Phil Robertson is an embarrassment, not a hero, and the socially conservative movement needs to distance itself from him immediately.
Don’t get me wrong — I agree that our culture is experiencing a terrifying shift towards censorship. People have become so easily offended that it’s almost impossible to say anything without someone getting upset about it; and concepts like trigger warnings, safe spaces, and microaggressions are threatening free speech.
But none of this changes the fact that Phil Robertson is an ignorant buffoon, and that many of his comments — despite the fact that he does have every right to make them — are not ones that anyone should ever want to be associated with.
Now, before you start composing your hate mail — think about it. Do you really want a dude who is going to publicly ruminate about the gruesome rape, murder, and castration of a man and his “little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters” to be an official face of your #brand?
And he is an official face. He spoke at this year’s CPAC, where he also received a free-speech award named after conservative legend Andrew Breitbart. As for his most recent controversial comments, he made them during a speech at a prayer breakfast, and the very fact that he was given the role of “speaker” suggests that he’s viewed as a model of the Christian faith. He’s an icon — but why?
After all, let’s be honest: His detailed hypothetical about the brutal rape, murder, and castration of an atheist family was disturbing, and his underlying point that only a Christian could understand why these activities were wrong was ignorant. It provided anyone who might accuse Christians of being intolerant with about the best piece of ammo that I can imagine.
So, Team Robertson — when people meet you and you tell them you’re a Christian, are these comments ones that you would want them to ascribe to your belief system? If not, say so! And if yes, well, good luck out there.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review.