When did we arrive at the point in our national discourse where it is no longer sufficient to disagree with someone who holds a contrary opinion but necessary to destroy him utterly?
Take the case of Phil Robertson, the head of a rural Louisiana clan that went from rags to riches on the strength of their business manufacturing duck calls. The lives of the Robertsons are documented in the hit reality show “Duck Dynasty,” produced by the A&E cable network.
The show’s good-natured, generational humor has made it immensely popular. The latest season premiere was seen by 11.8 million viewers, making it the most watched nonfiction cable telecast in history.
Part of the program’s appeal comes from the family’s heartland values. Each show ends with the clan gathered around the dinner table in prayer.
Few shows illustrate the divide between the nation’s coastal elites and the residents of “fly-over country” so clearly. And those differences were laid bare in a recent interview with GQ magazine in which Robertson was asked his views on homosexuality.
Robertson is a self-professed Christian who turned to religion after a wild youth. His answer was steeped in his fundamentalist faith.
Robertson wondered why a man would prefer a sexual partnership with another man over one with a woman.
“She’s got more to offer,” he told the magazine. “I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
Robertson added that sinful behavior is becoming the norm and that society needs to return to basic values.
“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,” Robertson told GQ. “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.”