While some might not agree with Phil Robertson’s views on homosexuality, it should be hardly a surprise to A&E. Social conservatism and religion are the show’s bread and butter. And for the network to “indefinitely suspend” Robertson out of some sort of profound discovery of his views on this subject, is disingenuous in the extreme. He admits he’s a “Bible-thumper.”
Additionally, saying the homosexuality is a sin rests with religious teaching; it’s not hateful. There’s a difference. Although, if anything, this whole fiasco speaks volumes about gay bigotry. Atlantic writer Brandon Ambrosino, who is also gay, wrote in Time on December 19 that:
For the record, I’m undecided on whether or not I think Phil actually is homophobic, although I certainly think his statement was offensive, and not only to the LGBT community. But I also think that if I were to spend a day calling ducks with Phil, I’d probably end up liking him — even in spite of his position on gay men. It’s quite possible to throw one’s political support behind traditional, heterosexual marriage, and yet not be bigoted.
Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them? One of the biggest pop-culture icons of today just took center stage to “educate” us about sexuality. I see this as an opportunity to further the discussion, to challenge his limited understanding of human desire, to engage with him and his rather sizable audience — most of whom, by the way, probably share his views — and to rise above the endless sea of tweet-hate to help move our LGBT conversations to where they need to go.
G.K. Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right — and he usually is — then I wonder if the Duck Dynasty fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil’s.