I don’t even consider this a rant, though I suppose I’m putting it under that category for lack of a better place to put it. So this week, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen the varying degrees of rage regarding the Duck Dynasty Dudes. The patriarch said some anti-queer folk stuff, and then went on to say some fairly racially insensitive stuff, and everyone’s either falling into the camp of RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH or WOW, THAT GUY’S A DINK.
If you’re a fan of the show? You’re probably in the former group. If you’re not? The latter.
I’ve talked before about freedom of speech and what censorship is and isn’t. Fact: Phil Robertson didn’t get censored. Nor is he being persecuted for his religious views outside of the court of public opinion, which is apparently not as keen with the whole “homosexuals and pedophiles being in the same category” thing as Phil. Phil Robertson is — much like yours truly — on contract with a business. That business has rules, just like any other, and while Phil is bankrolled by this company, he has to follow those rules. When he doesn’t tow the business line, he gets suspended. It’s just like any other job, really. So, let’s say you/us/me walk into the usual 9 – 5 and start spouting off stuff that’s going to be construed as anti-queer, religious slant or not. What’s your HR department going to do? Shake your hand, thank you for introducing them to Jesus, and pat you on the back? Or are you going to get a pretty serious reprimand for not following The Rules?
Why is everyone so baffled that this guy has consequences for doing essentially that? Privilege doesn’t always buy you out of foot-in-mouth-disease, guys. Just most of the time. He’s on a company bankroll. No, he doesn’t need the money, but he agreed to take it all the same and while he’s taking that money, he has to follow THEIR rules. He didn’t. Slap on the wrist. Would happen to any of us working grunts if we pulled this at our day jobs. But because people find him entertaining, he’s somehow above this? Why? Because he’s funny? Hell – if we were all excused because we were funny, I’d get away with A WHOLE LOT OF STUFF .
The point stands: on a business level, he screwed up. He’s taking money from a corporation that has a set of core values. He chose to fly in the face of those values, now he gets sent to his room awhile. Honestly, my guess is they’ll issue some public apology and get the show back on the air sooner than later, so don’t fret Duck Dynasty fans. It’ll blow over. It always does.
I have a few other thoughts about this whole thing, but they’re scattered as post-surgery and painkillers, but bear with me, okay?
- “Religious freedom” should not ever make it OKAY to be a bigot. Until we have a true separation of church and state (which might not ever be possible), we are assuming that some book written 3000 years ago (and rewritten multiple times) by a bunch of guys we’ve never met or talked to should dictate social policy. Meaning, we are taking this book, assigning an importance we CANNOT FACTUALLY PROVE, and allowing it to mold the social and legal rights of those who have non-cis lifestyles. We cannot just let bigotry pass as religious freedom and be done with it, simple as that. Religion dictates legislature. When it doesn’t? Feel free to cast religious freedom at me as something we can universally accept and promptly shrug off.
- The south has a real and actual problem with hate crimes and hateful discrimination against queer folk. This is in no part due to religion. No person should be fearful of their communities because of hivemind. Again, religious freedom is fine AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T CREATE A PARADIGM OF FEAR. Right now, that’s not the case. It’s problematic. Check out Mississippi I Am, the documentary by Lance Bass.
- You can believe whatever you want whenever you want. You can say whatever you want whenever you want. That IS your constitutional right. But I – and people like me – do not have to like it. Yes, you have the right to be a bigot and dress it up with scripture. I have the right to call bullshit every time. I probably will.
- I do not understand how we can throw SO MANY things away from the bible (stoning daughters, eating pork, divorce being penalized by death) and yet miraculously always choose THIS facet of hate as something we continue to embrace? So what arbitrary line is it that determines what parts of faith we modernize? Some dude named Phil decided that day that we’ll do A, but not do B, and screw over those queers in C?
- Most of the Christians I know are loving, wonderful people who are quite open to queer relationships. NALT exists to help these Christians further their message of love. Praise NALT. Praise Christians who fight to be heard above the people who compare my queer friends and family members to those who lie with beasts and children.
I think that’s all I can manage mosty because my percocet is wearing off and Lulu’s starting to look like a porkchop.