Well, my friends, they say that “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I don’t know if I’ve ever realized the truth of that statement as much as I do this morning.
I was just about to throw my hat into the ring of controversy surrounding Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson’s GQ Magazine interview when my daughter, Ashley, beat me to the punch.
Amazingly, she said just about everything I wanted to say, but said it so much better and more graciously than I ever could.
So with her permission, I am hijacking her Facebook post as my blog post.
I cannot tell you how proud I am of her, given that she is taking what will probably prove to be for many an unpopular position.
I believe I speak accurately for both of us when I say that neither of us means any offense to anyone. We simply want to have a conversation about a very timely “teachable moment” courtesy of Duck Dynasty and the A&E Network.
PLEASE feel free to post any comments that you may have, in agreement or disagreement with these sentiments. Thank you for reading them. And if you do indeed agree, PLEASE “Share” with your friends and “Like” this on Facebook.
The last several days my Facebook news feed has absolutely exploded with support, petitions, etc. for Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. Usually when there is a hot topic on Facebook I stay away from it, because that is simply not why I’m on Facebook to begin with. I am on Facebook so that I can get to know my friends better and be a part of their lives while letting you all get to know me better and be a part of mine. But in this Duck Dynasty discussion, I see a way that you can learn more about me and what I believe in on a more personal level than I think I have ever gotten into on here before.
My opinion might be different than a lot of my friends who are a part of the Christian community, even though, I suppose, you could say that I am a part of the Christian community as well. I say “suppose” not because I at all doubt my beliefs, but because the word “Christian” is now unfortunately such a broad term. If “Christian” means to you that I believe in God and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then please feel free to call me a Christian. If “Christian” means to you that I am a homophobic bigot or anything in between, than I would prefer that you refer to me only as a God-Lover or Christ-Follower, because that is truly what I am. And as a Christ-Follower, I believe that it is my job to love everyone, no matter who they are, where they have come from, no matter race, religion, or sexual preference; my job is to love. Period.
I have not signed any petitions, voiced any support of Phil Robertson and I won’t for three reasons.
Number one: I would be a hypocrite if I did. A lot of the outrage that I’m hearing is from people believing that Phil Robertson’s First Amendment Rights have been violated. If I were to speak out on his behalf for that reason, then I would have to speak out for every other person who has been fired or received a reprimand as a result of something they had said.
The next time someone gets in trouble for taking a shot at Christians, are we going to get up in arms and defend their rights under the First Amendment? Somehow I doubt that very much. What people from both sides of the fence don’t always seem to realize is that free speech goes both ways. And if we are going to fight for it one way, we need to expect to have it come the other way as well.
Number Two: The First Amendment basically promises that a person will not be arrested for speaking their opinion, it does not however give people the right to say whatever they want and not have any consequences for that. As far as I know, Phil Robertson was not led away in chains, he was not imprisoned, and he does not have a court date.
His employer has the right, as every employer does, to fire or lay off a person for misrepresenting their company or name. I have a friend that was fired a week ago for using language that their employer felt was inappropriate for the workplace and misrepresented them to their patrons. It was their right to do so. And before anyone even tries to tell me that Phil Robertson is being persecuted for his beliefs, let me point out that he was simply put on a hiatus. They have already said that he is coming back. The show Duck Dynasty is still running; there is in fact a Duck Dynasty marathon that is running today that Phil Robertson will be raking in the money for from residuals.
Number Three: Yes, everyone has a right to their beliefs. The way that Phil Robertson stated his beliefs was vulgar and inappropriate. I have a hard time believing that any of my friends that are a part of the Christian community can really back this statement. This is the direct quote,
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
He then went on to compare homosexuals to terrorists.
His comments on black people are just as outrageous. Another quote: “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
To say that I don’t support the disgusting statements made by this man is an understatement. I will listen to anyone’s opinions or beliefs as long as they are given in a respectful manner. This is beyond disrespectful to me.
As I have said before, I know my view is different than a lot of my friends, and I hope that my view doesn’t hurt any of my relationships. I can have a different opinion than someone and still love them dearly, and I do! I guess, more than anything, what I want people to take from this is that there are many different opinions out there. There are many different viewpoints and beliefs. What I hope we can all come together on is what I think is the most important thing that we are given, and that is love.
As I add my voice to hers, let me conclude with a simple “yes” and “no.” Four of them, actually.
Yes, I love Phil Robertson as a brother in Christ. Yes, I will be praying for he and his family during what must be a difficult time. Yes, I respect the fact that he is a man of uncompromising convictions. And yes, when one of our beloved faith family is hurting, we’re all hurting together.
But No, I won’t add my voice to the cacophony of Christian voices in support of him. No, I won’t rail against the A&E television network. No, I won’t be boycotting their sponsors. And No, I won’t be attending any “I Stand with Phil” rallies or signing any petitions on his behalf given the same three reasons offered by my daughter in her post.
And finally, thank you, Ashley, for calling us to look deeper at a much more complex situation than we may have have at first, with our knee-jerk reactions of support, understood this to be.
Admittedly the First Amendment argument doesn’t work in this case. If the FCC had shutdown the program then yes, his freedom of speech would be an issue. Also the crude language was also unnecessary.
My concern over this issue is the calling of Phil’s comments “hate speech” and “homophobia”, most specifically his paraphrase/quote of I Corinthians 6:9-10, that is mentioned as the egregious hate speech. Paul in these verses highlights that all forms of sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage (pre-marital sex, adultery and homosexual activity) were sins that would exclude one from the Kingdom of God, along with idolatry, drunkenness, greed and robbers.
The issue for me is distinguishing between someone who holds a conviction based on Biblical teaching being branded a hater and homophobe. There are those who use the Bible for hate like the Westboro group, but Phil and others like me that believe that homosexuality is a sin are not haters but people compelled by our faith to take the Bible seriously.