That a new-age rustic from the backwoods of Louisiana would be against gay marriage is unsurprising. That he would also lack the foresight to know that sharing this opinion might cause some problems with the liberal television channel that carries his reality show is also unsurprising.
Currently, the most surprising thing about this Phil Robertson ‘scandal’ (not the right word at all, but it’s what we’ve got) is that we’ve finally found people vocal in their displeasure with the whole Duck Dynasty…well, dynasty. I’ve long found it odd that a significant number of forward-thinking Americans thought that a useful way to spend Wednesday night was watching semi-manufactured entertainment about people who became famous for duck calls and beards. To me, it fetishizes redneck culture for people who would otherwise deride redneck culture, so I don’t care for it, and that was true before Phil Robertson hid behind his Bible while simultaneously condemning gays (although his ‘a vagina…would be more desirable than a man’s anus’ quip was kind of hilarious).
Now I have a lot of conservative, Good Book-quoting friends who applaud Phil Robertson for speaking out and being honest on what he clearly finds to be an important subject in such a public manner. I also have a lot of liberal friends fed up with hate and intolerance masked as religion and God’s Word, when such a large part of religion is accepting and loving others for who and what they are. Neither side is wholly wrong except in their unyielding belief that they are wholly right.
It doesn’t really matter if Phil Robertson is a bigot or an evangelical. Just because he believes what he says has no hint of maliciousness – and if anything else, I truly believe HE thinks that what he said came from a place of explanation rather than condemnation – has no bearing on how it’s received. If you feel like Phil Robertson’s words give you license to bash gay people, you’ll probably do it. If you feel like his words are another in a long succession of conservative-hatespeak filtered through scripture written thousands of years ago, well, I can see how you arrived at that conclusion.
(Oh, I’m well aware that he also dropped some drivel about how black people had it so good and were never mistreated before they had, you know, rights and shit. Here’s the whole thing if you want to see it for yourself. For purposes of our discussion, I think we can all agree this was stupid and short-sighted. I’ll leave you with this analogy: just because I’ve never watched someone murdered before my very eyes doesn’t mean I’m naïve enough to think it never happened and the news is just making it up. That’s just silliness.)
But if you feel like you have to take up this cause and raise a stink and Change the Way People Think, one way or the other just…don’t. In the spirit of the season, I’m begging you – all of you – to let this die so I don’t have to remember 2013 as The Year Phil Robertson Caused Fights at Every Christmas Party. It’s not worth it, it never has been and instead of raising our voices at loved ones over things that ultimately don’t matter, we should enjoy good food, bad presents and the company of people we otherwise avoid all year.
(Merry Christmas. I still think Duck Dynasty is a sociological joke that no one else is privy to.)