the earth. Robertson will still be busy explaining his vulgar ideas about 15 year old girls. So be it

treesaree
treesaree

The "right to be wrong without being ruined". See now you deem to be the arbiter of right and wrong. Guess what? You are not.

CpaHoffman
CpaHoffman

the ducks are alive with the sound of bs

MichaelMarriam
MichaelMarriam

Robertson wasn't making a statement about relative worth. Gays already walk as equals. All people were born sinners. All are EQUALLY deserving of judgment for their sin. All have EQUAL opportunity to change their mind about their sin, to ask God for forgiveness, and to be saved from the penalty of their sin by faith in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's God's definition of equality.

tool327
tool327

Has anyone stopped to think about how much money A&E made off of this controversy?  On the show, A&E has carefully edited the family's comments to minimize their offensiveness to some. For the first couple of years, A&E always had a handler with Phil to keep him from saying something less than palatable to most Americans.  For the GQ interview, he was left to his own devices.  


The end result, Phil offends many and A&E offers a token suspension.  The show is the talk of the town in what is otherwise a quiet season for TV bringing it back to the fore front.  Phil's supporters boycott A&E and flood to Walmart to buy up everything Duck Dynasty that they can get their hands on.  Now, think about it.  The show makes tens of millions in advertising revenue, and the Robertsons share $200k an episode.  Since A&E owns the show and the licensing of the merchandise, the Robertsons get none of the Walmart revenue that had a pre-controversy estimated value 400 million per year.


The Robertsons come out with very little and A&E reaps the profits of the gullibility of the shows loyal fans.  Genius.  

RJWinUK
RJWinUK

Replace the word gay with Jew and think about what a disgusting piece of journalism this is. It begins by talking gays and then compares them immediately to a naked man hanging from hooks. This is pure bigoted propaganda that any right wing dictatorship would be proud of. He even admits to 


What an offensive little rag TIME has become. 


And stop hiding behind religion as an excuse for hate speech. Hate speech is wrong and the entire developed world accepts this principle. It is only the bigots in the USA still trying to justify their racism, homophobia and bigotry as in this piece. This is usually justified with religion just like they justify stoning women. hanging gays and beheading witches in the name of religion in other parts of the world. I'm sure the writer of this article wishes it were still so in the USA but just like ceasing to burn witches what he sees as a change from traditional values is actually progress. 

ScottSomerville
ScottSomerville

They used to call 11:00 Sunday morning "the most segregated hour in America." I'd like to know how many races are represented in Phil Robertson's church. If it's all white, I wouldn't be surprised or particularly disappointed. But if Phil has black brothers and sister in his church in redneck Louisiana, that's NEWS and I want to hear it.

dimaflo
dimaflo

this has to be the stupidest show on t.v. right now so the people in it and those who watch it really need to be ignored. Unfortunately they also have to be tolerated. Lets not forget all of the "other" crazies who do and say vile things in the Lord's name. Just feel sorry for them and move on; and by the way as has been stated by other "crazies", the majority of people DO NOT FEEL THE SAME WAY YOU DO.

NonaMary
NonaMary

Dear All, Every time we hear that 'the Bible is right' or the 'Bible is correct' it is usually a pick-and-choose business. For example, how many people who say this are aware of the support the Bible gives for a father murdering his daughter? This is the Bible, folks, the Sacred Word of God, the Unchanging Truth. Remember, you can't pick and choose, if you re-interpret one part of the Bible, it is no longer literally true. So don't use the Bible as anything but an unerringly source of truth if you are going to choose one passage but ignore others. You should be consistent in your likes and dislikes. If you don't like the following passage, please take it up with God.


"At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and led an army against the Ammonites.  And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, "If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph.  I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.

