Dear Mr. Robertson:
I won’t call you Phil, like everyone else does, because I do not know you personally. This is in the same way that you do not know me personally; however, that did not stop you from making a blanket statement about me and those like me. I’m talking about gays, not terrorists (just one group to which you equated us).
My name is Blake Haney. I was born and raised in Tennessee. I’m not just someone shouting about what you said just because I read about it on Facebook. I am someone who used to watch your show, though I have not watched it since the dispute with A&E over how much money to pay you and your family. I bought family members Duck Dynasty merchandise even after I stopped watching, but that ends today.
Growing up, I enjoyed hunting with my dad. I wasn’t avid. I wasn’t good at it either. I just enjoyed spending time with my father on the water. Waders, camo, guns…duck calls. I own one duck call. It was my dad’s, and I have held on to it for years. He even checks in every now and again to make sure I still have it. Sometimes, I’ll pull it out of the box, and I’ll call just to hear the sound. It’s a classic Duck Commander call. Funny how you were part of my life at an early age, and I never even knew.
Today, I am at a different place in my life. After years of battling, I’ve finally accepted myself for whom God made me to be—gay. I have found a church that is accepting and loving, and I have accepted a calling to help young LGBT people find their place within the church. God loves them just as much as He loves you. You had an opportunity to use your platform for greater good. Instead, you singled out a group that fights tooth and nail just to have what you talk so much about on your show: family.
Comments such as yours bring young people to their knees. They’re praying without seeing change. They’re trying, and they are failing. Instead of going on, they are choosing to end it. To say that I didn’t consider using the shotgun I had used to hunt with my father to end my own life would be a lie. Thankfully, I was able to push forward.
Your words have meaning, sir, and you must take accountability for them. I don’t care from what generation you are a product. You are old enough to know better. As one of my former professors used to tell me, “Blame your parents for the way you are. Blame yourself for the way you’ve stayed.” It’s okay to have an opinion, but make sure it’s an educated one. Critically read your Bible. Befriend an openly gay person, and ask questions. Grow.