Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?
Phil Robertson of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" has been suspended for his comments on homosexuality.
December 20th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - The Robertson family of "Duck Dynasty" fame has rallied around its patriarch, saying his controversial comments on homosexuality are "grounded in the teachings of the Bible." But Scripture is fiercely contested ground, and some experts say Phil Robertson misinterprets a key Bible verse.

A&E, the network that broadcasts the hugely popular "Duck Dynasty" show, suspended Robertson for a now infamous interview with GQ magazine. In the article, Robertson, who became a born-again Christian in the 1970s after a prodigal youth, is asked to define "sin."

Here's what Robertson says: “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."

Robertson, 67, then paraphrases a Bible passage from the New Testament: “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.”

That's a pretty close citation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which is a letter from Paul, often called the father of Christianity theology, to a fledgling Christian community in Corinth, Greece.

Here's what Paul's passage says, as rendered in the New International Version, by far the most popular translation among evangelicals and conservative Christians such as Robertson:

"Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Evangelicals, who make up about a quarter of the U.S. population, tend to take that passage at face value. The Robertson family pastor, for instance, told CNN on Thursday that "the verse explains itself."

Robertson himself is no religious neophyte. He's an elder in the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ and offers spiritual counseling, charity and Bible studies to many in his hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana, the family pastor, Mike Kellett told CNN.

The "Duck Dynasty" star also preaches around the country to conservatives that flock to hear his blend of woodsy, plainspoken Christianity.

Many conservatives backed Robertson's views on Scripture and homosexuality this week, if not the "crude" way he argued his point to GQ.

My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality

But other Bible experts said the Scripture Robertson cited isn't quite clear about homosexuality.

"A lot of people misread this text because it's so complicated," said O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

First, scholars say, we have to look at the context surrounding Paul's letter.

The Christian leader is trying to get the quarreling Corinthians to stop taking each other to civil courts and being judgmental. "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already," Paul says.

Things were supposed to be different after they became Christian believers, Paul continues; they were supposed to stop their sinful ways.

Then Paul lists some of their sins of the past, including greed, drinking too much, worshipping idols and sexual immorality. "That is what some of you were," Paul says. "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

The list of sins is likely based on rumors that Paul heard about Corinth, says Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania who has studied the Bible's teachings on homosexuality. Bible scholars call it a "vice list," and it appears several times in Scripture.

So what does Paul's "vice list" say about homosexuality? That's the tricky part.

The first word Paul uses is "malakoi," which means "soft" in Greek, according to Allen. By analogy, the word came to mean "effeminate," which is how the King James Version of the Bible translates it.

"In the ancient world, it would refer to a boy in a relationship with an older man," Allen said. "It was pederasty, not homosexuality as we think of it today."

The other relevant word on Paul's "vice list" is "arsenokotai," which means "male sex." It refers to the other half in the man-boy relationship, common in Greece at the time, Allen said, the older male having sex with the "soft one."

"It isn't anything to do with what we would see today in an intimate, mutual relationship between gay adults," said Allen, who is co-authoring an upcoming book on homosexuality and heterosexuality in the church.

My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality

Even so, scholars such as Allen acknowledge there are no Bible passages that support same-sex relationships, and at least seven that appear to condemn gay sex.

"There's no way around the fact that those passages take a negative view of homosexuality, and nowhere in the Bible is a positive view offered," Allen said. "So conservatives and liberals continue to debate."

Liberals say that some parts of the Bible offered particular truths for a specific times and places but those times and places, as well as human understanding of sexuality, have progressed dramatically.

"The Bible may be divinely inspired, but its authors were human and saw, as St. Paul puts it, through a glass darkly," said Jim Naughton, a Christian gay rights activist and communications consultant. "On the subject of homosexuality, the Bible doesn’t mean what Phil Robertson thinks it means."

Conservatives such as Robertson, on the other hand, argue that the Bible is the bedrock of their faith, unchanging and unalterable. "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," the Robertson family said Thursday.