    "So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory.  He thoroughly defeated the Ammonites from Aroer to an area near Minnith – twenty towns – and as far away as Abel-keramim. Thus Israel subdued the Ammonites.  When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter – his only child – ran out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy.  When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish.  "My daughter!" he cried out.  "My heart is breaking!  What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and cannot take it back."  And she said, "Father, you have made a promise to the LORD.  You must do to me what you have promised, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites.  But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin."  "You may go," Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months.  She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children.  When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin.  So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah's daughter."   (Judges 11:29-40 NLT)

DonaldJoy
DonaldJoy

Is fudgepacking part of Obamacarcass?

JugglingForACure
JugglingForACure

Corporations are mostly concerned with the bottom line, and usually only “care” about social issues when it threatens to affect their bottom line.  A&E ultimately viewed Robertson as not negatively affecting, but positively affecting the network’s bottom line.  Corporations may not be the best delegates for carrying social torches.

mconradhamilton
mconradhamilton

"Though Robertson’s controversial remarks to GQ magazine were fairly cringeworthy..."


Hard to take your article bemoaning the loss of the culture war seriously when you admit the other side is right in the opening paragraph.  Are they holding a gun to your head as you write this?  Or are you simply a phony?  Just asking.



franrcarter
franrcarter

pretty hard to take when my son is gay and one of the best people i know 

WillB2
WillB2

Back in July, Phil said this would be his last year on the show.  He said he was tired of it.  But, for the time being he's possibly going to appear; that is, if he can accept the public service announcements played on the same show.  He may just decide that he's had enough, was going to leave anyway, made his point....and that's all.

Duckworks
Duckworks

I personally support gay rights, including marriage and adoptions. But I think that for gay rights activists to push the religion button is an act of incredible, dangerous stupidity. Politics is playing with matches, but sex and religion are live hand grenades. Up in Ontario, when the government tried to force school boards to set up gay-straight alliances, a coalition of religious groups, including Hindus, Coptic Christians, and Muslims, joined to fight the policy. Think about this for a minute: people who were killing each other in India and Egypt joining hands to fight school clubs. Even turn-the-other-cheek Christianity WILL push back, and hard, when fundamental values are challenged. When push comes to shove, religion always wins. And gay activists are ignoring this at their peril.

MatthewBurrier
MatthewBurrier

Americans love watching bearded freaks make jokes and talk about Jeezus. Yippee!


JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

@mantisdragon91 Let's be fair. He's not picking on Muslims or Chinese more than any other people. His belief is that if anyone has not chosen Jesus as their personal savior, then they are doomed.  You are implying a prejudice that doesn't exist.  His bias is for believing in JC and believing no life ever after for those who do not. It is a bias shared by most other major religions. Don't label as something without acknowledging the truth.


PolishTank
PolishTank

@RJWinUKAre you joking with your "Jew" analogy?  Did Robertson say gays should be rounded up in concentration camps?  Did he talk about stoning homosexuals?  No he didn't.  He said more than once that he loves all gods creatures, sinners or not.  He said, crudely, that he believes homosexuality was unnatural and is a sin.  For you to have the gall compare his opinion about homosexuality to Nazi propaganda and stoning women confirms your own bigotry.


He's a 67 year old Louisiana Christian fundamentalist.  Get off your high horse and accept that their are old cranky people that do walk among us with their outdated ethics.  Like the author said, gays have already won.  In 10 years they'll be marrying just about where ever they want and will walk with society as equals.  Like the author said, no need to be a sore winner.

keithwp99
keithwp99

I guess I don't understand the mixing of race issue?  I attend RC Mass in a predominantly white and latino area.  I don't see many blacks at Mass.  Didnt Obama attend a vastly black church in Chicago?  Is Obama a racist for not attending a racially diverse church?

My friend, Chirst came for  all.  White, black, men, women, slave, jew or gentile.

timerej70
timerej70

@ScottSomervilleYes, there are black people in Phil Robertson's church. Also, he has an adopted grandson of mixed race.

timerej70
timerej70

@ScottSomervilleI watched A&E's "Redneck Christmas" video and YES, there are black people in Mr. Robertson's church. Also, Phil Robertson has an adopted grandson who is of mixed race.

