'Duck' Dilemma: Phil Robertson's Remarks Point To A Bigger Issue

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Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson
It's time to address religious fundamentalism as a major source of intolerance in a changing world.

Let's address the larger issue: If our culture is to advance, we may need to more openly question the ancient Middle-Eastern documents on which we still base it. There are certainly other prohibitions and rules mentioned in scripture that have been abandoned by the religious mainstream over time (Got a tattoo? Leviticus 19:28 reads, "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you."), and it seems like homosexuality is headed that way, too. It's just a rocky road to get there, made all the more rocky by this collective amnesia that refuses to properly acknowledge from where the thinking is coming.

When Robertson seems so able to  conflate intolerance for gays with universal love for all mankind, all he's doing is repeating the message of his faith. I think some of the shock that arises when statements like his come to light may come from people who haven't cracked open a Bible in a while, and maybe aren't even all that familiar with what their own religion teaches at its core. There are plent of people who do read and follow scripture who are quite familiar with these teachings, and who echo Robertson's opinions as a matter of course.

 

Granted, it's easy to lash out against one person or a group of people rather than take on a major world religion. But I'm not calling for the rejection of all organized religion—I happen to be a practicing Catholic who struggles with these condundrums on a regular basis. All I'm calling for is open discussion. It's time to address religious fundamentalism as a major source of intolerance in a changing world. It's a tough nut to crack, no question about it—but scripture is already so full of contradiction and outmoded beliefs that questioning its absolute infallibility is not such a radical idea.

The intolerance Robertson expressed in GQ interview is pretty run-of-the-mill Christian thinking. Rather than giving more press to Duck Dynasty, let's talk about that.