A Church/State Lesson for Duck Dynasty
Dear Mr. Phil Robertson:
I’ve been a fan of the Duck Dynasty show, which I thought was very funny, so I am disappointed in your now-notorious comments regarding gays and the church-state issue. In the video of your speech at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, and quoted here you said:
“You lose your religion, you lose your morality, you lose your freedom,” Robertson said. “You cannot be right for America if you are not right with God.”
“If the country does not turn to God at a fairly rapid clip, we are going to lose the United States of America.”
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians. Where there is no Jesus, the love rate is always real low and the crime rate is always real high. It’s just that simple GOP. You want to turn the Republican Party around, get godly.”
He rejected the secular society created by Supreme Court decisions he interpreted as an attack on religion.
“We threw God out of the schools. We threw God out of the courthouses,” Robertson said, in a speech that featured quotes from several Founding Fathers, including George Washington, John Adams and James Madison.
“Separation of church and state? I’m telling you right [now] what our Founding Fathers said and it doesn’t sound like separating God Almighty from the United States of America. It’s a lie. You remove the Bible out of schools, it was said more 200 years ago, and you are going to be wasting so much time punishing criminals. Education is useless without the Bible. Take the Bible out of schools and there’s going to be an explosion of crime.”
“The strength of this nation is not the Constitution,” he insisted, “but the law of God and the Ten Commandments upon which the Constitution was founded.”
I thought there were a few things you may want to be made aware of.
Firstly, on the topic of gays, I’d just like to remind you of the biblical principle of “Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner.” You have the freedom to dislike homosexuality, but you do not have the right to discriminate against individuals. Like many people, I have several gay and lesbian friends; they are my friends not because they are gay or lesbian, but rather, because they are intelligent and good people who simply do not deserve to be discriminated against.
Secondly, as a lover of freedom from religion, I have a very serious problem with your views on separation of church and state. Here’s why.
If you take the quiz, “What Do You Know about the Separation of State and Church?” you will learn why the early Christians in America themselves wanted state/church separation:
Roger Williams’ Providence settlement founded in 1636 expressly guaranteed religious freedom. However, the Pilgrims originally were a tolerant people, when they founded Plymouth in 1620. By 1691, the Pilgrims had adopted the theocratic, intolerant Calvinism of the Puritans, who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628. The Puritans came to this land expressly to establish a bible commonwealth, and banished “heretics” and dissenters. In Virginia, heresy was a capital offense punishable by death by burning. Quakers were particularly persecuted. People who were not orthodox Christians were not legally protected, could be denied civil rights and jailed. The founders of the new nation of the United States of America, conversant with extreme religious intolerance and violence in the several colonies, were determined to put an end to it. That is why they established state/church separation.
Many people came to America to escape religious persecution. There can be no freedom of religion without the freedom FROM religion. Isn’t it interesting that there exists no democracy in the Bible? The god of the Bible is certainly no moderate either, as he does not prescribe fair and equitable treatment for all:
…Nowhere in Scripture will you find an acknowledgment that each individual has an “inalienable right” to be treated with fairness and respect, or that “We, the People” are capable of governing ourselves. There is no democracy in the “word of God.” In the Bible, humans are “worms” and “sinners” deserving damnation, “slaves” who should humbly submit to all kings, heavenly and earthly.” “American laws are based on a secular constitution, not the Bible. Any scriptures that might support a good law do so only because they have met the test of human values, which long predate the ineffective Ten Commandments.”
The God of Scripture slaughtered entire groups of people that offended his vanity, ordering young virgins to be kept alive as war booty for his priests (Numbers 31). “Happy shall be he that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,” he advised (Psalm 137:9), threatening those with the wrong religion that “their women with child shall be ripped up” (Hosea 13:16), sending bears to attack 42 children who teased a prophet (II Kings 2:23-24), punishing innocent offspring to the fourth generation (Exodus 20:5), discriminating against the handicapped (Leviticus 21:18-23), promising that fathers and sons would eat each other (Ezekiel 5:10), and much more that we would find repugnant in a human being. In this theistic universe, morality is severed from reality and reduced to flattering the Sovereign.
From a former Pastor of 20 years: “How Can an Atheist Be Moral? For Goodness Sake“
Here are more reasons so many of us no longer trust religion:
“No, I don’t know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.”
– George H.W. Bush, candidate for president in 1987
“Our goal, as Christians, is to dominate society.”
– Pat Robertson
“Christianity & Democracy are inevitably enemies.”
– R.J. Rushdoony “Independent Republic” (1964; 122)
“The church should be a disciplined charging army. Christians, like slaves and solders, ask no questions. We are fighting a holy war.”
– Jerry Falwell
“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”
– D. James Kennedy
“Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land – for Jesus Christ – to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect life & godliness. It is dominion we’re after not just a voice. It is dominion we’re after not just influence. It is dominion we’re after not just equal time. It is dominion we’re after. World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to do.”
– George Grant, “Changing of the Guard” (50-51)
“Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith … We need believing people.”
– Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933, from a speech made during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933.
In its article about you, “Awesome: Duck Dynasty Star Phil Robertson to Address GOP Leadership Conference,” The Conservative Tribune states:
America needs more people like Robertson who aren’t afraid to speak their mind and stand their ground no matter how hard liberals try to silence them. His experience teaches us that if we are willing to stand firm on our principles and push back against the establishment, we can achieve victory.
Liberals are not trying to silence anybody, that’s what the GOP does. The only “principles” I see on display here by Phil Robertson is a rigid adherence to utter ignorance and a denial of the facts based on biases and it is diametrically opposed to the US Constitution. I challenge you to try walking in our non-believing shoes to realize the utter discrimination we face. In reality, the last thing we need is more religion, as one of the most embarrassing and perilous periods in history was when religion reigned supreme as a theocracy. What an endorsement of discriminatory and bigoted religious views actually does is to move the U.S. closer towards a modern-day DARK AGE. The fact is that faith and the euphoria it produces do not trump credible evidence that actually exists. It’s these types of religious beliefs being pushed upon us that would make me utterly ashamed to be a Republican today. Today, the GOP reminds me of Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy from the 1950’s, an embarrassing time period in US history.
The rest of us have moved on from rigidly adhering to religious extremism hiding behind some god-fraud front to sell us a load of worthless dogma.
“Religious freedom is one thing,” says Joan Bokaer, director of Theocracy Watch, a project of the Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy (CRESP) at Cornell University. “But religious extremism is something completely different. What people aren’t aware of is just how deeply the radical religious right has penetrated our government—in all three branches. We really are very close to becoming a theocracy. People have reason to be worried.”
“What people aren’t aware of is just how deeply the radical religious right has penetrated our government—in all three branches.”
Watch this video to learn why atheists care about religion.
“If there were valid scientific evidence in support of the supernatural religious claims, faith would not be the main requirement.”
– Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection (page 3)
“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
– Sir Stephen Henry Roberts (1901-71), Historian
Sources & Further Reading
“Love the sinner but hate the sin”
What Do You Really Know About The Bible?
50 questions to test your biblical knowledge
What Do You Know About The Separation of State and Church?
21 questions to test your knowledge of America’s valued principle
Study: Atheists Most Discriminated Minority
Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History
Were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson Jesus Mythicists?
Zeitgeist Part 1
UN “Blasphemy Resolution”
Separation of Religion and State
“God Bless America” Response to pass around
Pagan Parallels: Achilles Heel of Christianity
George Carlin on religion
How many has God killed?
Have 250 million been killed in the name of Christianity?