Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


January 2, 2014

Lion and the Lamb: Duck on the griddle

CROSSVILLE — Duck Dynasty had a winning combination in its A&E American reality television series—a show about a family that our nation had come to love. Its fourth season premiere drew 11.8 million viewers making it the most watched nonfiction cable series in history.

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of this remarkable family, grew up in the northeastern corner of Louisiana, and in 1972 founded a family-operated business, Duck Commander, which makes products for duck hunters, especially wooden duck calls. Robertson is a Bible-thumping Christian and a member of the White's Ferry Church of Christ. This past October his family produced a Christmas album titled "Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas."

This past December, however, his world suddenly became more turbulent. He had been interviewed by Drew Magary for an article, "What the Duck?", for the January 2014 issue of GQ magazine, and Magary had asked him "What, in your mind, is sinful?" That's when the terrain became a lot more perilous for him.

Robertson began by saying, "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those women and those men." He went on to talk about the degrading passions and shameless acts mentioned in the first chapter of Romans, a catalog of disturbing behavior.

Little did he know, however, that nowhere does the Bible say anything about homosexuality as a sexual orientation which we now know is part of the natural makeup of a person from birth. Biblical references are primarily to certain kinds of homosexual acts, usually related to a foreign religion or practice. We have experienced the same kind of challenge in our own educational history. It wasn't so many years ago that left-handed school children were told that it was unnatural to be left-handed and were forced to write with their right hand, in many cases ending up with poor penmanship for the rest of their lives.

On Dec. 18 the blowback started. A&E announced that it was suspending Robertson from the show indefinitely for the remarks he had made. Family members said that the show could not go on without him. Conservative politicians such as Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz joined the fray, claiming that it was a matter of free speech. A&E gave in and rescinded its decision.

Even more disturbing than Robertson's homophobic remarks, however, were his racial comments: "I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmer. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people'—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."

Words from James Baldwin's essay "A Fly in Buttermilk" speak directly to Richardson's situation. "Segregation has worked brilliantly in the South and in fact, in the nation to this extent: It has allowed white people with scarcely any pangs of conscience whatever, to create, in every generation only the Negro they wished to see."

One of the lessons of this experience, as Salon writer Brittney Cooper points out, is that individual prejudices, and the amelioration of them, are bound up with the structures that support them.

Phil Robertson has been on the griddle for some time now. But our whole nation has also been there along with him.

Text Only
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice