I am so tired of many Christian-American’s hiding their ignorance, racism, hate and intolerance behind their religious beliefs and freedom of speech. I have read and seen many debates indicating that we should NOT infringe on people’s right to say what they want. You can think whatever you want to think but when you spew hate in a public forum you should reap what you sow.
There is much controversy about a comment that Phil Robertson (of Duck Dynasty fame) made in reference to homosexuals. Here is his quote from an interview with GQ:
GQ – What, in your mind, is sinful?
Phil Robertson – “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
First, let me say this. If he made a statement like this about a minority group like people of colour – the discussion would end. Why? Because as we have learned from the past – many celebrities who have been caught making racist comments destroy their careers because of their hateful words, i.e., Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and most recently, Paula Deen.
So why am I not a defender of ‘freedom of speech’? Well – here are some reasons: Adolf Hitler (Germany), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Kim Jong-Il (North Korea), Idi Amin Dada (Uganda), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Nicholas II (Russia), Josef Stalin (Russia), Mao Zedong (China), Bashar al-Assad (Syria). These ‘leaders’ were responsible for mass genocide for varying reasons such as political affiliation, dissident, race, gender and religious beliefs. These dictators made people believe what they thought was right and justified their beliefs behind ‘hate speech’. Today – we see world leaders pass laws that infringe on the rights of certain groups – The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is standing behind his government imposing a nationwide law banning distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. Under this statute, it is effectively illegal to hold any gay pride events, speak in defense of gay rights, or say that gay relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships. What has happened in Russia since? Neo-nazi groups are preying on young men and luring them to ‘secret locations’ and then video taping them being tortured and beaten. Uganda’s government wanted to pass a bill entitled “Kill the Gays” (which had much support from Conservative groups in America) – I don’t think I need to elaborate regarding what this bill entails….
When individuals make such offensive, racist and ignorant remarks – they directly (or indirectly) incite violence on those they are speaking of. Not so long ago in America – people of colour could not attend the same schools as white people and were treated like second class citizens. People of colour and those who supported civil rights, were often threatened with violence and many were even killed for wanting equal rights. Today, people are making statements about homosexuals and are citing the bible as the reason why they can make their hateful and ignorant statements. To those people, I ask “What makes what you believe to be the truth?” I have never heard any argument that will satisfy or explain any story written in the bible. Is my belief any more outrageous than those who believe in religious doctrine? The difference between what I believe and what many of those who believe in religious doctrine is that I don’t incite hate towards others in my beliefs. I don’t condemn a group of people because of the colour of their skin, their gender, their right to believe in religion or because they were born heterosexual.
When Phil Robertson made his comments – he may have just as well handed the torches to those religious fanatics who believe it is okay to beat or kill someone because they are gay. Phil Robertson should sit with the families that lost their sons or daughters to bullies who felt that same way. Would he blatantly tell these families that their kids are in hell because they were born gay? What would he say to the parents of Matthew Sheppard, Tyler Clementi, Brandon McInerney, Philip Parker and the countless kids who are no longer with us because they were bullied or killed? It is irresponsible to hide your ignorance behind religion. I know many religious people who believe otherwise – they come from a religious belief system that is hopeful, inclusive, nurturing and most of all, loving.
So many Christian Conservatives are offended by those who are calling for the cancellation of the A&E show – Duck Dynasty. Sarah Palin said the following on Facebook, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hat in’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.” Many Christian Conservatives say that it is the liberals who are infringing on their religious beliefs but what they don’t see is that many of their beliefs are inciting hate against others.
I don’t watch Duck Dynasty but I know of it now and I’m glad. If this was a publicity stunt – then it worked, people are talking about it. But more importantly – people know. If you want to support ignorance and hate – you will stand behind Phil Robertson but not every one of us prescribes to the same religious beliefs as those who stand behind Phil Robertson. I think more people are inclined to be kind, compassionate, loving and supportive. I am no God – I can’t make statements based on a book that has no factual evidence. What I can say is that I am willing to give everyone a chance – even Phil Robertson.
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!