By Randa Wagner
December 24, 2013
I was reading an article online the other day about “Duck Dynasty” dad Phil Robertson being suspended indefinitely by the A&E Network following his comments on homosexuality during an interview with GQ magazine.
Indeed, Roberston made some very candid and graphic comments about his preference for heterosexual sex over homosexual sex. He was forthright about what he believed was natural and unnatural between men and women (and animals) and cited Bible scripture to support it. Thirty years ago, the network would have stood behind him, and the country would have nodded in agreement.
My, how times have changed. CNN reported the gay and lesbian rights group GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) was quick to criticize Robertson for his comments and called on A&E to take action – and they did.
The A & E Network announced Dec. 18 that Robertson has been suspended indefinitely ‘following his recent comments on homosexuality.’
“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty’,” the network said in a statement. “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
GLAAD representative Wilson Cruz told CNN news last week, “The world is changing, the country is changing, and even the state in which Mr. Robertson lives is changing, and he needs to get in line.”
Excuse me? Does Phil Robertson not have the same rights to free speech as Wilson Cruz and all his GLAAD associates? Are Mr. Cruz’s beliefs more important or hold more merit than Mr. Robertson’s?
Perhaps, because the CNN news broadcast went on the say that 44% of Americans still think homosexuality is wrong (a sin). If that figure is accurate – that means 56% of Americans view the LGBT lifestyle as acceptable and that, in anybody’s book, is the majority. Is this normal?
My husband and I have had many heated discussions on what ‘normal’ is. ‘Normal’ to me was the world I knew growing up and the way I was raised. What was right and wrong was obvious. When you grew up you got a job (sometimes ANY job) and took care of yourself, paid your bills, and took care of your responsibilities – whether you wanted to or not. If students were mad at a teacher or another student, they didn’t come into school and start shooting up the place. We didn’t kill our parents or families if we got grounded or were banned from dating someone they didn’t approve of. We didn’t expect the government to take care of us and were embarrassed if we had to go on assistance.
My husband’s point was this: “Look up the definition of normal in the dictionary,” he said. “I think you’ll be surprised.”
So I did, and this is what I found: ‘normal’ is usual or ordinary : not strange, average, common, commonplace, everyday, and routine, among other adjectives.
He was right. Normal didn’t mean good vs. bad, wise versus foolish, being responsible, logical, courteous, or God-fearing. Normal didn’t mean going to work even if you are tired, raising your children even when it’s hard, paying your taxes, shunning pornography, or living within your means.
Normal, as it turns out, means ‘what is commonly accepted at present day.’ As we all know, that changes every day, a little at a time. Once it was normal to burn suspected ‘witches’ at the stake; use leeches to ‘drain’ the sickness out of patients; and beating your wife ‘with a rod no larger in diameter than the thumb” was acceptable. People shared eating and drinking utensils, unaware of germs and how they spread disease; tapeworms were commonly used to control weight and, as few as thirty years ago, people didn’t lock their doors at night.
One thing that is constant is the Bible, which is generally accepted as the Word of God, even in today’s world. Another thing that has not changed (yet but is hanging by a thread) is the U.S. Constitution, which still grants individuals the freedom of speech – whether they are hetero or homosexual, tall or short, blue or green. Obviously, the entertainment industry is in full reverse discrimination mode: one set of people can voice their opinions while another cannot without being penalized. Phil Robertson doesn’t fit into today’s definition of ‘normal’ and now he’s in that minority of 44%.
I have tried many times, in my own mind, to pinpoint the time in the last 40 years when the system that worked so well for the majority of Americans began to quietly change. When people no longer hid the behavior they used to hide; when politicians no longer suffered consequences for immoral or unethical acts (and were more popular afterward); when people began to EXPECT the government to take care of them; when there were no zombie or slasher movies and people were still shocked at extreme violence and explicit sex in films. Once upon a time we didn’t have to worry about our children being offered drugs at school or sexually assaulted in the restroom. And we didn’t know which kids and adults in our lives had an ‘alternative lifestyle,’ because they kept it to themselves. Why? Because they knew it was viewed as sinful and immoral at that time, and it wasn’t an acceptable lifestyle to the general population.
Now here we are, in 2013, with a new ‘normal’ where most everyone is allowed to live and do whatever they want to. Those old-fashioned Christians who believe the Bible is a guidebook for living a peaceable life, who still pray at the dinner table, and believe a male/female family arrangement is the way it was meant to be are now obviously on the other side of the social arrangement.
The new ‘normal’ is not what I ever wanted my children and especially grandchildren to experience. I don’t want them to think going to the store half-naked is normal; that sex at an early age is normal; that vulgar language and bullying is acceptable behavior; that the role reversal of children and parents is acceptable; and that Bible principles are outdated and useless.
Good luck to Mr. Robertson. He’s part of a dying breed. I guess the network failed to read the end of his GQ interview when he said, “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.”