Culture

Who Are You to Judge Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson?

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In response to the “indefinite hiatus” of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson for his straightforward (if inelegant) comments to GQ expressing his personal belief that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, Democrat Party political pollster Bernard Whitman appeared on Megyn Kelly’s show on Wednesday night. Whitman said, in essence, that Christians no longer have the right to publicly express their views on homosexuality unless they only express agreement with the homosexual lifestyle. Whitman made the following statements:

  1. “He is not entitled to be on TV spouting hate.”

  2. “It’s time that we stop agreeing that religion can be used as a weapon to spew hate and cause people to feel bad about themselves and who they are and who they love.”

  3. “If he wants to go out and have hate speech…if he wants to go out and have hate speech all over America — and hate speech conventions — by God, let him do it, but it shouldn’t have to be in the public square where people have to tune in and see that sort of thing.”

  4. “You can have your private beliefs but they don’t have to be aired on public networks.”

  5. “I think that he can’t hide behind the veil of Christianity or any religion and use that as a weapon to indict people, to condemn people or make them feel ‘less than.’”

  6. “I think it’s a matter of first understanding what the true meaning of spirituality is or Christianity is or Judaism is or Islam is and that is, ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ As Pope Francis recently said about gay people, ‘Who am I to judge?’ Clearly, the Duck Dynasty guy, Robertson, is judging. There’s just no place for that in religion, I think.”

I have a few questions for Mr. Whitman and others who want to silence Phil Robertson and millions of other Americans who agree with his sincerely held and constitutionally protected religious beliefs:

  1. Why are you entitled to be on TV spouting hate toward the views of Robertson?

  2. When are you going to stop using your lifestyle as a weapon to spew hatred toward Christians, causing them to “feel bad about themselves and who they are” and the God they love?

  3. What gives you the right to determine that Robertson’s comments are “hate speech” while your accusations of bigotry are not? And if you shouldn’t “have to tune in and see” the sort of thing that Phil Robertson expressed (note: Robertson expressed his views on homosexuality in a magazine article, not on TV), why should Americans who disagree with your lifestyle have to tune in to Megyn Kelly’s show to see the “sort of thing” that they find offensive?

  4. Why should your beliefs alone be represented and permitted on the public airwaves and in the public square while the beliefs of Robertson are silenced? What makes your beliefs superior to or more correct than his?

  5. Why are you permitted to hide behind the veil of “no matter who they love” and use that as a weapon to condemn people and make them feel ‘less than’?

  6. Who are you to judge? What gives you the right to judge Phil Robertson or any other Christian — let alone define and decree what their personal religious beliefs should be. As a self-proclaimed Jew, I don’t think you really have a lot of jurisdiction over Mr. Robertson’s statements of faith and doctrine.

Do you not see that you are guilty of the very accusations you level against Roberson?

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Mr. Whitman, you (and others who are lambasting Phil Robertson) are certainly bright enough to know that our country is divided over the issue of homosexuality. Many Americans sincerely believe the Bible to be the word of God and believe the Bible when it says that homosexuality is sinful (along with adultery, and lying, and hate). They believe that the most loving thing is to tell the truth about those things and they believe that as Americans, the Constitution protects their right to do so. (Note: Your TV has an “off” button and you can cancel your subscription to GQ.) We are at a tipping point in our culture and a lot more Americans agree with you than they did even ten years ago and I concede that this culture clash is probably leaning your way. Nevertheless, there are still millions of Americans who believe the traditional interpretation of the Bible on this issue — a view that has been the consensus of the Christian church for 2000 years. And the profound differences in opinion will continue — changing the laws will not alter the faith of many of these Americans.

If you believe you are right and Phil Robertson is wrong, then try to persuade those who disagree with you. Bullying and silencing one’s opponents are not American virtues. It is intolerant to ridicule and belittle Christians and their sincerely held religious beliefs and it makes a lie of your battle cry of “love thy neighbor as thyself.” You are guilty of the same “discrimination, hate, persecution, and prejudice” you accuse Robertson of. You and Phil Robertson both enjoy the same First Amendment protection and we should all agree to vigorously protect that right lest we become a totalitarian regime like Iran, where they would do a lot worse than just disagree with your lifestyle. Your double standards and hypocrisy are not only unhelpful, but also absurdly illiberal. Of course, let’s be civil and let’s speak the truth in love. But this issue deserves no less than a substantive, honest debate. You owe it to your cause to encourage the freedom to have this important conversation in America.