By Marc Jampole
It’s one thing to support Phil Robertson’s constitutional right to free speech. It’s quite another thing to proclaim you “Stand with Phil,” which about 200,000 people have done in signing an electronic petition available at the Faith Driven Consumer website.
What saying that you stand with Phil means is that you agree with his frequently-expressed homophobic, racist and sexist views. I wonder how many of the 200,000 people who signed the petition understand that they have now insulted and demeaned real people—work associates, people they see in the supermarket, friends of their children. It’s possible that a number of them are like Sarah Palin and didn’t even read the remarks, but still knee-jerked in support of a celebrity they like.
Faith Driven Consumers, by the way, is a membership organization that claims to represent the 15% of the population who it says wants to buy goods and services only from companies that actively support Christianity. The website posts reviews of businesses that analyze their commitment to the Christian faith. Under the fast food category, for example, the organization gives Chick-fil-A 4.5 stars for “leaning towards a Biblical (sic) view of the world” and McDonald’s 1.5 stars for “leaning against a Biblical view of the world.” Backyard Burger, whatever that is, earns 3 stars for a “mixed response.”
Here is what Faith Driven Consumers says about McDonald’s: “While it is making efforts to encourage healthier eating and to assist families in crisis through its Ronald McDonald House philanthropy, we can’t reconcile its celebration of the homosexual agenda and its promotion of abortion services with a corporate focus on catering to children and families.“
The agenda of Faith Driven Consumers sounds vaguely reminiscent of the 1930s, when the Nazis encourage Germans not to shop at Jewish stores.
Perhaps more frightening than the exclusionary policies is the fact that there is no information about the leadership or backers on the website. I can find nothing on the Internet about the founder and spokesperson, someone named Chris Stone. Faith Driven Consumers is not a nonprofit organization, meaning that it makes money making its recommendations, just like Angie’s List. Joining costs nothing and I see no solicitation for money or place on the website to contribute money, so the website and organization must be getting surreptitious backing, but from where? That’s the scary part.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson made an interesting observation that the Duck Dynasty Dude is worse than the bus driver who hassled Rosa Parks because the driver at least was following state law.
Phil Robertson thinks he’s following the law, too: his god’s law, which he believes forbids homosexuality and keeps women subservient to men.
Phil Robertson has his religion and Jesse Jackson has his, and in their hearts both believe that religious dictates supersede the laws of man.
But Jackson was talking not about the laws of god, which are subject to interpretation, but about the laws of man. Jackson is a leading figure in the civil disobedience movement, which is based on peacefully disobeying bad and immoral laws. His career has been built on confrontations with people who are just following orders. He understands that the man just has a job to do.
By contrast, Phil Robertson goes out of his way to say hurtful and insensitive things about minority groups and then tries to hide behind his narrow and harsh version of Christianity.