For decades, the gulf between the two sides has divided denominations, churches and families. To paraphrase Lincoln, both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and both invoke his aid to argue against each other. Which is why our contemporary debate over homosexuality is so fierce, and so seemingly unending.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • gender issues • Prejudice • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality

soundoff (5,719 Responses)
  1. Debby

    Get Over it !!! We all have thoughts and Opinions !!! I can write a book of all the times I have heard my Gay Friends say worse things about Humanitiy !!! Mr Phil stated he treats all Humanity with respect and that God (if there is one) will sort that out !!! America is a freedom of speech nation !!! Let's worry more about what the government is doing to the nation, care for the less fortunate, and worry about things that are important to keeping the world from disasters !!! Mr Phil I Think your Family is wonderful more families should be as real as yours !!! Stay Strong this too will Pass !!! Merry Christmas to all !!!

    December 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Borealbob

      well said Debby- what ya doing for dinner???

      December 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Greg


      December 22, 2013 at 6:53 am |
    • wilf

      yes A$E has freedom of speech and they just exercised there's

      December 22, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • ceyan

      His speech is the type of speech that causes troubled GLBT youth to kill themselves because it perpetrates negative stereotypes. And you tell people to simply get over it? You must be one of those loving Christians I hear so much about.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  2. Liberal Are Useless

    Joan you are an idiot. What don't you eat that was alive at one time?

    December 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  3. Science Works

    And the ducks he hunts come from a natural flyway that starts way up North no gods needed !

    December 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • me

      Peace be with you.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  4. JosephS

    A&E are the real losers here. They created a show based on the lives of right-wing hillbillies from Louisiana. Is anyone really shocked that Phil would have these views? All A&E has done is alienate their Christian viewers. What happened to the old disclaimers at the beginning of each show... "The views and opinions expressed in this show do not reflect those of A&E". How hard would that have been? A&E should have just let the man have his opinion, shrugged, and stuck by that disclaimer.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Jackson

      They weren't expressed on the show, they were expressed in a magazine article.

      Did you read this story before commenting?

      December 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Scott

        Have we lost reason in this world. We can't apply a disclaimer to the rest of what that family does. You are the reason there is a warning on a toaster that it shouldn't be used in the bathtub. Just remember don't use your toaster plugged in at the pool either. It might no be the tub, but it is still the same concept.

        December 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Will

          He was not endorsing those labels. He was just pointing out a fact.

          December 22, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • wilf

      fortunately A$E toke the high rood and did what was right. Kinda like hulk Hogan body slamming a waitress who brought him the wrong order. These reality shows are the same as WWE actors playing from a script.

      December 22, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  5. Koold

    Great now we can find some pastors or so called pastors who have some credentials as experts telling us how to interpret the bible. Bring it on I can read if for myself without your input and reading it might help you understand it as well. More half truths mixed in because they will tell you what you want to hear. Liars.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • lost in translation

      Koold, unless you are reading the original Aramaic or Greek manuscripts for each book in the Bible, you are reading someone else's translation and thus, their bias and misinterpretations. Remember, the product is only as good as its source and raw materials. Good luck reading that middle ages perverson of the original. Admit it: nobody alive today knows what Christianity really was when it started.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • bowldsbrendonbboi7581

        To further illustrate your point, at one time the bible was interpreted as stating the world is flat. We know this is false, so it no longer states this. It has also been interpreted as black people being cursed, and women were not allowed to speak in church. So why stay with the hate now? We are supposed to love thy neighbor, and to me, the first execution would be to follow this while trying to interpret the bible as the most likely translation, instead of trying to use this as a source of hate.

        December 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Tim

          You don't know what the heck you are talking about. The Bible did NOT every speak of the world as being flat.

          December 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • bowldsbrendonbboi7581

          Not in how we interpret it now, just like 1,000 of years from now it will change again, but how we define the four corners, once meant the earth was flat to the people who read it. Also, it explicitly stated the world was flat and the earth being the center of the universe, at one time, you don't know your own bible, or the evolution of it anyway.

