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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
Anyone who knows Eric knows that he writes about a little bit of everything
Duck Dynasty flap
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About this blog
By Eric Bergeson
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother ...
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Eric Bergeson's The Country Scribe
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother Joe, who is now president of the company, the business has nearly tripled in size during Ericís ownership tenure. The holder of a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Dakota, Eric has taught courses in history and political science at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. He is also an adjunct lecturer in history for Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. Ericís hobbies include Minnesota Twins baseball, Bach organ music, bookstores, hiking, photography, singing old country music with his brother Joe, and watching the wildlife on the swamp in front of his house eight miles outside of Fertile, Minn.
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 Facebook allows people to stay connected, but every now and then it can tear at the community fabric. People post opinions which aren’t thought out, others get offended, then a battle begins which seldom ends well. 







The recent Duck Dynasty flap, where the star of the hit cable show (which I have never seen) Phil Robertson, was suspended for an interview he gave in Esquire magazine, is an example. 







Of course, Robertson is guaranteed free speech and he can say what he wants. 







At the same time, the network, which is a private organization, can suspend him if it wants. We live in a free enterprise system. Wal-mart cans people who threaten their profits, so can A&E. 







Most likely, it is all staged. Robertson will be called back after the publicity dies down. His first show back will win record ratings, earning the network mega dollars. 







In the mean-time, Robertson, who is apparently a born-again Christian, has become a celebrated cause for right-wing Christians. We’re being persecuted again! they holler. 







It is one thing to defend Robertson’s right to free speech. It is another altogether to agree with what he said. 







The most offensive statement Robertson made was that blacks were happier under segregation. 







Folks, that is not a supportable opinion. Study your history. Segregation was ugly. In the early 1960s in Mississippi, you could be shot by a state-supported organization (The Mississippi Sovereignty Commission) for trying to vote if you were black. Fewer than 2% voted simply out of fear for their lives.







During the long battle to end segregation and to promote voting rights, many died. It is a dark period in our history, and we can never forget it. Those who flippantly assert that civil rights have “gone too far” need to study the actual ugly events of the 1950s and 1960s. 







The only people with a right to speak for blacks about the joys of segregation would be somebody black, somebody who remembers the struggle. It is a supremely racist act to suggest that segregation was positive, and it is doubly offensive coming from a white Southerner. 







Secondly, Robertson said that accepting gays will lead to, amongst other things, bestiality. I don’t have to tell you how ugly that assertion is. It is almost like the early European Christians who alleged that Jews drank the blood of infants. 







So, yes, it is fine to defend Robertson’s right to say these things. 







But it is another thing to actually agree with what he said!







So, when somebody posted “Phil Robertson for President,” and a bunch of people immediately registered their support, I was shocked. 







In the follow up, somebody said that Robertson “speaks the truth,” unlike our president.







Really? Do people really believe blacks were better off under segregation? Do you really truly believe that gays will cause bestiality? Where is your evidence for these very serious and provocative charges? 







Of course, no evidence is needed for these people. None. They operate from emotion, not fact. 







What was troubling is that most of these people are nice on the face of it. They smile at you on the street. But of course, it is now obvious, behind the back of  gay people they smile at so nicely, they are convinced that gay people are a sign of the decline of America. They believe our lives are a fraud. Who knows what they would want a President Robertson to do to clamp down. Perhaps something like they are trying to do in Uganda? 







One gay friend responded with outrage. He was greeted with the usual, “we love you but we don’t approve of the lifestyle you have chosen.”







More loaded, deeply unkind words. This “lifestyle” notion is the most offensive. My lifestyle is to work, pay my bills, contribute what I can, watch baseball, try to be nice to people, blah, blah, blah. Oh yeah, I also love Lance. Calling it an alternative “lifestyle” is to suggest something exotic is going on. It is not. It is actually pleasantly boring. 







It is part of their unkind agenda to insist that gay people have “chosen” this evil “lifestyle.” They’ll throw the word “chosen” at you whenever possible. It is part of their unkind system of dogma. You’d think it was in the Bible. 







I don’t know one gay person who agrees that they chose to be gay. I think maybe a gay person would know better than the haters whether they chose to be gay or not. As human beings, gay people deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt about what goes on in their own mind. Just as Phil Robertson has no right to speak for blacks about how happy they were under segregation, nobody is entitled to tell a gay person they chose that lifestyle. Others do not know. 







There are so many ways people can express their Christianity. They can be kind. They can help the poor. They can try to convert others if they want. They can make salads for Ladies Aid, for gosh sakes. 







I kind of liked that era better. 







Instead, this group––and they are for some reason mostly a handful of females between the ages of 35-55 and a few neutered husbands who dangle loosely from their puppet strings––chooses to make sure the homos know that no matter how much they try to do their part, they will always be less.







Well, they say, you can always convert, kick the partner out of the house and join our secret salvation club—then you’ll be somebody we won’t treat like a token black friend we keep around just for evidence that we aren’t discriminatory. Since your relationships are a fraud anyway, it should be no trouble at all just to end them. 







Phil Robertson said as much. 







How very compassionate and empathetic. 







Older people are generally deeply polite. Younger people are more open. But this group has rage which just doesn’t quit. Are they satisfied to live out their faith in their daily life? No, they are not content unless they are doing battle, meeting in secret confabs, gossiping unkindly about the very people they smile at on the street. They love to have a big, bad enemy. The liberals. Those evil people who tear down Nativity scenes. Public health nurses who put condoms on bananas. Nothing interests them but a tangible enemy. 







I will leave it to others to opine whether they are Christian at all. I believe they have become ensnared by a cult-like form of evangelicalism which has, over the past decade, increasingly sanctified hatred of The Other. They hate Obama. They hate the Muslims. They hate the homos. They hate the immigrants. They hate the educated.  







Their energies could be spent somewhere positive, but instead they rage and revel in their apparent victimhood.  







Meanwhile, the eerie contrast between the hypocritical smiles on the street and the obviously dismissive and unkind thoughts they share behind closed doors makes me feel like I have confronted a deep evil. 







I still like these people, but their actions make me ever more grateful for the deeply and truly kind people I know, people who thankfully are in much greater abundance. 

 

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