Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Take on the Duck Dynasty Firestorm

I love Duck Dynasty. I resisted it for years, and recently got sucked in to the down-home, quirky humor of this family--who all seem like good people. I enjoy watching it with my kids.

But all the social-media brouhaha is crazy, and I am saddened by what I read from many of my evangelical friends, and how this reflects on us Christians.

I do not claim that my opinion is the RIGHT opinion. I've been wrong before. But here is where I am:

This is not a free speech issue. Phil Robertson has the right to say whatever he wants. No one is telling him he can't. But just as he has freedom, A&E has the freedom to run their company the way they choose.

And to say Phil is being persecuted because of his faith? please. Phil has made millions with his business, TV show, and merchandising. He's not hurting. Even without the TV show, he has the means and the freedom to go where he wants, do what he wants, and say what he wants.

To call Phil a martyr is insulting to the millions of people who have lost health, home and life by standing for their beliefs.

Imagine this scenario: There is a network that is created and funded by a Christian ministry. It airs a traditional family TV show with an actor that viewers come to love. It comes out that the actor is gay, and lives with his partner. He begins to talk about LGBT rights publicly.

The network decides that this actor and his beliefs don't fit with their image. They fire him from the TV show. How many evangelicals would stand up and claim that the network trampled the actor's rights?

We're all for free speech when we like the speech; but people often look for ways to stifle that speech when they don't like it or agree with it.

The bigger issue is this: why do many evangelical Christians feel the need to fight the battle against homosexuality publicly? Do they believe their rantings are going to make a positive difference in people's lives? Do you find it helpful or effective when people publicly rebuke you and tell you that you need to change?

I get that they believe it is a sin.

But why do we see so many people in the public arena fighting this fight?

Why not divorce, or greed, or gluttony, or dishonesty?

Why is this one issue elevated so far above others? Many evangelicals will say it is not or should not be addressed more than other "sins." But they still do it. We never see this kind of social media uproar about other issues (except maybe abortion).

Does this follow the example of Jesus? I don't remember reading anything in the Bible about Jesus standing up for free speech, and fighting for individual rights. He seemed more concerned with feeding the hungry and healing the sick and helping the poor and offering forgiveness.

Did Jesus often use public forums condemn particular sins? Most of the time in Scripture when he did address sin, he did so one-on-one, in the context of a relationship; with gentleness and compassion and grace.

When Jesus' rebuked publicly, He was usually addressing the hypocrisy of religious leaders.

Finally, do people think that fighting this fight publicly is going to draw people to Christ? Does anyone think that non-Christians are watching all this and thinking, "wow, these people and their God really love me"?

In my opinion, that should be the bottom line. How do my words and actions help connect others to the God that loves them and gave himself for them? I don't think the current uproar is accomplishing that.