          December 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • wilf

          The reason black people are said to be cursed is that Abrahams wife was not able to bare him a male child to lead the chosen ones. So she brought him a servant to fornicate with and produce a son. unfortunately a few yrs. after the 1st son was born Abrahams wife bore him a second son. So Abrahams true first son was banished to the desert. And the second son unjustly went on to rule the Jews. the other son bore a son named Mohamed. Who's people a the true descendants of Abraham

          December 22, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • bowldsbrendonbboi7581

          Wrong passage, but I guess that is one they used as well.

          December 23, 2013 at 2:12 am |
      • kt

        And unless he has a full understanding of the historical evolution of the bible as we know it today, and the social, cultural and enconomic climates of the world throughout that evolution to consider and take into account...that would be helpful for putting the stories of the bible in the appropriate context.

        December 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • martiniano

        The right-wing "Christians" will say that God's hand guided the interpretation and the hand of Constantine the Pagan, etc. Christianity has twisted itself up like a ball of cottonmouths. Nothing of logic will get through their defense of their book of mythology. And guess what? They want you to adhere to their myths the same way that Taliban want Afghans to adhere to the Qur'an myth.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • Carl Rooker

          Your last sentence demonstrates completely that you have no idea whatsoever of what you are talking about.

          December 21, 2013 at 9:28 am |
        • Will

          You are absolutely correct my friend.

          December 22, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • wilf

          so true. but true of most all religions

          December 22, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • martiniano

      Yeah, those educated people really suck eggs! They think because they have spent decades learning to read the bible in the original language and have studied the history of the times they know more than you: a freakin' duck hunter!! How dare they! Elitist Liberal Godless Freeloaders!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  6. michael

    why do you say this are that– sin is sin and God will be the judge– so why concern and wast your time if one does not repent and first acknowledge that he or she sins - then how can there be a repentance - i say– all those that sin and do not repent will not be with us forever- all those that deny him will not be with us forever–and all those that know better and do not do these thinks- will no be with us forever....
    i am us and i am forever!

    December 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Robert

      Thus methinks thou art stupid. Quote the Babble and keep this book of fiction going!

      December 22, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • wilf

      Jesus spoke poorly of your kind. He was forgiving of the tax collector not the Pharisee . read your bible.

      December 22, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  7. AE

    "The same Bible that the predecessors of Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson used to keep white churches white is the source of the inspiration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the social reformation of the 1960’s.

    The same Bible that anti-feminists use to keep women silent in the churches is the Bible that preaches liberation to captives and says that in Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free.

    And the same Bible that on the basis of an archaic social code of ancient Israel and a tortured reading of Paul is used to condemn all h.mo.exuals and h.mos.xual behavior includes metaphors of redemption, renewal, inclusion and love – principles that invite h.mos.xuals to accept their freedom and responsibility in Christ and demands that their fellow Christians accept them as well. "

    Peter Gomes

    December 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • AE

      Mr Robertson is in reference to Pat Robertson. Not Phil Robertson

      "But the chief reason that fundamentalism is dangerous is that, at the hands of the Rev. Pat Robertson. the Rev. Jerry Falwell and hundreds of lesser-known but equally worrisome clerics, preachers and pundits, it uses Scripture and the Christian practice to encourage ordinarily good people to act upon their fears rather than their virtues.

      Fortunately, those who speak for the religious right do not speak for all American Christians, and the Bible is not theirs alone to interpret. The same Bible that the advocates of slavery used to protect their wicked self-interests is the Bible that inspired slaves to revolt and their liberators to action. "

      December 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • Steven

        Hey AE – you're making a very broad statement mixing religion with the consersative christian right. The inference is "all Christians are white racist rednecks that go to church and vote Republican." As a Democrat, who is also a Pastor, you need to be careful about such broad statements. 1) nearly half of church attending people are Democrats 2) your assertation is only NBC dribble 3) it shows your lack of seriousness to this conversation.

        December 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • AE

          I'm quoting Peter Gomes, who was extremely conservative, but was also gay and Christian. I'm Christian. And not republican or conservative (except fiscally).

