I will admit that I have watched Duck Dynasty on occasion, I’ve even heard Jase Robertson speak in person. The show can be somewhat humorous, just to watch the stupidity of rednecks, but it’s a lie that purports to be real. It only takes a few shows to just see how fake this family is. I have friends who live in Louisiana, and just like in Alabama where this is not always the case, there is a vast amount of ignorance in the state. My friends are all academics, with fairly liberal views, but no matter where you go in America today, ignorance abounds. Phil Robertson is just the latest example of this ignorance, but I have a particular bone to pick with him. He is giving my religion a bad name.
You see, Phil is a minister with the churches of Christ and should know better than to misquote the Bible. By the way, I had already been peeved with the Robertson family for putting on a Christmas pageant at their church. No good member of the church of Christ is going to celebrate Christmas within the church because the birth of Christ is something that we believe should be celebrated year round; however, for sheer monetary gain, the Robertson family flaunted a Christmas Pageant at their church on their “Duck Dynasty: Robertson Family Christmas.” The episode itself was so far removed from what Christmas should be about that it sickened me. The church of Christ does not frown upon its members for celebrating Christmas, but we don’t celebrate the holiday as an official church activity. My own church had a Christmas party but it was hosted by one of our members who invited us all to her house for dinner, but was not sponsored by the church.
The thing is, in the church of Christ we do not add to or take away from the New Testament. Yet, Phil did just that in his comments to GQ Magazine. In his shocking interview with GQ’s Drew Magary, Phil Robertson — the 67-year-old patriarch of the Duck Commander kingdom that earned his Louisiana family a fortune and a hit A&E series — opened up about “modern immorality” and the gay community. In the interview, he stated:
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.
Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. 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. 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.
The emphasized part of the above quote is a misquoted and mistranslated version of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. The King James Version (which is one of the most accurate English translations) reads:
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (malokois), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai)
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The English Standard Version, which is probably the mistranslation that Phil was quoting from, reads:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Phil takes an incorrect view of the Bible with this passage. In the King James Version, I have put in parentheses the two original words that have caused the most controversy. There have been 44 different interpretations in English of the word malokois. Most common through history have been weaklings, effeminates, or homosexual. I believe all of these are incorrect interpretations of the word. Greek scholars say that in first century the Greek word malaokois probably meant “effeminate call boys.” The New Revised Standard Version says “male prostitutes.” Some biblical scholars have argued that the term is used for the word catamite, which is a fairly consistent interpretation by most Biblical scholars. A catamite was a young hairless boy used for sexual pleasure by older men. This derives from the more Ancient Greek practice of pederasty (remember that Corinth is in the Greek Peloponnesus). The practice that Paul is condemning is and always has been that of pedophilia, not homosexuality.
As for arsenokoitai, Greek scholars don’t know exactly what it means — and the fact that we don’t know is a big part of this tragic debate. Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of “the effeminate call boys.” We might call them “dirty old men.” Others translate the word as “sodomites,” but never explain what that means. In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.
The fact is, there is no clear evidence that homosexual orientation or that the love between two men or two women is a sin. The Bible is completely silent on the issue of homosexual orientation. And no wonder. Homosexual orientation wasn’t even known as a term until the 19th century.
Phil Robertson claims that he studies his Bible and carries it with him always, yet he can’t even correctly quote the Bible. He continues to use a bad translation of the Bible in order to spew his vile comments to the world. The biggest problem with Phill Robertson is that he is a hypocrite. Robertson was once a substance abuser, but in the 1970s he turned his life over to Jesus, according to the Christian publication, The Southeast Outlook. He has since been a devout Christian and strives to be a scholar of the Bible. Like most people who come to Christianity later in life, Phil has become over zealous in his beliefs in order to atone for past sins. Instead of being a loving Christian man, who shows his generosity, he uses his fame and his Bible to browbeat his brand of Christianity onto those who disagree with him.
A representative from A&E released the following statement from Phil Roberston in response to the controversy:
I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.
