GAY WRITER: Duck Dynasty Drama says More About Gay Bigotry than Phil’s

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There are two notable differences between the Pope’s views on sex, and Phil’s. First, the Pope is a trained philosopher, and has undoubtedly spent countless hours examining, challenging and refining his views. Phil — if we are to take his brief statements on homosexuality as representative of his position — seems to hold a view on sex that manages to reduce the entire orthodox understanding of “desire” down to nothing more than a juvenile “tooshie = bad, vagina = good.”

The second difference has to do with tone. In fairness to Phil, the tone of his off-the-cuff statements may not accurately represent his philosophy on this issue, but I do think it’s a fair representation of what many see as his Southern charm. There’s a way to disagree with majority opinion without coming across as disagreeable. The Pope knows how to do this. Phil does not. As a result, we respect Papa and shame Phil.

For the record, I’m undecided on whether or not I think Phil actually is homophobic, although I certainly think his statement was offensive, and not only to the LGBT community. But I also think that if I were to spend a day calling ducks with Phil, I’d probably end up liking him — even in spite of his position on gay men. It’s quite possible to throw one’s political support behind traditional, heterosexual marriage, and yet not be bigoted.

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I’m reminded of something Bill Maher said during the height of the Paula Deen controversy: “Do we always have to make people go away?” I think the question applies in this situation too.

Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them? One of the biggest pop-culture icons of today just took center stage to “educate” us about sexuality. I see this as an opportunity to further the discussion, to challenge his limited understanding of human desire, to engage with him and his rather sizable audience — most of whom, by the way, probably share his views — and to rise above the endless sea of tweet-hate to help move our LGBT conversations to where they need to go.

G.K. Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right — and he usually is — then I wonder if the Duck Dynasty fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil’s.

Read more: ideas.time.com

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