          December 20, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • AE

          (The Bible) is the source of the inspiration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the social reformation of the 1960’s

          (The Bible) says that in Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free.

          (The Bible says) accept their freedom and responsibility in Christ and demands that their fellow Christians accept them as well.

          December 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • lost in translation

          Steven, AE's comments are bang on target. S/he is focusing on fundamentalism and specifically illustrates why it is so dangerous. That is painting with an even brush, not a broad one and not unfair either.

          Love thy neighbor if you can.

          December 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • wilf

          A$E is in the entertainment business and has no religious ground. It merely produces shows that entertain people. They simply enjoy laugh at or with Mr. Robertson like Rosanne or Archie bunker. Not to follow his word!

          December 22, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • Pinewalker

        People today sit in wonder as to how Nazi's came about and a people could allow such atrocities. How did that happen? In the same manner that Christian persecution is happening now.....and how exactly is that? With subliminal use of words such as yours that call conservative Christian thoughts and beliefs "dangerous". The Nazis called the round up, encampment and attempted extermination of Jews a management of a danger too. Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it and don't forget that history repeats itself.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  8. Marcello

    The bible is the most interpreted book on the planet, it can be twisted to meet anyone's needs, the "experts" know as much as long time Christians. It's sad that this is news but at least mr Robertson had the guts to say it. I hope the family pulls the show from A&E. Another network will pay to have the show.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      A&E very likely owns the rights to the show, and the family is probably contractually obligated to the network. I'm sure something will be worked out if the family truly wishes to quit, but the show couldn't be just moved to another network. If the family desired, they could probably create a new show on a new network, but reworked shows never seem to survive long.

      Pop culture sensations rarely last more than a few years anyway. I suspect this controversy, and the show, will be just a distant memory in a few years, remembered only when people find Duck Dynasty tie-in products at the Good Will.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Matt

      No what is sad is that he is not a Christian. He is a hater. Jeasus did not condone hate.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Cindy

        He said nothing about hating anyone. The media said that. try reading what Phil ACTUALLY said.

        December 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • John Mith

      A&E probably made the family sign an iron clad contract. Good luck with another network picking up A&E's show.

      I agree they certainly have a right to their opinion but that does not guarantee them a cash cow reality TV show if they say something that offends the network. I think it's ironic here that people are letting their bias against gays rule their opinion. If he had said something bad about the president of the Network this would be a non issue.

      December 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • VEW2012

        However, what he said offended some of the workers who work on the Duck Dynasty set.

        December 22, 2013 at 8:10 am |
  9. LT

    There are roughly 200 million "Christians" in the US and just as many interpretations of the Bible. No two Christians have the exact same ideas on every issue because the Bible can be interpretted so many different ways. The underlying message is love, and it would be amazing if people could rally around that rather than take 1 or 2 verses to base their entire lives around.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Pinewalker

      he's not basing his entire life around his statement. He was asked a question about a certain subject and he answered it truthfully. If we could get only half our political leaders to answer questions truthfully, we may be able to have a more educated vote.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • VEW2012

        Phil Robertson has a right to his own private personal opinion, but A&E also has the right to let him go when his opinion offends some workers for his production company, and members of the general public. Not rocking the boat is a time honored tradition for most entertainment media corporations....Mr. Robertson evidently forgot that what he thinks is one thing, but what he says has consequences.

        December 22, 2013 at 8:18 am |
  10. Rosie

    This seems like manufactured news to me. Why does it matter what he thinks, he's just some dude from a reality show. Why is it on the front page of CNN. I don't know one person who cares about this story.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  11. Wesley

    MAYBE the Corinthan reference can be softened, but how about the others??

    Romans 1:27 - And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    "Men with men" is called unseemly or inappropriate by GOD, not just by some guy on a TV show.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • it's all natural

      Wes, than why are all the animals doing it? Non-human animals are still living in Eden and all my male mice shag each other daily and my cage of all females too. Dogs do each other and your leg. Are they sinners or is this A PART of the natural order of things?

