Today, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson used a spurious quote often attributed to James Madison to explain his support for Ted Cruz. Watch (see especially the segment starting at 1:30 into the clip)
There is no such Madison quote about America being based on self-governance according to the 10 commandments. Even Ted Cruz’s historian, David Barton, now labels that quote “unconfirmed.” By all accounts, the quote cannot be found in any of Madison’s writings or can’t be traced to any primary source.
Someone should tell Phil Robertson that several of the quotes Barton used in his first book cannot be found in primary sources.
Phil Robertson is getting all manner of scrutiny these days. Given his high profile and recent controversy over his remarks to GQ, it is understandable that his prior speeches will be examined. In the one below, Robertson appears to advise marriage for young teens. I say appears because I don’t have the entire video. He did however marry his wife when she was 16 and added that one should get parental permission.
Various bloggers (e.g. Rawstory where I saw it first) have examined Robertson’s dating advice which is just silly if he really means it. I want to call attention to use of a quote falsely attributed to George Washington. At 1:10 into the clip, Robertson says:
The reason you Georgia boys can deer hunt, duck hunt, squirrel hunt, hog hunt, (holding up his Bible) that’s the reason you can do it. What I’m holding in my hand right there. That’d be a Bible. You said, now let me get this right. If it were not for this, you would not hunt here. No sir. Here’s a quote, Georgia. ‘It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.’ George Washington, your first president. You know what they said? Name the capital of our country after him!
This quote has been misused frequently over the years and can be traced back at least David Barton’s 1992 book Myth of Separation. Barton took heat over use of such quotes and issued a list of what he called unconfirmed quotes. Nonetheless, those who get their history from Barton, and perhaps Phil Robertson is one of those folks, still use the spurious quotes to bolster their Christian nation view of the Constitution, in this case the Second Amendment. Mount Vernon addresses this particular quote here and even Barton now acknowledges that there is no indication Washington ever said it.
This is another illustration of why getting history right matters. Mr. Robertson has been misinformed by some religious leader who claimed expertise in history. He probably trusted the source because of common religion. As I said in a prior post, evangelicals claim to have a message of love and reconciliation and yet they often mix it up with lots of other messages, based on faulty information, that detract from the core.
Sounds like that could be the result of talks with A&E after the network put Phil Robertson on hiatus. The Robertson family issued the following statement tonight via their Duck Commander website:
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.
I wondered what the rest of the clan would do. I suspect they will hold out for A&E to allow Phil to return to the show. If not, this may be the last season.
Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson On Hiatus Over Sexual Orientation Remarks
I do like Duck Dynasty. Most episodes are hilarious. Even though we know they’re acting, it is fun to pretend that all the crazy shenanigans are spontaneous and good ol’ boy fun. And the image of a tight-knit evangelical family praying on air is appealing even while they demand more money for their appearances.
The DD patriarch Phil Robertson is pretty blunt most of the time and he talks about sex on air nearly in the same breath as he thanks God for another good day on planet earth. His bluntness has gotten him into a scrape with the Hollywood types over remarks he made in an interview with GQ.
In it, he waxes crude on the advantages and disadvantages of male and female erogenous zones, happy blacks in pre-Civil rights Louisiana, and his ghostwritten book he has never read (guess that makes him a Christian celebrity). Probably what got him placed “on hiatus” were his remarks that appeared to equate homosexuality with bestiality and terrorism. As I read it, he sounded like a lot of evangelicals, which is, of course, a problem we evangelicals have not solved.
Robertson went on to say that he didn’t advocate judging people (even as he did it). In the minds of many evangelicals, especially among the older set, being gay is considered to be a choice. A man preferring males to females is just a sinful choice which is like preferring shrimp to ducks, beardless to beards or terrorism to patriotism. However, we’re all sinners, the thinking goes, and so I can say whatever I feel about your choice as long as I criticize my pre-Jesus choices too.
While that thinking seemed reasonable at one time, it does not come across as a winsome witness in the present day. Whether fair or not, I think Christians should spend some time to learn how non-Christians think about these matters. We should maintain moral foundations for ourselves (hard enough to do), but we cannot insist that non-Christians agree with us or even accept outdated beliefs about the nature of sexual orientation. Like it or not, being gay or straight is not a matter of choosing between competing body parts. Instead of leading with what he doesn’t understand, perhaps Robertson would have been better off to lead with what he does understand:
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job,” he added. “We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus…
Good place to stop right there.
What do you think about the matter? Keep it respectful and clean and discuss in the comments section.