Somewhere out in the Louisiana backwoods, there’s a duck hunter huddled under a misty evergreen waiting for his prey to poke out into his rifle sights. He waits, fueled by the familiar rewards of diligence and discipline. The only sound around him is the gentle babbling of a nearby stream and the ghastly wind blowing between the trees. The only smells are from the dew on the tree bark and the earthy must of the dirt clutched beneath him. Yet he waits on in silence as a bead of sweat drips down from his temple.
Such is the way of the hunter. Such is the way of Phil Robertson.
A man whose loves in life are and always will be God, family, and duck hunting. These are the values he has held true to above all else without compromise or exception. Extraordinarily, his recent fame has done nothing to sway Phil from what he believes in and stands for. Instead, he spoke his mind in a recent interview concerning the topic of homosexuality:
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.
They were words taken from scripture and spoken in alignment with his biblical view of today’s society. He is consumed with living the Nazarene lifestyle; delving out into the wilderness, relying on himself and God alone. He could leave behind all the endorsements, praise, and viewership as quickly as it all found him. These trivial things mean as much to him as the dirt between his boots.
So now the media will devour him. In a manner reminiscent of last year’s Chick-Fil-A controversy, voices from all over have already been sounding off on the issue. A&E has quickly placed him on an ‘indefinite hiatus’ following the publication of the GQ’s January article, as his opinions are seen as harmful and dangerous to the viewing public.
Never mind the fact that he goes on to say in the article, “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists.” It doesn’t matter how he’d treat a homosexual, the sheer fact alone that he views what they’re doing as a sin is enough to write him off as an ignorant, archaic, bible-thumping, misinformed, misguided, and intolerant bigot who deserves the brunt of criticism and punishment. He should be struck down from his position of reach and influence, cast back into obscurity and left alone with his vile and disgusting opinions.
So says the steady stream of his detractors, anyway.
This is the way public opinion works in this country nowadays. If it goes against the all-powerful tides of a current societal view, you will assuredly be drowned out under the voices of scorn and rebuke. Tolerance of unpopular views has become intolerable. What we are left with is a fear of character, a hesitancy to stand behind that which has helped defined the person you are. Speaking out for differing views and challenging the status quo is a dying practice in this society. There is an overwhelming sense of complacency and slumbering that has descended upon hearts and minds, infecting the pool of individual thought and stagnating true social and political progress.
The only foul deed that can be accredited to Phil Robertson is an attempt to put a little bit of God back into the mainstream. Phil isn’t the type of man though to find fulfillment in television ratings or appearing in interview specials. Out there in God’s backyard with the quiet company of the deer, squirrels, birds, and bugs, Phil will find himself much more at home than in the nonsensical world around him.
Try as it might, the world cannot touch Phil Robertson because he answers to an authority none other than the Almighty Himself. I cannot envy the ducks, however, that he’ll get to spend more time hunting.