      December 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Scott

        If you feel you are no better than an animal then don't call yourself human. No living creature has all of the capabilities that "man" has been given. Whether you think it by chance or God-Given, we have been given knowledge to know right from wrong and inside the ability to reason. Thus if you are a rat, so be it.

        December 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
      • JayNYC

        The die-hard Christians don't believe in science, like Evolution, so that argument won't work with them. I mean, Galileo was placed under house arrest by the Roman Catholic Church for daring to suggest the earth was round, and revolved around the sun.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • Elsy

          Really? You have to reach back to the 1600s for an example? Sheesh.
          (die hard Christian who believes in, practices, and utilizes science on a daily basis is posting this.

          December 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • martiniano

      As is wearing cotton and polyester clothing at the same time.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Nanners

      God didn't write or say that. A man did.

      December 23, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  12. Friends

    I think Phil would have a pretty good perspective on the Bible.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • John

      The Bible is irrelevant to this discussion, because decency toward others is more important than religion.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • Jay

        Only irrelevant because you have proclaimed it so. Apparently you are a "me first" kind of guy. Congratulations on that. When you are standing before God, waiting to be judged and determine whether you will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell, make sure to tell Him how irrelevant his bible is.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • Pinewalker

        and how you define that is entirely different than your neighbor. Everything is relative.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  13. Smeagel4T

    Ummm... hello... Paul (aka Saul) wasn't a Gospel. He's just another person speaking for himself. Which books that were bundled into the "Bible" and which weren't was totally and completely arbitrary.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Kyle

      If that's true then out of all 66 books in the Bible, only 4 are relevant? What about the prophecies of Jesus Christ in the old testament? The 10 commandments? The teachings of great prophets like Moses and Abraham? What about the fact that Jesus called the apostles for the explicit purpose of teaching his gospel AFTER he died... which is what is recorded in the rest of the New Testament outside of Matt, Mark, Luke and John. The teachings of any prophet speaking through inspiration and authority from God is considered scripture and the word of God.

      That being said, the article was partially right in that people misinterpret this verse to mean those who committed these sins are doomed. They are not, they can be still be redeemed by Jesus Christ just like all sinners if they repent. The article is wrong in it's own interpretation. Obviously an gay christian advocate will have a biased opinion, and it doesn't matter what they think. All that matters is what God thinks. He lets us know what he thinks through prophets who write scripture.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
      • martiniano

        All created, manufactured. Notice that Jesus called for a burro to ride into Jerusalem so that it would be as stated in the OT. He manipulated the situation to match prophecy.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
      • DS

        There are no prophesies of Jesus in the Old Testament. That's just fanciful interpretation and wishful thinking on the part of Christian revisionists.

        December 21, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • beauloney

      Smeagel4T: Paul is not a book at all. He is an author and he authored Romans which, indeed is not part of the Gospel. As for which books were chosen to be part of the Bible and which were not, it is NOT AT ALL arbitrary. There are specific qualities of a book which qualifies it to be part of the Bible. That is why all translations of the Bible have the same books. The only difference is the Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible and that is because the Catholic Bible includes the Apocrypha. You can research this on your own but I thought I'd enlighten you a bit at least. Please, before you start spewing false info, educate yourself.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
      • it's all natural

        Ah Beauloney, but was it God who chose which manuscripts to include or were they...men??? They were men with their own adgendas and interpretations. Cherrypicking is a very old practice indeed. The Bible is falliable as are the men who wrote and compiled it.

        December 20, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  14. DJ

    In order to quote the Bible and keep your job you need first to consult scholars so their man-made opinions can be used to create context for the verses and interpreted as such as to fit the politically correct agenda of 21st century man.

    I have a much simpler approach. Phil Robertson is free to interpret the Bible as he sees fit and the rest of us can do the same and either accept or reject his interpretations. Part of living in a free society is acknowledging that we may not always agree on such things as religion, politics, lifestyles, and cable TV programming.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Friends

      AMEN !.. Or do the moderators have to moderate my AMEN first.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • JayNYC

      Which is exactly what's happening here.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Elsy

        No, what is happening here is that a television network is banning an actor from TV for stating his opinion. While, unfortunately, they have the "right" to do that, if they expect viewers to respect their decision (or for their own ability to speak their mind in the future to be protected) they might want to reconsider. Seem to me A&E has a PR problem right now, not the actor.

