Uncomfortable Religious Freedom & Pedophilia


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Allegedly, there is a report that Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, at age 20, was sleeping with a 14-year-old girl, got her pregnant and was forced to marry her when she turned 16.  If not, he would have gone to prison for statutory rape.  Now, I’ve been told by a fan of his that the article is incorrect.  I’ve read elsewhere that he was dating his wife when she was 14.  That would make him 18 at the time.  I don’t approve.  But, he’s religious so that’s all that matters, right?  No, I don’t think he’s a pedophile, but I think what he has advocated is creepy.

CORRECTION:  The person who told me the article I read about Phil Robertson is incorrect is NOT a fan of Phil Robertson and says he has never seen the show.  I watched it one time and thought it was one of the dumbest things I ever saw, with a bunch of dippy women getting stuck on top of a roof. 

I’ve spent quite a bit of time writing about the growing trend within the far right to marry girls off at the age of fifteen. I recently completed a three part series on what is almost a version of selective pedophilia within the religious right. Unfortunately, it is very much a trend within certain circles of the far right, dominionist, Christian Reconstructionist, patriarchal, religious right. It is part of the modesty and submission movement where women are basically not even second class citizens. What is even worse is this circle the wagons philosophy, where anyone and everyone who is part of the ‘conservative’ movement stands up for anyone they consider part of their club, without bothering to discern just what that agenda is. It is rather amazing that those of us looking in can comprehend this, but if you are a ‘Christian’ you must be required to stand up for policies that are far from ‘Christian’.

A former home-schooler and young man who was expected to take part in this way of life wrote:

“...According to Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips, a girl who has spent her entire life preparing for marriage under unquestioning submission to her father should expect to have almost too many young men seeking to win her hand. Eventually, her father would choose the right one for her. Her future husband would be a paradox: ambitious and hard-working and able to support a family, yet fully under his parents’ authority and living in their house without going to college. He would be an intelligent, independent critical thinker, yet he would agree unquestioningly with every belief of his parents and church….”

Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, in 2009 said that the age of 15 was the perfect time for a girl to be married.

“…“Make sure that she can cook a meal, you need to eat some meals that she cooks, check that out,” he said. “Make sure she carries her Bible. That’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road. And if she picks your ducks, now, that’s a woman.” “They got to where they’re getting hard to find,” Robertson remarked. “Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry ‘em. Look, you wait until they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket.” The Duck Commander company founder added: “You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16, they’ll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that of course.”…”

According to Robertson, the reason people hunt is because of the Bible. He thinks that one must have the Bible to govern the world. This is what is known as Christian Reconstructionism. Unfortunately, what Robertson is advocating is statutory rape in just about every state in the country. With the exception of South Carolina, where a girl may marry at the age of 15, if she is pregnant, and has the written permission of parents and guardians, every other state in the nation requires parental permission and a court order.

Ironically, what Robertson is promoting as are others in the patriarchal dominionist right is going against the world wide trend to end child marriages. The campaign is to end marriages of teenagers under the age of 15. Creepy, isn’t not? Basically Robertson is advocating a process which the civilized world is trying to stop.

“…“Nobody seems to talk about child brides,” says Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chair of The Elders. “But I cannot stay silent.” The plight of child brides has long been ignored by the international community, despite the sheer scale of the problem: in the next year alone, 10 million girls around the world will marry before they are 18. That’s 100 million girls within the next decade who will marry as children. Child brides are among the world’s most voiceless and vulnerable people. Rarely do they have any choice in when or whom they marry, nor do they have a voice in their relationship with their often much older husbands. They usually drop out of school, too, which only serves to reinforce their isolation. Hard to reach and invisible, child brides rarely benefit from aid and development programs designed to curb maternal deaths, infant mortality or the spread of HIV and AIDS – despite the fact that they are among those who could most benefit from such support. Pressured to prove their fertility, young brides often become pregnant before their bodies are physically ready for childbearing. The results can be devastating: girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s….”

The irony here is that this paragraph is about girls in Third World situations, not here in the allegedly civilized United States, where this sort of thing is not to be allowed to happen. There are laws in every state to prevent what is basically the pedophile like creepy grooming of teenage girls, usually stating around the age of 13, by men who are usually a good decade older than they are, with the approval of their fathers.

