The ‘Duck Dynasty’ controversy

December 23, 2013

Alexandra Petri [“In real life, a TV star lays a rotten egg,” op-ed, Dec. 21] was much calmer and more rational and humorous than most critics of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson and his GQ magazine interview have been. Nonetheless, she turned to a common canard and made a blooper while doing so.

First, Ms. Petri repeated the claim that Mr. Robertson “compared homosexuality to bestiality.” Not so. He included homosexuality and bestiality in a list of sins that also included “sleeping around with this woman and that woman, and that woman and those men.” He then quoted the Bible, listing several more sins that preclude inheriting the kingdom of God. After acknowledging his own sins, Mr. Robertson said, “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love them, give ’em the good news about Jesus — whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later.” 

Ms. Petrialso wrote, “You may . . . be perfectly free to express your religious beliefs and opinions . . . without necessarily being allowed on television with them,” by which time she had been carried away sufficiently to have forgotten her first sentence — that this controversy is all about something that appeared in a magazine, not on TV.

Talivaldis Ivars Smits, Hyattsville

Alexandra Petri’s column was on the money — big-bucks TV money. Which, of course, is what this outrage on behalf of Phil Robertson is all about.

So long as the bucks travel to people who share your opinion, it’s a matter of “free speech.” But if they go to those who don’t (for instance, shows that normalize certain sexual behaviors or language), then TV is “corrupting the values” of watchers.   

Right-wing groups have been working the other side of this fence for decades, boycotting sponsors and networks for airing things they find objectionable.   

You can’t have it both ways, y’all.

Sally Kelly, Chevy Chase

Regarding the Dec. 20 front-page article “GOP hopefuls flock to embattled ‘Duck Dynasty’ star”:

The logic of labeling any and all positions against intolerance as “intolerant” escapes me. Surely politicians courting evangelical and conservative Catholic constituencies know that biblical text can be cited to defend any position and that behaviors regarded today by civilized societies as morally repugnant have been defended by biblical teachings throughout history, from the institution of slavery in the United States to apartheid in South Africa to virulent anti-Semitism in Europe.

Jesus Christ spoke out against discrimination that ostracized and marginalized any human being, and he sat with thieves and prostitutes. It is not anti-Christian to affirm that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and equal justice before the law.

Gail C. Weigl, Alexandria

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