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Tolerance' includes acceptance of redneck morality

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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Guest Editorial

From the Colorado Springs Gazette

If it looks like a countrified hillbilly redneck and acts like a countrified hillbilly redneck, expect it to talk like a countrified hillbilly redneck. View the rube as a small part of this great country's multicultural population.

The unfathomably successful A&E show "Duck Dynasty" isn't about ducks. It's about a God-fearing, rural Christian family that doesn't give a darn about modern sensitivity. Millions of TV viewers gawk at the rags-to-riches inventors of to-die-for duck calls. The show has generated billions (with a "b") in advertising and licensing revenues. People watch them precisely because they're not homogeneous. They are throwbacks who happily cling to religious beliefs no longer acceptable to urbanites and corporate types.

"Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson shocked much of conventional society, and heads of A&E, by characterizing homosexuality as a sin during an interview with GQ magazine. He spoke about the wrath of Hell a litany of sinners may endure. He spoke carelessly about historical oppression of black Americans. He spoke his mind, without concern for approval. As the politically correct enforcers of preapproved values and speech gasp with dismay, more videos and transcripts emerge about other shocking Robertson statements. He told a gathering at Sportsmen's Ministry in Georgia that woman are too old to wed by the time they turn 20.

"Look, you wait 'till they get to be about 20 years old, the only picking that's going to take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they're 15 or 16, they'll pick your ducks," Robertson said.

Robertson would have shocked no one a century ago. Instead, acceptance of sexual orientations beyond the conventional boundaries of one man and one woman shocked the average listener. Common practices of today, such as divorce, were considered radical, extreme and shameful within the lifetimes of today's retirees.

Society has worked for decades to accept that which used to seem extreme. The societal decision to embrace "tolerance" as a value explains why new generations have come to accept same-sex couples as nothing remarkable.

A society that embraces tolerance of once-taboo values and lifestyles should not feign outrage in response to those who retain beliefs that sound extreme by modern standards. Tolerance means we accept radical-sounding ideas.

If we're going to police society for decorum, we'll have a hard time knowing where to start. TV brings to our living rooms programming with titles that shock before the shows begin.

Discovery Fit & Health gave us "I Was Impaled," featuring people with pipes and rebar through various parts of their bodies. TLC gave us "My Giant Face Tumor." Investigation Discovery broadcast "Wives With Knives," featuring women who have killed or maimed in response to jealousy, greed or abuse. "Amish Mafia," on Discovery, portrays men with giant guns, who protect members of their religious tribe in Pennsylvania. National Geographic Channel gave us "American Gypsies" and "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding." Discovery Health distributes "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant," which features women who give birth, usually in toilets, without knowledge of the pregnancy. We've lost count of the shows that feature women, motivated by greed, who con rich men into marrying them.

Foreign tyrants, to this day, torture homosexuals. Throughout much of the Islamic world, homosexuality and adultery remain crimes punishable by death. Our government associates diplomatically with leaders of those countries. One might expect a modicum of outrage from those who care so deeply about the values of rednecks on TV.

Americans enjoy a civilized, diverse, tolerant, multicultural society. In the mix, we should expect the likes of Phil Robertson and family. None need embrace their beliefs, but let's drop the self-righteous displays of overblown, faux outrage. It's so intolerant.

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Original Publication Date: January 2, 2014

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