This morning I awoke to a Facebook news feed that was overwhelmed with posts about Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. Literally, 8 out of every 10 posts I saw were discussing the latest news surrounding the ‘royal’ duck family.
Phil Robertson, following an interview with GQ magazine (linked here), was indefinitely suspended by A&E from filming future episodes of Duck Dynasty.
Nearly every post I’ve read has a different opinion or take on the incident. Some claim it is a beautifully orchestrated marketing ploy while others defend Phil Robertson for standing firm in his faith. I am not going to make that judgment call here, because really, it doesn’t matter.
What does matter, the thing that the entire world is seeing, is how other Christians are responding to the news. Seriously. All eyes are on us again.
And I am afraid, again, we are embarrassing ourselves.
What would happen if a very prominent figure at a large, conservative mega-church began to openly conduct interviews on his stance of homosexuality. Or adultery. Or Greed. Or (insert your sin here). In these interviews, he began affirming these different sin postures. He said, really, they were okay. There was no problem with those sins.
Would this person remain on staff at the church? Or at the ministry?
It isn’t about a freedom of speech. He is free to say whatever he wants. But, the church is also free to be represented by whom they feel best exemplifies their belief system.
Certainly the church would catch some flack from others in the community, but it wouldn’t matter. They were staying true to their beliefs.
So now, here we stand in front of the new Phil Robertson drama, crying out ‘where is freedom of speech’. Phil’s rights are being violated because he isn’t free to say what he wanted to say.
The last I read, Phil was not imprisoned for his belief. He was not ‘punished’ by our justice system for stating his beliefs. He was just removed from his job. He was removed from his job because A&E has a different belief set than Phil did. They didn’t feel Phil represented their belief set, and they chose not to be associated with it. A&E is not led by followers of Christ, so how can we ‘expect’ them to hold our same beliefs?
I know many will say that A&E knows that the Robertson family is a Christian family. So how can they do that now? Easy. Their ball. Their game. Their show. They can really do what they want.
It has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of speech.
The last I read in scripture, I missed where Jesus said our profession of Him (our speech) would make us popular. I missed where our profession (our speech) of Him would rally the world around us.
Quite the contrary. If the world hated Him, we can expect it to hate us. This is just another example of that.
I stand behind Phil, for speaking openly about what he believes despite possible recourse. I hope that the same is alway said of me.
But I also am not spitting venom at A&E for removing him from the show. I am not spitting venom at GLAAD for speaking against what Phil had to say. They are not my enemy.
While we want others to tolerate Christians, and our beliefs; why are we so apt to fight others for their beliefs? When a representative of GLAAD said, “America’s views have changed, even Louisiana’s views have, and Mr. Robertson just needs get in line with our views” they may have been completely wrong by our standards, but they have just as much right to say that as Phil has to say his beliefs.
See we have no problem jumping on someone else’s belief that isn’t in line with ours. But when someone comes at us, we rally the troops and attack.
It is a never ending ping-pong match. They hit a ball at us and we cry intolerance on their behalf, which in essence is hitting the intolerant ball back at them…because lets face it, while we want to be tolerated in our faith, we are very unwilling to tolerate others. Just look at the wars that rage in our society based on this very thing.
With this latest round of us versus them, we are continuing to deepen the battle lines. We are continuing to say tolerate us while showing we won’t tolerate them.
Let’s be clear, sin is sin. There is no way around it. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe we shouldn’t live lustful lives. I believe we shouldn’t be given to drunkenness. I believe in loving my neighbor. Truth is truth. I will speak it and share it, in love.
What I don’t believe in is ‘ripping’ others for not being a part of truth. What I don’t believe in is boycotts and sit-ins. What I don’t believe in is intolerance and hate. These things war against people. The divide. They destroy.
Our war is not against people. Our war is against spiritual darkness. Evil.
A&E didn’t make the ‘decision’. People within the company made the decision. Do we love them? Do we love our enemy???
GLAAD didn’t speak out. People within the organization spoke out. Do we love them? Do we love our enemy???
We try and guise our attacks by labeling people as organizations and systems. It is easier to attack an ‘organization’. I can be a Christian and do that. It is comfortable. That is why we are going after A&E rather than Nancy Dubuc, their president. That is why we are going after GLAAD rather than Sarah Kate, their president.
Sarah Kate (GLAAD) is watching, and they are affirmed in what they have said. Nancy Dubuc (A&E) is watching, and they are affirmed in what they have done. They see this viscous attack against them and they feel all the more justified in not wanting to be associated with those beliefs.
We are saying, with our posts and our words, you have to tolerate us, but we don’t have to tolerate you. Are we loving those that persecute us? Are we praying for those that rise against us?
I am not saying that you have to watch all of A&E’s shows or go to the next GLAAD rally. It is one thing to not participate because you have different beliefs, it is another to boycott or not participate to inflict damage because of a decision.
I am just saying we are battling the wrong people. We are again throwing labels and getting our feelings hurt by things that Christ told us would happen.
We can’t be surprised.
But what if we responded in love? What does that even mean, or look like?
I am just not willing to fight over this. We have enough reasons to fight. I just want to keep loving people towards truth.