NYyankeeboi
NYyankeeboi

@NonaMary   

The Bible is a collection of essays written by men who recorded what they saw, heard and were told at the time., They were the journalists, the reporters, the bloggers of their time and -- as human beings -- it is not beyond the bounds of reasonable thought to think that each put his spin on things. The Bible is not a book written by God but a book written by those who believed they were reporting the word of God.

Nothing more, nothing less.

cksoperinc
cksoperinc

@NonaMary I notice that you have not responded to those who have replied to your comment.  They have strong arguments, but you don't seem moved to address them.  You are, therefore, acting dishonestly which is exactly how Bible detractors react when they've been called out for their errors.  However, I thank you for bringing up the issue, so that I may know how to address it in the future.  It's a good point, but a baseless one if the purpose is to prove that the Bible is evil or false in some way.

jimmycook112
jimmycook112

@NonaMary  


The sacrifice was his daugher living a life of celibacy. Read the following:


Many have supposed that Jephthah offered his daughter as a human sacrifice, and a literal reading of the text may support that view. But if that is true, some difficult questions are raised. Jephthah was regarded as a great hero and deliverer of Israel, and even his sacrifice of his daughter is treated in a way that suggests the author of Judges viewed it as a commendable act. In Hebrews 11:32–35 Jephthah is used as one of the examples of great faith. Would this case be true if he had engaged in human sacrifice, an act viewed as one of the greatest of abominations in ancient Israel? Why does Jephthah’s daughter “bewail her virginity” (Judges 11:37) rather than mourn the approaching loss of her life? After Jephthah had fulfilled his vow of sacrificing his daughter, the text states that “she knew no man” (v. 39). Bible scholars have suggested an explanation that adequately answers these questions.

“Jephthah was compelled by his vow to dedicate his daughter to Jehovah in a lifelong virginity. … The entreaty of the daughter, that he would grant her two months’ time, in order that she might lament her virginity upon the mountains with her friends, would have been marvellously out of keeping with the account that she was to be put to death as a sacrifice. To mourn one’s virginity does not mean to mourn because one has to die a virgin, but because one has to live and remain a virgin. But even if we were to assume that mourning her virginity was equivalent to mourning on account of her youth. … ‘it would be impossible to understand why this should take place upon the mountains. It would be altogether opposed to human nature, that a child who had so soon to die should make use of a temporary respite to forsake her father altogether. It would no doubt be a reasonable thing that she should ask permission to enjoy life for two months longer before she was put to death; but that she should only think of bewailing her virginity, when a sacrificial death was in prospect, which would rob her father of his only child, would be contrary to all the ordinary feelings of the human heart. Yet, inasmuch as the history lays special emphasis upon her bewailing her virginity, this must have stood in some peculiar relation to the nature of the vow. …’ (P. Cassel, p. 473). And this is confirmed by the expression, to bewail her virginity ‘upon the mountains.’‘If life had been in question, the same tears might have been shed at home. But her lamentations were devoted to her virginity, and such lamentations could not be uttered in the town, and in the presence of men. Modesty required the solitude of the mountains for these. …’ (P. Cassel, p. 476). And so, again, the still further clause in the account of the fulfilment of the vow, ‘and she knew no man,’ is not in harmony with the assumption of a sacrificial death. This clause would add nothing to the description in that case, since it was already known that she was a virgin. The words only gain their proper sense if we connect them with the previous clause, he ‘did with her according to the vow which he had vowed,’ and understand them as describing what the daughter did in fulfilment of the vow. The father fulfilled his vow upon her, and she knew no man; i.e. he fulfilled the vow through the fact that she knew no man, but dedicated her life to the Lord, as a spiritual burnt-offering, in a lifelong chastity. … And the idea of a spiritual sacrifice is supported not only by the words, but also most decisively by the fact that the historian describes the fulfilment of the vow in the words ‘he did to her according to his vow,’ in such a manner as to lead to the conclusion that he regarded the act itself as laudable and good. But a prophetic historian could never have approved of a human sacrifice.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:1:392–93. 