This is called ‘grooming’. It is part of the pedophile’s bag of tricks. We’re also talking about a man who suggests that a 15 year old teenage girl should be married at that age, implying when she is older, she is better educated and more willing to express herself. This is a recipe for abuse. It is also a growing trend within the far right, where feminists are considered the ultimate evil. He is advocating for a world where women are still, in the year 2014, being treated as chattel. It is a world where a girl is taught at home, knows how to cook, clean, pick a damn duck, and read her Bible. I don’t know about you, but that is not living.

It is a world where feminists have destroyed the power of pathetic little men who are terrified of women. They are controlling. In many ways they don’t like women. Wives and daughters are for cooking, cleaning, procreating, and picking ducks. This is not my world. It is not the modern world. It is not the world of normal Americans, but this is the world Phil Robertson, and his supporters are advocating.

It is a world where women are to dress modestly, be completely silent in church, have many children, and shouldn’t be educated. In Phil Robertson’s world and the cult in which he is a member, divorce is the ultimate sin, as is homosexuality. It is about control. It is about men controlling their women. It mirrors the world of Christian Reconstruction where the man is the head of the household. He speaks for God. As a ‘godly’ patriarch, God tells him what to do. You will notice that Robertson is considered the ‘patriarch’ of his family. There is a reason for that. As the ‘godly’ patriarch, he has been anointed as a spoke’s person for God.

I am loath to mention this, but it is NOT Biblical. If we are to be honest in our debate about what constitutes a pedophile, and honest in our debates about Kaitlyn Hunt, her pursuit, grooming, stalking of her victim, and her allegedly continued stalking of her, in violation of her parole, then we must be brutal here. What Phil Robertson, and indeed many of his ilk are advocating is statuary rape, even wrapped up in a marriage license. What Kate Hunt did to her victim was statuary rape. Tying it up with a marriage license, spoken words by a minister, and the blessing of a cult does not mitigate the factor that, legally, if it is statutory rape if someone is not married, it should be, if the age of those involved is under that of legal consent.

How much longer do we allow people who advocate for this sort of behavior not to be held accountable for a process the civilized world is now beginning to decry?  I have repeatedly said that Kate Hunt is a pedophile.  Her victim was 14.  She was 18.  Phil Robertson’s victim (to whom he is now married) was allegedly 14, 16 when they were married.  He was 20.  I advocated that Kate Hunt go to prison as a pedophile.  Well, Phil Robertson should have faced the same sentence.

A pedophile is a pedophile.  No wonder he endorsed men marrying girls as young as 15, it’s part of the growing patriarchal trend.  I give no quarter for anyone who endorses marriage for anyone under the age of 18.  I’m not even sure if I agree that a girl should be forced to marry if she’s pregnant.  Not every 20 year old man who gets his 16 year old girlfriend is a pedophile.  Fact is, I doubt if many are.  Fact is,  ephebophilia is someone who is attracted to mid-to-late adolescents.  A one time factor where a man like Phil Robertson, who 20 at the time he knocks up a 16 year-old teenager is not a pedophile.  There needs to be a 6 year difference for an exact definition.

Getting back to the statutory rape thing, in the state of Louisiana.  Phil Robertson skirted ten years hard time by marrying the 16 year old girl. He doesn’t get a pass from me.

“…Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile is sexual intercourse with consent between (1) someone age 19 or older and someone between age 12 and 17 or (2) someone age 17 or older and someone between age 12 and 15. Misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile is sexual intercourse with consent between someone age 17 to 19 and someone age 15 to 17 when the difference in their ages is greater than two years….”

There are plenty of teenage guys who get girls pregnant, marry them, divorce them, and maybe even make it work, who don’t go around advocating a guy marrying 15-year-old girls.  That is just creepy.  In fact, there is a creep factor here, and what Robertson advocated is creepy.  It doesn’t matter who someone is, how important they are, or what sort of a cultural icon they are.  When they advocate something creepy, it is creepy.

I know people grow up, change, and repent.  As a Christian, to me, there is nothing more exciting than watching a life gone bad, turning to Christ.  I’ve seen some amazing miracles over the years.  Phil Robertson turning to Christ is a miracle.  But – being a celebrity Christian does not give him a pass when he comes to endorsing creepy ideas that the civilized world is trying to get the developing world to abandon.

Is it violating his religious freedom to mention this?


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