        December 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  15. Kimmy

    The point were missing here is that he has freedom of speech just as others have the freedom to demonstrate their choice of lifestyle, but it seems as though we as Americans have lost that freedom that some have fought and died for if it offends a few others. Phil did not get it wrong according to the bible just as it was quoted in the above statement (http://www.biblestudytools.com/romans/passage.aspx?q=romans+1:26-30) There is no other way to interpret it. If he chooses to use his own words that is his freedom to do so.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      His freedom of speech rights have not been taken away. He can continue to say whatever he wants, and has in each follow up interview. A&E has chosen to disassociate with him, as is their right. Do I have a right to express my views on christianity in any church I chose? Don't think so.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
      • Linda

        Funny when the Dixie Chicks bashed the president and people boycotted – the people who boycotted were made fun of.. funny when it happens on the opposite side it is ok..funny when people speak out of both sides of their mouth – which side should I look at/listen to??

        December 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Don't know – whatever side makes the most sense to you I guess.

          December 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • JayNYC

          Why don't you stick to whichever side your church brainwashed, I mean, told you to stick to.

          December 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • DS

          That's because one side is aligned with liberty, freedom, equality and reality and the other is aligned with bigotry, hate and are mind slaves to a book of bronze age fairytales and its man-made god.

          December 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bespoken

      Shut up.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Just as it's his employers right to put their own opinions into practice and fire his pathetic, bigoted behind and everything connected to it.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • Liberal Are Useless

        Then fire every black person who does not agree with whites.

        December 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Steve

          @Liberal Are Useless – Or is that fire every white person who doesn't agree with blacks?

          December 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • Elsy

        Religion is a protected characteristic in this country. If he was truly their employee and they fired him for speaking about his religious views on ANY subject, they would be expecting a major, ugly, costly, lawsuit to follow in quick order.

        December 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh brother. This may have escaped your notice, but Phil Robertson is not facing any criminal charges or censorship. What happened is that his employer, the A&E channel, found his comments to be damaging to their product. Therefore they suspended him as is their right as an employer. You don't insult a major portion of your employers clients and not expect to face consequences from that employer.

      See? The First Amendment is doing just fine.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • Austin

        that is fair enough and now we should allow a Christian organization to not employ a gay individual on the same merit, it is a credibility issue.

        how is this any different?

        December 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Hiring discrimination and firing for cause are two entirely separate issues.

          December 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Blatant discrimination is not the same thing as firing someone because their actions were against employer policy, but I'm not at all surprised that you can't tell the difference Austin.

          December 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • Kimmy

          But that is just the problem in this not so free America some of us have joined our services to defend the freedoms and yet we are losing them each and every day, because you might hurt someones feelings. Let's look at it from a white ma's point of view and see the true victom in society today. You have to hire so many so called minorities when truthfully in todays society an older white man is probaly a minority. You can have the UNCF, but try and have a white only college fund, Don't get me wrong I am not a biggot at all because I know that is where this will go. I have family who is mixed and I love them very much. I have a gay cousin who I love very much, I just think it is time that we all stop playing the victom and speying hate and discontent and realiza that each and everyone should have have the right to say what they please as long as it is truthful.

          December 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • Elsy

        Except that A&E is suffering the backlash for "taking a stand." A&E hurt their own product not anything that the actor said.

        December 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          A&E determined that continued association with this azzhole would not be good. Want to bet they have multiple possible replacements for this show? I bet there are dozens of other "curious" persons that will jump at the chance to become the next hit reality show.

