I was listening to NPR as I did some errands this morning and there was a very interesting program about the problem that women with an internet presence—bloggers mostly—have in dealing with sexist and sexually harassing responses. I didn’t have the opportunity to hear the entire program as I was in and out of the various places I had to be, but this is obviously a real problem for any number of women on the internet. Being a man—and identified as such on my blog—I have had no such problem. But what I found interesting was the sort of remarks that were directed to women. “Lesbian!” “Baby-killer,” “feminist bitch.” There were others of a more generic sort: “bitch” (of course), “whore” and others of that ilk. But what I found captured my interest was those first three that I quoted (they were not necessarily the first three mentioned by the commentator). “Lesbian,” “Baby-killer,” and “feminist bitch” would all indicate the harassers to be coming from a right-wing perspective. And I must admit that I am not surprised. In my trolling various right-wing blogs (it is cheaper—and more effective—than taking medicine for low blood pressure) this is often the sort of anger-language I find used and encouraged.
You might remember that some weeks back, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson raised some ire by his anti-gay remark in a GQ interview and as a result was temporarily suspended by A&E from the popular (?)“reality” show. I don’t watch Duck Dynasty—or A&E for that matter—and I didn’t have much of an opinion on Robertson’s comments or supension. But I was a bit caught off guard when our old friend Michael Voris came to Uncle Phil’s defense and took a shot at the bishops for not doing the same. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1g_hPBtC18) But this is precisely what I am writing about: why do these crazies keep pushing hate-speech? Well, actually I guess that is what crazies do, or not all crazies—there are nice eccentric crazies—just the evil ones. And speaking of losing one’s moral compass—how can Michael Voris hold up Phil Robertson as a moral paragon? Sure Phil talks about Jesus but talkin’ aint’ what’s goin’ to get you into heaven. If you will bear with me quoting the Huffington Post, we can look at some other things Uncle Phil says:
The 2009 footage, which was posted on Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDhCxER2fqM&feature=youtu.be
shows the 67-year-old reality TV star speaking at a Christian retreat in Georgia. During the speech, he tells a story about advising a young man to find a good Christian girl and marry her.
“Make sure that she can cook a meal. You need to eat some meals that she cooks, check that out. Make sure she carries her Bible. That’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road," Robertson said.
He then went on to say that men should wed girls who are young.“They got to where they're getting hard to find, mainly because these boys are waiting ‘til they get to be about 20 years old before they marry 'em,” Robertson said. “Look, you wait ‘til they get to be 20 years old the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16. They’ll pick your ducks."
Robertson also had some comments on Blacks in the old South
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues,” Robertson said.
Now I am willing to believe him when he says that he never saw the mistreatment of any black person. I don’t think he is an evil man and have no reason to think he would countenance evil—but while I will give the benefit of doubt for conscience, I won’t credit him for consciousness. Whether it is blacks or gays or women I think ol’ Phil just lives in the bubbled world of the old South. He has no reason to come out of it. He is not uneducated—he actually has a Master’s Degree in Education. But once out of school, he has chosen a path through life where he has not had to exercise his intellect. He belongs to a Church that doesn’t challenge him to think. He has pursued a career that has been successful and lucrative but which requires no philosophical/theological/critical thinking. He is surrounded by people whose lives and ways of thinking are no more broad than his. The world of his mammy and his pappy and of their mammies and pappies is the only world he knows, needs to know, or wants to know. It works for him and God bless him.
But I am sorry Michael Voris, it doesn’t work for us Catholics. And you should know better. That static cosmology of an unchanging world is not what you learned at Notre Dame and it is not what you learned at the Angelicum—or whatever American campus it was that granted you your cute little Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureatus (Bachelors in Sacred Theology) in its Angelicum wrapper. But I am not surprised to find on a Voris video or the blogs that push them, encouragement of that sort of hate speech of which the women bloggers were bringing to public attention on the radio. This is the problem. Michael and his winged monkeys might think that they are more Catholic than the rest of us, but there is nothing Catholic about them. Catholics may be conservative, but they we are not anti-intellectual. There is nothing in our Tradition that would justify our rationalizing the sort of bigoted, racist, and sexist ideas represented by Mr. Robertson. Our theology of marriage may see its sacramental nature in the union of man and a woman as representative of the Union between Christ and his Church, it does not see marriage as requiring a teen-age slave-bride to pluck your ducks—no euphemism intended. Shame on you Michael Voris for being an apostle of ignorance and bigotry.