On second thought, why are only homosexuals and friends taking offense to Phil Robertson, duck hunter and born again Christian's comments? It seems to me he pretty much indicts us all if we're being honest with ourselves. See if you can spot yourself in what he said. I think I'm in more than one category:
"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."
Ignoring the question of whose left after that all-encompassing description, the masses are now debating the rightness or wrongness of his beliefs, his expression of those beliefs, A&E's decision to take him off the air for a while, and who's more hypocritical, conservatives or progressives.
But more to my point and the most titillating question being asked is, is what he said spreading ignorance under the pretext of freedom of expression? (As though this is the first instance on record.)
But before you make up your mind, I'll provide some background that might be useful in your monumental decision, which no one but you will know or care about and will be forgotten in the next news cycle.
A reminder from one of my past columns, we humans live in model dependent realities of our own. Over 70 percent of Americans live in a model of reality called Christianity. Of those, a good portion, probably over 30 percent, most of whom live in the South, adhere to the most conservative teachings in that model. Those teachings hold that homosexuality is a sin against God and defend this belief with quotes from the Bible.
So for you to take offense to Mr. Robertson's beliefs, you should also consider several elements in his model and determine if you think they are ignorant. But remember, there is no model-independent point of view. You live in yours and that will influence your observation of his.
Those key components of Mr. Robertson's Christian model are: The existence of a supernatural entity called God, Jesus as that God incarnate, Pauline Christianity as the revealed truth, the Bible as an inerrant moral authority, and someone will inherit the earth someday. (that last one seems like a punishment to me)
But none the less, whether you consider these teachings ignorant or not, what's the big surprise when a born again Christian honestly and openly admits to his beliefs as taught in his religion and held to be true in his model of reality?
To these particular Christians, homosexuality will never be accepted as a moral human behavior. They will die and some of their beliefs will live on in a smaller percentage of their descendants as religion continues to lose its appeal to the masses.
So as in all things human, nothing is permanent; not even model dependent realties. Neither this man's beliefs, nor his appeal as an entertainer, nor our outrage at those who disagree with whatever position we take on this issue.
The concept of model dependent realities is described in Steven Hawking's book, The Grand Design. He points out that models are equally valid if they function effectively. Of course some function more effectively than others and that has a lot to do with situational influences.
Keep in mind that large groups of people share different models of reality in America and these upheavals are indicators of how the values in these models differ. For more on this point read the book, American Nations: A history of the eleven rival regional cultures of North America, by Colin Woodard. Mr. Woodard describes the eleven distinct nations of people who make up American society.
One of those regional cultures, or distinct nations, is the Deep South, from whence Mr. Robertson hails. The reality model there is best described by Chuck Thompson, in his book, Better Off Without "em, A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, when he writes, "of all the things that divide the South from the rest of the country, the first one has got to be fervent Christianity, says Dr. Michael Hill, president of the League of the South."
"The South is the only society in Christendom where the evangelical family of Christians is dominant"making the South the religious region that it is and marking off the South from the patterns, practices and perspectives prevalent in other parts of America."