What in the world ever happened to the United States of America, folks? Our country is so different from the nation that was founded more than two hundred years ago. I’m absolutely convinced that the reason America went so far and so fast is that our founders were God-fearing men. It was godly from the start. Our founding fathers fled the wickedness of Europe and came to America to build a nation built on principles, morals, and their beliefs in Jesus Christ. They drew upon their faith and biblical ideals to actually construct the framing documents of our great country.That's very close to the end of the book, the third and second to the last paragraphs (before the afterword). (The last paragraph states his resolution to keep "spreading God’s Word... reading Scripture and quotes, carrying his Bible, and blowing duck calls to crowds.")
I bought the book (on Kindle) because I wanted to be able to search the text, and the first thing I searched for was "homosexual" and "gay" to see if Robertson had an unhealthy fixation on the sexual sins that don't tempt him, and I can report that neither word appears in the text. So I searched for "sex" — a search that will pick up all words containing the sequence of letters "sex" — and found 7 occurrences.
The first 2 are about the sex of ducks — in the sense of whether a given duck happens to be male or female. The third is some joking about how he felt after his wife compelled him to witness her giving birth (to their 4th child, the first and only birth he attended): "I knew right then that my sex life was over — although I somehow managed to get over my concerns thirty days later!"
The final 3 appear immediately before the passages quoted above, and they are all in the context of concern not so much about sexual sin, but about sexually transmitted diseases.
This, the second-to-the-last page of the book begins with "I’m extremely worried about our country’s youth." Robertson says his "greatest fear is for one of my grandchildren to come up and tell me they have herpes," and asks "Don’t you think it a little ironic that what follows sexual immorality is herpes, chlamydia, AIDS, syphilis, and gonorrhea?"
Ironic? He sees irony because sex is so much "fun," so why should it "bring these horrible diseases upon us" and why haven't doctors been able to cure them all? He concludes that the diseases are "the consequences of disobeying the Almighty."
Robertson presents disease as God's way of enforcing his rules about sex:
Look, you’re married to a woman and she doesn’t have AIDS, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, or any of the rest of them. Here’s the good news: you don’t have it and she doesn’t have it. Guess who is never going to get it if you keep your sex right there? The only way it can be transmitted to you or your spouse is if you go out and disobey what the Almighty says. When it’s one woman and one man, you won’t catch this stuff.Interestingly, homosexuality doesn't even seem to be on Robertson's radar, since a same-sex couple, beginning disease-free and keeping monogamous, would enjoy the same health benefit. If we're to reason about God from looking at where he allows disease to take root — Robertson's idea, not mine — then God blesses gay marriage.
But if you disobey God, His wrath will be poured out upon you. It’s not a coincidence that horrible diseases follow immoral conduct — it’s the consequences that follow when you break God’s laws.This is horrible theology. Robertson isn't inclined to think too deeply as he mixes religion and health. How would he explain children getting cancer? Monogamy may be good religion and, simultaneously, good for your health, but that doesn't establish that good health is evidence that God approves of your behavior. People do not have bad health in proportion to their sinfulness, and one can think of behavior that isn't particularly virtuous that would be good for fending off disease, notably avoiding human contact.
Finally, Robertson expresses sorrow over his own past, "running with the depraved crowd," part of a generation that "gave itself over to sinful desires and sexual impurities," and that sets up the final page, calling the next generation to godliness, without mentioning sex again and tying the enterprise of religion to the founding of the United States of America. It's a surprisingly quick trip from the worrying about disease to the beliefs of the Founders.
Robertson obviously would like young people to be religious and, to him, religion demands sexual purity, but he seems to think disease-avoidance belongs in the argument.
What if there were no sexually transmitted diseases (or if the doctors did figure out how to cure them all)? I think Robertson would still want everyone to adhere to monogamy. But Robertson remembers how he behaved when he was young. He enjoyed his sexual fun, and he seems to know that young people want that too. Why not sin as he did and then, as he did, come to Jesus only when raging desire wanes?
Robertson should have a better answer than the scariness of diseases and the notion that God smites us in this life with disease.
Getting an Amazon link for Robertson's book, I ran into more "Duck Dynasty" books than I wanted to count. There's "Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle," "The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty," "The Duck Commander Devotional," "Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen: Faith, Family, and Food--Bringing Our Home to Your Table," etc. This is a publishing empire as well as a reality TV empire. Empire... dynasty... they mean to rule.
IN THE COMMENTS: NorthOfTheOneOhOne takes me to task for attributing the reasoning in Phil Robertson's book to Phil Robertson:
Go read the GQ interview again. It specifically mentions that Phil says he's never read his own autobiography. No doubt it's based on his rather rambling philosophy of things. I don't envy the ghostwriter, though.In fact, I had never read the GQ article in full, so I checked it out. It says:
According to Phil’s autobiography — a ghostwritten book he says he has never read — he spent his days after Tech doing odd jobs and his evenings getting drunk, chasing tail, and swallowing diet pills and black mollies, a form of medicinal speed. In his midtwenties, already married with three sons, a piss-drunk Robertson kicked his family out of the house. “I’m sick of you,” he told his wife, Kay. But Robertson soon realized the error of his ways, begged Kay to come back, and turned over his life to Jesus Christ.So what does this mean that the GQ author says that Robertson says he's never read the book? Assuming Robertson really said that and wasn't lying, I'd guess that it means that Robertson mostly did interviews and provided scraps of writing to the person who put the book text together and that Robertson has never taken the trouble to sit down and read it through. So am I wasting my time taking the text seriously? If Robertson isn't responsible for the text, he's a party to a scam, which doesn't seem too godly.