The A&E cable network recently suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for his ignorant tirade on the alleged sinfulness of homosexuality:
It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical. . . . 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.
Everyone knows the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin. The Old Testament book of Leviticus calls homosexuality an “abomination” and says it should be punishable by death. Likewise, the New Testament books of Romans, I Corinthians, and I Timothy all condemn homosexuality.
Everyone also knows that the Bible—written in a time when crucifixion, slavery, and other acts of barbarism were common—contains other horrific moral advice. These are the same scriptures that (among other things) endorse the slaughter of women and children in warfare, say “witches” should be killed, and command that slaves willfully subject themselves to their masters.
That A&E has a right to work with whomever they choose is clear to anyone who understands rights. (Unfortunately, Ted Cruz and many conservatives are not in this category.)
What is perhaps more interesting than the confusion about rights on this matter is the fact that, while Robertson is being criticized for spouting biblical nonsense, other Americans spout similar biblical nonsense on a regular basis and are not criticized for it. Why not?
Whether people profess belief in miracles and demons, or claim that sacrificing one’s values is good because Jesus said to or did so, or profess other nonsense based on the “authority” of ancient texts, if we value reason and life-based morality we must identify all such claims as absurd.
Let’s not hold Robertson to one standard and everyone else who spouts comparable nonsense to another standard. Whether the issue is homosexuality, self-sacrifice, the “evils” of money, or whatever, let our standard be not the “authority” of ancient texts or preachers who revere them, but the demonstrable requirements of human life on earth.
Creative Commons Image: John Kret