Duck Dynasty and Cognitive Dissonance

Apparently, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson spoke about his views on homosexuality, issuing what GLAAD called “some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication. His quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”

Here’s some of what he said:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,” he later added. “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. 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. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

After the whole thing blew up in the media, Robertson had this to say about his statements:

“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

Phil Robertson would never treat anyone with disrespect because they are different than him, and yet his statement equating homosexuality with bestiality is incredibly disrespectful, and harmful even.  He can’t fathom that his stance on homosexuality is actually bigoted, so he says it isn’t, that he’s not disrespectful, and spouts off a vague, half baked theology of love to wrap it all up.

I consider this to be a good example of cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.”

Phil Robertson seems to need to believe two things: that homosexuality is wrong and disgusting and should be publicly opposed, and that he is being a loving person.

So he twists and contorts so that these beliefs can coexist in his mind – that is cognitive dissonance as i understand it, and i don’t think it is something that is consciously done. Nevertheless, it is done.

He fits his beliefs together by ignoring how harmful and disrespectful his statements were, and insisting he would never disrespect someone over differences in belief.
Just because you say you’re not doing something, doesn’t mean you aren’t doing it. 

I’ve been there, with the cognitive dissonance though. I’ve believed that bigotry is wrong, while being bigoted about homosexuality myself. I have thought of myself as open minded, when I could only consider facts that fit into my worldview, or that I could make fit.

I think the best way to get out of this kind of cognitive dissonance is to question your beliefs, to really look at them – throw everything on the table and inspect it. It’s hard, but it’s worth it to really work towards being a person who is truly loving and empathetic.

I don’t believe that people who are truly loving can say the disgusting things about people in same sex relationships that Phil says, that I used to believe.
I could say more, but I’ll just stick in this article: I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay. It’s gone viral a few times, so you’ve probably seen it floating around, but if you have never read it, please do.
I wish Phil Robertson would.



One thought on “Duck Dynasty and Cognitive Dissonance

  1. forgedimagination

    I’ve wondered why Duck Dynasty was so popular- I mean, I grew up with people like that. It seemed bizarre, because I knew they had to be spouting homophobic racist tripe… Turns out A&E has been carefully editing it all. They knew he was going to say something like this eventually.


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