          December 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • GreginNYC

      I'm so tired of hearing the words "choice of lifesyle". People CHOOSE to commit adultery; people CHOOSE to commit murder; people CHOOSE to steal; people CHOOSE to follow a certain religion. People do NOT choose to be gay anymore than someone chooses their racial makeup. Phil is free to say whatever the heck he wants–as a gay man, I have no problem with that. But people have the right condemn statements made by others that they feel are ignorant and out-dated. As for whether or not he deseves to be removed from the show, that is solely dependent on the contract between he and A&E–if they felt his statements violated something in their contract, then they have every right to take such action against him.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Jay

        I'm glad you can speak for every single Gay person alive. Every single one of them did not "choose" their lifestyle..not a one of them. They all were born that way. Funny thing, science says otherwise.

        I firmly believe that many don't "choose" to be gay, but when condemning blanket statements try avoiding using them yourself.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • DS

          Uhh Greg clearly stated that people don't choose to be gay... so I'm not sure why you are railing on him..

          December 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • hogwired

        Gay people choose to be gay, just as "bi" people choose to be bi. It is a sin, plain and simple. You just don't like to hear it because God himself has condemned your "lifestyle". Just because Gaga says so don't make it so. Better take God's path and leave Gaga's behind.

        December 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
      • NoE

        And evidently, Phil Robertson CHOSE to say things that he had contracted not to say. So it is his own fault that is is suspended. After all, he CHOSE to sign the contract in the first place. He didn't do it under duress, and then later change his mind.

        December 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • John

      You do not have "freedom of speech" in a civil context as applied to a corporation. The US Government did not abridge his rights. He may well have violated the terms of his private contract by his actions. I understand posting in anger, but not ignorance.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Matt

      Part of the freedom of speach is the consequences of that speach. He is free to speak any hate that he wants, but along with that comes the consequences of hate. If he does not want to face the consequences, then he needed to keep his mouth shut.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • A.a.

        Sure. If once you won't like your government and say something about it, you'll face the consequences:will lose your job, friends and possibly freedom. You're still free to speak up. But, you'll pay for it. According to your philosophy.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • ceyan

      Don't get caught up in what Fox news and others are incorrectly stating this as. It is not a free speech issue at all.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  16. NorCalMojo

    It's nice to see these PC shun campaigns backfire.

    People are tired of being told what they're allowed to think and say.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    @Ken: "Of course a Gay rights activist would interpret the Bible in such a way as to support his lifestyle. "

    Of course, RWNJs would interpret the Bible in such a way as to support – and justify – their hatred towards others, completely ignoring that Jesus supposedly said that we are ALL children of God.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Freedom

      Disagreement is not hate.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • wowev

      31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

      You are taking one thing Jesus said and basically saying we are all saved. That is not the case. Believers are saved through grace, by faith, in the Lord Jesus Christ.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Lynn

      You might want to study the Bible if you are going to report what Jesus supposedly said. See particularly John 1:12 & 13 regarding the qualifications for becoming children of God. In fact, Jesus and authors of other New Testament books clearly differentiated between children of God and children of the devil–and Jesus put several (but not all) Jewish leaders of His day in the latter category. The main difference between the two groups is believing in/following Jesus and ignoring or hating Him.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  18. Theodore Hyczko

    became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

    30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

    31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    Pretty Clear statement

    December 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Fred

      "Pretty Clear statement"

      Things are often clear once they have been translated and interpreted. Go back to the original text and it won't be so clear. Sometimes I think people believe that the Bible is the literal word of God as if he spoke modern English 2000+ years ago.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • bilbo

        Romans 1 says the same thing in the original text.

        December 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • Jay

          Hey Bilbo, why don't you put on your ring and disappear.


          December 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • Elsy

          And which language would the original text have been in, blibo?

          December 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • wowev

      Yeah I'm not sure how much more clear it can be. I don't need a scholar to tell me how to interpret that.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Like everyone else, I pick and choose what to believe (or not) from the Bible. It's not "politically correct" to disagree with Mr. Duck – it IS typical of the righties to whine whenever someone disagrees with them, however.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Jeff

      Thinkagain… I don't recall us righties being the ones that are always upset… We are not upset at all, we appreciate it when people such as Phil Robertson speaks what he believes in… Live your life and be happy, but don't think for one minute that you have the right to tell me what you believe in...