GundamX1911
GundamX1911

@NonaMary  Funny that you use the New Living translation (NLT). New American Standard Bible version, a more accurate word for word translation says  39 At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made; and she had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year. She was dedicated to the Lord as a living sacrifice/perpetual celibacy. She did not mourn her death but her virginity of not being able to marry and have children. Leviticus 18:21 prohibits human sacrifice.

KimberlyMargosein
KimberlyMargosein

@mconradhamiltonThe Closeted Cajun also wears his mask.  He was run out of his town as a teenager due to a sexual scandal with a high school jock, and began failing his way up.  He has played any role his bosses assigned to him, until he embarrasses his bosses too much.

kiefer
kiefer

@mconradhamiltonHe's simply a phony. Or he's a genuine house conservative for hire, if that's really a difference. What they're holding to his head is a check, not a gun.

worksmartWI
worksmartWI

@franrcarter 

Love him and enjoy him as can only be known by a mother.  screw this other stuff you're reading on here.  I will repeat from way earlier in this chain....we need to ACCEPT each others TOLERANCE.  Respecting one another would be a great start.  Your child is gay and I'm so glad he has an informed parent who's hearing the world as it churns.  

mconradhamilton
mconradhamilton

@franrcarter He may be a great dude, not sure what that has to do with anything. Robertson said homosexuality is a sin - which it undeniably is if the Bible is correct.  (Technically it's not being gay, but acting on it sexually which is the Biblical sin).  You can disagree and you may be right.  

Or you may be wrong and your son may still get into heaven anyway since we are all sinners.  Which is something else Robertson said that gets less media attention.  

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@JohnDavidDeatherage@mantisdragon91Let's be fair when we combine this with his statements that black people were better off on the plantation and that you need to marry your women underage it paints a rather interesting picture into the mind of a backwoods bigot.

RichardStewart
RichardStewart

@PolishTank "Shut up and take the backlash while you wait another ten years for your equality," in other words.

No.

aztecian
aztecian

@timerej70@ScottSomervillethe robertson family should do something that goes beyond an apology like setting up scholarships for lgbtq students in louisianan. 

NonaMary
NonaMary

@NYyankeeboi @NonaMary 


Those who wrote what the BIBLE presents were inspired by the LORD. They are the mouthpieces of the LORD. The LORD = GOD. Nothing less. Mankind's task is to FOLLOW ALL of what the BIBLE preaches and says and not pick and choose! Let's shift the focus, not on men lying with men, and women slumbering with women but, instead, why adulterers must be stoned to death because the BIBLE says it (waving BIBLE madly in the air for emphasis). If you waggle the Bible for one thang and not for another thang, you are being selective. Be inclusive! 

NonaMary
NonaMary

@cksoperinc  


Dear All,


The Bible is literally true - THE WORD OF GOD! Inalienable, unchanging, literally true, and not a pick and choose business. If one part of the Bible is declared untrue, then we are headed down a slippery slope. Mr. Robertson needs to hammer away at ALL the Bible's injunctions and not just the ones that he finds (for whatever reasons) particularly alluring. If you, dear reader, or you, Dear Mr. Robertson, don't like this, then take it up with GOD, your MAKER and final judge. For example, unmarried women who have had sex before marriage should be stoned to death. This is Biblical!!!


But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house.  Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.  (Deuteronomy  22:20-21 NAB)


AND here's another message another WORD FROM GOD! which requires the killing of adulterers. Remember, if you don't like it, take it up with GOD!! I am not writing this. GOD wrote it. 


If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death.  (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

@mantisdragon91 @JohnDavidDeatherage   Yes, so bigoted that he is the grandfather of a black child.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You should not be entitled to selective use of the facts.

RichardStewart
RichardStewart

@FredThomas Easy to hide your face and call people names behind the keys of a message board, isn't it?  You're a real big man. 

Any person can make their opinion known, but when their opinion is that gay people are lesser, that we need to stop being so uppity, that my equalty isn't being affected by this kind of talk - they should expect to have their opinion challenged.