Jewish Journal

Duck Dynasty, Piers Morgan, and real Catholicism

by Mark Paredes

December 24, 2013 | 10:07 pm

Thanks to all who contacted me following my most recent post on the legalization of gay marriage in Utah by one federal judge, a decision with which most of the state’s residents are likely to disagree. Another person who probably isn’t toasting the Utah ruling is Phil Robertson, the star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty. After foolishly agreeing to grant an interview to a secular, crude journalist from GQ, Robertson found himself out of a reality TV gig after A&E executives read his comments on the sinfulness of homosexuality. To top it off, the 67-year-old preacher had the nerve to actually quote Scripture to back up his beliefs.

Full disclosure: I have no duck in this fight. I have never owned a TV, and have never seen Duck Dynasty. In fact, I can’t imagine a show that would interest me less than one about a duck-hunting clan in backwoods Louisiana, unless the hunters were also baseball players. I recognize Mr. Robertson’s right to voice his opinions about gays, A&E’s equally sacred right to can him after he does so, and the right of intolerant gay activists to boycott any TV show that offends them (not a hard task, to be sure).

Although I don’t expect the nation’s most famous Bible-thumping duck hunter to win an award for tact or diplomacy anytime soon, Robertson has inspired me to get off my chest a personal peeve that has come to the fore while I have observed talking heads on all sides debate his ill-considered comments.

I’ll admit it: I am sick and tired of hearing analyses and critiques of scriptural passages from people who don’t respect their own religious traditions. A pathetic case in point is noted theologian Piers Morgan, who identified himself as both a “Christian” and a “Catholic” (!) on his show before declaring that Christians who condemn homosexuality are “bigoted” and that the Bible contains verses that are “utterly ridiculous.”

Had I been a guest on the show, I would have asked Piers when he had last read the Bible – or the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, which has this to say about homosexuality: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”  

As a former Catholic, I can assure Mr. Morgan that the previous statements are what real Catholics believe about homosexual acts. The Pope, cardinals, bishops and priests of the Catholic Church have always taught that homosexual acts are sinful. Mr. Morgan may not like these inconvenient facts, but it’s pretty disingenuous for him to invoke his cafeteria “Catholicism” as justification for slamming a fundamentalist Christian who actually believes in his church’s moral teachings. 


A very Merry Christmas to my Christian readers – and to my Jewish ones as well (what, you should want me to wish you a miserable Christmas instead?)

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Mark Paredes is a former Mormon bishop currently living in Los Angeles. He has worked for the ZOA, the American Jewish Congress, and the Consulate General of Israel in Los...

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