I’ve never watched Duck Dynasty.

I don’t know what it is other than from a cursory review of headlines.

But the Duck Dynasty guy (whatever his name is) is suspended from his hit TV show because of these comments in an interview with GQ Magazine:

Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:

“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.” …

What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“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,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “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 attacks on him are focused on the claims that he compared homosexuality to beastiality.  Professor Althouse argues that that is not true:

And the attacks are unfair. He didn’t compare “being gay to bestiality.” He put homosexual conduct — not the status of being gay — into a category of sins that included “sleeping around with this woman and that woman” as well as bestiality. We don’t see the heterosexual men who enjoy multiple sex partners getting hotheaded over Phil Robertson. Why not? They’re not organized to make political demands at the moment, but they haven’t had to fight for the right to fornicate recently. So those who are organized and in the middle of a movement are taking Robertson’s bait (or answering his duck call or whatever). It’s “anti-gay.” The “bestiality” business is forefronted.

This is the political game of the moment.

I think that’s right.

The question was “What, in your mind, is sinful?” The answer listed several things, one of them beastiality.  Is there anyone publicly arguing that beastiality is not sinful, whether religiously or not? The only ones making the connection between homosexuality and beastiality — at least from the quotes — are the ones who want the guy kicked off TV.

Also, he used the preface “just morph out from there.”  Not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds like the slippery slope.  We know that the slippery slope extends to polygamy, and a prominent academic supporter of gay marriage, Martha Nussbaum, argues that it extends to some levels of incestuous relationships as well:

“But then when you get to brothers and sisters, well, you know, now we know so much about the genes, and we certain don’t forbid people with Tay-Sachs [garbled] to get married. So I feel that it’s just bad faith to forbid the brother and sister on these putative health grounds. If one at one time states did think they had that interest, they don’t have that anymore.”

I don’t hear anyone screaming to fire Martha Nussbaum because she allegedly “equated” homosexuality to incest.  The slippery slope is not an equation of one to another, it’s seeing how far the logic can last before reaching moral absurdity.

What about beastiality?  Professor Eugene Kontorovish recently noted the debate in the terms of the arguments used to expand personal sexual privacy rights:

The Utah polygamy-rights decision is truly a courageous civil rights ruling. Most sexual liberties decisions going all the way back to Griswold v. Connecticut come at a time when the relevant practices have won very broad acceptance, especially among the educated elites. Not so with polygamy, which is quite far from the lives of the elites, and is opposed by a Baptists and bootleggers coalition of religious conservatives (bad for the “traditional family,” smacks of Mormonism) and secular liberals (bad for women, smacks of Mormonism). The judge will make few friends with his ruling. Editorialists will not liken it to great civil rights breakthroughs. It will surely be overturned, with conservative judges fearing an expansion of substantive due process, and liberal ones fearing a backlash. And that is what makes it brave, whether right or wrong.

Now seems like a good time to revisit a post on bestiality from earlier this year, which surely seems less radical now. Bestiality bans are [even?] less constitutionally defensible than polygamy bans because the purported harms associated with the practice are lower. It does not undermine families because it is not a substitute for traditional unions (though presumably limits one to unusually broad-minded spouses). Nor does it oppress women, the empirical claim behind bans on polygamy, as well as prostitution.

Professor Kontorovich didn’t take the pro-bestiality side, he just showed how the arguments which now are accepted legal foundations could be used on the slippery slope.

So what does all this have to do with the Duck Dynasty guy being kicked off TV?

Did he actually equate homosexuality to beastiality? Did he slip on the slope?

No, it appears that the Duck Dynasty guy committed what apparently is the worst sin of all.

Update: The family has issued this statement:

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.

Duck Dynasty Robertson full family

 
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