The Robertson family fascinated me during the first season of Duck Dynasty. I envied their sense of belonging to their land and to their family, which is so different from my own peripatetic life.
I wasn’t the only one. Duck Dynasty airs on the A&E network and is the highest rated reality TV show, raking in over $400 million. It’s semi-scripted and follows the everyday lives of a family of self-described redneck bible thumpers who became rich by making really accurate duck calls (of all things). Phil is the patriarch of the family and he was born again as a Christian back in the 1970’s. Religion doesn’t play a very visible role on the show though.
There’s an article in the current GQ magazine about the family and Phil does most of the talking. The part that has gotten him into hot water is when the author asks him what the human race has to repent about. Phil replies:
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says.
He also waxed poetic about the good old days of slavery. GLAAD and the NAACP immediately protested to A&E and Phil has been suspended from the show. Predictably, he’s being demonized by the progressive left and martyred by the Christian right.
(There are plenty of people yelling about free speech but…I mean, really?! That’s not the issue here. Phil Robertson has the right to say whatever he wants as a US citizen, just as A&E has a right to enforce certain standards in its programming and from its personalities.)
Phil Robertson is the perfect example of the amber traditional (spiral dynamics blue) stage of consciousness and cultural development. In fact he actually appears to be a very healthy version of it. This stage of development is ethnocentric and socially conservative, qualities the Robertson family certainly exemplifies. They love and support each other no matter what. They have faith in a transcendent God that only asks us to follow a few simple rules.
Phil continued to the interviewer:
“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. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
Phil and other amber traditionalists in the developed world may disapprove of homosexuality and think it’s immoral, but this is great progress over attitudes in parts of the world that are just now entering amber traditionalism, such as parts of Africa and India. In Uganda a law was passed this week criminalizing “aggravated homosexuality” (being caught having homosexual sex repeatedly) and is punishable by life in prison. In India gay sex was re-criminalized after a coalition of Muslim and Christian organizations, among others, asked the Indian Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that had legalized consensual gay sex. People will go to prison for being gay.
And that’s not even as bad as it can get in cultures and subcultures where red warrior development are in force. For a horrifying glimpse of red attitudes toward homosexuals, consider the video going around the internet of two gay men in Nigeria being beaten to death while the whole village watches. (If you’re extra sensitive, don’t watch it). In the short video a crowd is gathered around the two half-naked men on the ground. They are already bleeding and broken when the video begins. By the end of the two and a half minutes their bodies are still and blood is pooling from their heads.
That’s tribal justice. I’m pretty sure that the Robertsons wouldn’t like it any more than you or me.
Now I’m not saying that Phil’s a great guy because at least he’s not beating gay people to death in the street, I mean, God help the gay son or daughter born into that family. But he seems to be a good father and grandfather and the bible-based beliefs, however arbitrary and inconsistently regarded, are actually a civilizing force for his psyche, and by extension, his family’s. Before he found Jesus he was a total hellion, he’ll tell you so himself.
I appreciate living in a postmodern society that wants to protect me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And as integralists we can keep his comments in perspective. In other words, don’t hate the player, hate the game!
by Brett Walker