      December 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  20. Ken

    Of course a Gay rights activist would interpret the Bible in such a way as to support his lifestyle. However, what has been overlooked or purposefully omitted from Phil Robertson's comments is that he said he treats all people the same and with respect and in regards to final judgement, he is leaving that up to God. (paraphrasing)

    December 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bruce

      I am a black man and have read the "quotes" stated by Robertson. And frankly, I am not offended at all. To me, he qualifies all of this by saying what he believes and what he has witnessed (when it came to black people). But you can't blame a person for having views based on their own experience...whatelse does life even mean if your own experience can be stated.

      December 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Atul C

        Well said

        December 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • Ken

        You are absolutely correct Bruce! I don't think any of the statement made by Phil Robertson were said with any malice or hate and were based on his own experiences and his understanding of Biblical scripture.

        December 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Scott

        Well Said! I think it funny no one mentioned the fact that he was working right next to them. He wasn't above or below, he was on equal footing and as you said stating his experience.

        December 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • martiniano

        A black man named Bruce? Ha!

        December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Nanners

        What's disconcerting isn't that he had this experience with blacks as a child of the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s, but that he didn't come to realize as a more-informed, aware adult that just because blacks "knew their place" back then and didn't sing the blues while picking cotton, it didn't mean that they necessarily were content with their horrible treatment as second-class citizens.

        December 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Jay


      Only the ones who are offended feel the need to try and justify themselves or argue their case. The man was utilizing his freedom of speech and hurt a few peoples feelings. Boo-hoo! If you dont like whats cooking, keep your butt out of the kitchen. Nobody says you have to agree with him, read the article or even watch Duck Dynasty. Im pretty sure he'll still be rich, happy and Christian without the opinions of these misguided "scholars".

      December 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • tallulah13

        I think it's funny when christians brag about wealth. What did Jesus say about wealth again?

        December 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • Scott

          Only others have spoken about wealth. But Jesus said, "Give to Ceaser what is Ceaser and God what is God's". Don't let it (money) be the master of you. I don't doubt the Charitable nature of a true Christian. If they are doing as God commanded then blessings can be given to them. And no matter what lot in life they have, true happiness they know is in giving.

          December 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Cindy

          Christians can't work hard and get wealthy? Only non-Christians?

          December 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • martiniano

          Cindy, what is meant by "it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy person to get into heaven"? The answer to your question is "no" according to Jesus.

          December 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • Elsy

          I don't think the actor, who may or may not be "rich," was bragging about anything. The commenter was also not bragging about being rich. Next retort?

          December 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
      • martiniano

        Right, but he will be a rich Christian butt of jokes and he will not get into heaven until a camel fits through the eye of a needle.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • Tim

          Stop misquoting Christian texts. You are not a Christian and don't know what you are talking about as a result. Jesus immediately followed that statement by saying, WITH God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. Jesus was discouraging the people from the desire to be rich. Yet, He also taught that even though it is near impossible for the rich to make it into heaven, that with God even a rich man can overcome the odds against him. With God all things are possible.

          You are not a Christian, so stop acting like you understand our teachings. You don't.

          December 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
        • Rman24

          In Jesus' time, the rich were considered by people to be "blessed" or "especially blessed". Jesus was speaking to this common notion, in effect saying "Even those you consider to be "especially blessed" or "favored by God" will find it difficult to make it to Heaven."–that is to say, no one, whether it's Hitler or Mother Theresa will make it into Heaven by virtue of their merits. Christ was alluding to the fact that the only way to inherit eternal life was through the way He would provide...faith that His death on the cross paid the ransom for our sins.

          December 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • timtakegi

          You gotta love how fundamentalists reject all nuanced interpretations of the bible except when they have to face up to the "eye of the needle" quote in Mathew. Then, all of a sudden it's all nuance and interpretation (after all, you need to be able to justify that second SUV..lol).
          I mean, if it was just an example of how "with God, all things are possible" then why does Jesus very specifically tell the rich man who he's addressing to "go, sell your possessions and give to the poor" as a precondition to following him.

          December 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.