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CARLTON FLETCHER: Phil Robertson wrongly held up as Christian ideal

OPINION: TV reality star an odd choice for martyrdom

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

I don’t believe you, you had the whole damned thing all wrong. He’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

Jethro Tull

Isn’t it just a tad bit ironic that, here on the day we’ve chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the person who is being held up as the Christian ideal by a large portion of the population is Phil Robertson?

Phil Robertson? This is an example of 21st-century Christianity? This is a joke, right?

Now, I don’t doubt that Robertson, one of the actors on A&E’s highly-rated “reality” show “Duck Dynasty,” is indeed a glowing example for the “Christians” who are quick to condemn anyone whose religious beliefs run counter to their own, even other Christian denominations. In fact, I’m sure the folks at Westboro Baptist Church out in Kansas, who celebrate at the funerals of soldiers killed in battle and whose infamous motto is “God Hates Fags,” would welcome brother Robertson into the fold with open arms.

But, perhaps other than his righteous beard, it’s hard to believe Jesus’ true followers consider Robertson’s actions very Christ-like.

The hoopla over Robertson’s comments in a GQ magazine interview, comments that got him suspended from “Duck Dynasty,” stems from his condemnation of gays through graphic descriptions of gay and straight sexual acts. “Christians,” including some well-known and highly-paid huckst … err, preachers … who ramp up those all-important donations by insinuating themselves into the middle of a controversy, have proclaimed — loudly — that Robertson’s comments were based on biblical teachings.

Their reference points are Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which condemn homosexuality. Of course, the Bible’s Old Testament also demands that its believers not plant fields with two kinds of seeds, not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material (I knew polyester blends were evil), slaughter Passover lambs yearly, refrain from planting their farmland every seventh year, refuse to allow church leaders to divorce and remarry, and expect death if they gossip, disobey their parents, or show too much spite or pride. Funny, but you don’t hear folks who tend to pick and choose which admonitions they want to follow condemning those practices.

I certainly lack the knowledge of Bible scholars who can quote verse after verse of the Good Book on command, and I’ve been told more than a few times that it’s Satan that controls my computer keyboard. But what I’ve been able to glean from my Southern Baptist upbringing is that the man on whom the Christian religion is based is a man who loved everyone, regardless of their race, their actions or any other identifier that we seem to put such stock in.

I’ve always believed the old paraphrased admonition to “hate the sin, love the sinner” is a pretty good guide. That’s why it’s so hard to take seriously these modern “Christian” groups that openly spew vile toward not just those of different religious and racial groups, but anyone who offers an opinion different from their own. It’s like, dudes, you without sin jump on in there and throw those rocks.

The overstuffed, highly-paid “evangelists” are telling us — along with requests for more contributions toward their righteous cause — that Phil Robertson is a “victim” of the liberal media and is a true man of God. No doubt, he’s a man of the same “god” worshiped by the people of Westboro Baptist Church.

Should Robertson have been fired by A&E? Of course not. He’s just a silly actor who happened to make sexually- and racially-insensitive comments common to a larger percentage of the population that grew up where he did than most folks would like to admit.

Should all the rights groups be up in arms over what Robertson said? How silly. Do these people, who obviously have little to do this Christmas season, actually think someone who makes his living as the star of a fake-reality TV show is going to say anything that’s going to impact anyone’s thinking? Have any of you ever watched “Duck Dynasty?”

Robertson, sadly, has become another cautionary tale, a regular guy taken out of his element and convinced that people actually care about his opinion on things that really matter. (Question no one’s asking: Why in the world would GQ magazine be interested in interviewing Phil Robertson in the first place, other than to give its self-important readership someone else to laugh at? I’m sure much of this “controversy” was created by the magazine’s PR staff to reach out to a population with an ever-shrinking attention span.)

I happen to think Phil Robertson surpassed his 15 minutes of fame long ago, but, hey, more power to the guy. My suggestion for him during this A&E hiatus: If you’re looking for commiseration, give our girl Paula Deen a call.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.