To be fair, I completely agree with the last three sentences of Phil’s statement; however, how much of it is true considering the statements he made in GQ and statements he’s made in past sermons and speeches. This isn’t the first time that Phil has spoken about against homosexuality, but this was the most public of his statements.
GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said it best when he released the following statement:
Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans –- and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.
In the backlash to Phil’s statements, A&E suspended Phil Robertson “indefinitely” from the reality series due to his comments about the LGBT community. How much will A&E stand by their suspension, especially with the rest of the Robertson clan standing firmly behind their patriarch? There is just too much money at stake for both A&E and the Robertsons. “Duck Dynasty” is on hiatus until Jan. 15, and a network spokesman said Thursday that nine of next season’s 10 episodes have already been filmed. That means Robertson likely isn’t needed in front of the camera before next March, by which time this whole crisis may have blown over. And blow over it will, eventually, says veteran Hollywood crisis publicist Howard Bragman, who added that Robertson will likely return to the show as well, perhaps after making a heartfelt apology.
December 20th, 2013 at 8:24 am
Wow. This is brilliant … simply brilliant. I love the way you write, and it reads as if written by a scholar 😉 Actually, I studied Greek and took Latin in school (but only because it was required of us. My best Greek teacher once translated malokois as something akin to conscientious objectors in fighting Spartans or others. He read us a passage where the word was more clearly referring to men who were unwilling to fight for their city … and were thus effeminate. I don’t know if that’s true … but it’s always made sense to me.
In any case … total homerun, my friend. I love it !
December 20th, 2013 at 8:52 am
Thank you, Luke. I am not a Greek scholar, but I am a researcher at heart. I’ve researched these words, because it is one of Christian beliefs that we understand the true meaning of words. I do like your teachers definition of malokois. I am going to venture an educated guess that because of the differences in ancient Greek city-states that the word probably had different meanings according to if they were influenced more by Spartan or Athenian traditions.
December 20th, 2013 at 9:03 am
That sounds eminently sensible, Prof … and, trust me, I’m no Greek scholar. I still know the alphabet and thus can figure out words … and just barely extend from there to any meaning. My teacher’s definition does sound rather more Spartan to me … but what do I know? The Spartans were big on gay sex as I recall … it imparted power, potent potential and, well, fun I suppose.
December 20th, 2013 at 12:37 pm
Thankfully, I stopped looking at Facebook and logged on to read your educated response to blatant ignorance. The duck debacle is exhausting! I was raised in a very small town near the heart of Appalachia so I’m all too familiar with the “duck-people and their brethren”. Not only did you brighten my day, I’m encouraged that others will read your words and actually learn something good from this mess. Thanks for sharing!
December 20th, 2013 at 12:47 pm
Thank you so much for your very encouraging comments.
December 21st, 2013 at 6:59 pm
Reblogged this on Queer Landia and commented:
Some thoughts on the recent quacking over a “reality” television show.
December 22nd, 2013 at 4:37 am
John Boswell spoke much of the translation issues referred to above, but I think that focusing on that puts undue weight on the issue. What underlies these matters is that freedom of religion is an individual choice. It’s certainly not the freedom to oblige anyone else to live by the tenets of one’s chosen faith. Muslims and Jews are free not to eat pork, but banning the sale of bacon would cross the line and infringe on the freedom of choice of others. We can debate the meaning of arsenokotai until the end of time, but the real issue is that we are free to dismiss all things biblical entirely should we choose to do so. Those inclined to religion need to get their heads around that concept- and more so get over the fact that their freedom to choose a faith doesn’t give them a free pass to persecute others based on their choice.
December 22nd, 2013 at 7:38 am
I agree with what you are saying here. It is a freedom a choice when it comes to religion. I focused on those words because it is a particular tenet of church of Christ philosophy. Phil and I both are members of the church of Christ, and the the understanding of the true meanings of words in the Bible is one of our beliefs. That is the reason for focusing on the meaning of these words. However, I agree 100 percent that it should not be an issue at all. Though Phil has a right to say what he wishes, I don’t believe there was any need for him to be so derogatory and crass.