Duck Dynasty and the Kingdom of God #DuckDynasty #A&E

December 20, 2013

Phil Robertson is a broken human being and the Duck Dynasty is the feeble creation of human hands. I am certainly not a good person and do not enjoy authority to pass judgement on Robertson or his critics. Still, Christians must be discerning. Perhaps my small voice might add something to the larger conversation.

If one is a public person, there is a fundamental decision. Do you serve the interests of management, consultants and advertisers, or do you serve the truth? There can be a big difference and sometimes it comes down to a balancing act. Let me tell you, based on personal experience, that telling truth can have dire financial consequences.

Some have said that A&E, which owns the DD brand is demonstrating “courage” in the handling of Robertson’s recent comments. Nonsense. A&E is playing the same old “CYA” game that powerful people who love power more than anything else always play. Yes, Phil Robertson should have been more circumspect on his views on sexual relations and race. On the latter he and Paula Deen from Food Channel are living in another planet. Honest. I am sure that Phil’s friends all shake their heads in total disbelief when he unloads that crackpot stuff about the “old south.” You can never change the attitudes of people from this generation.

My parents raised me to be a bigot. I was explicitly taught that African-Americans are inferior and should be kept separate from the white race. My Catholic school education overcame that. I should add that my father hated the “n-word” and would have never used it or allowed it. He also detested people who used that kind of inflammatory rhetoric.

I grew up in the “old south” and would have bitterly resented being shoved aside to only certain areas of public accommodations and generally excluded from the possibly of economic advantages. Yes, there were black professionals, but that was the exception to a hard rule of wrongful discrimination.Phil is from the rural south, where black people suffer right along side of their economically deprived white brothers and sisters. He is completely lost on the more complex urban issues of race. We should show a little mercy.

Robertson is feeling some (unfair, I think) discrimination today and I know he does not like it one bit. The experience will probably be good for him. Do not expect him to change. Truth is, society needs Neanderthals to serve as a kind of marker of the boundary between ordinary stupidity and indecency. Now,  let’s get on with the part that will cost me.

Yes, homosexuality is a sin. So is greed and envy. Sit down for this. Anger and hatred are just as sinful. All of these separate us from the love of God. My sins, if we were to stack them up, would reach all the way to heaven, Practically speaking, this means that all the people who live from sunrise to bedtime hating President Obama are teetering right along the edge of the Lake of Fire. Jesus speaks specifically about the connection between hateful speech and murder and he found zero distinction (Matt 5:21-23).

As the Creator of all things, Jesus is generous in the way he approaches sinners. That sets a good example for all of us. I am convinced that Jesus would personally minister to gay folks today (of course, as our King ruling from the throne of David in heaven, he does!) and he would never display an ounce of homophobia, because that is sinful behavior that makes if impossible for a Christian to have a civil conversation with homosexuals.

Phil Robertson needs to work on his spiritual generosity. Some may be quick to suggest that I am misstating the orthodox Christian position and nothing could be farther from the truth. I am not entitled to decide who gets the good news of salvation. Every believer is under a serious obligation to bring Jesus’ message to all people, including the ones we don’t like. If Phil is going to make himself a Bible-thumping example for America, as he claims, then he will need to know more about the scriptures, God and the neighbors whom he has been called to love as much as himself. No Christian is able to rightly say which people will end up in Hell (which is a real place with really bad weather).

Finally, most of the people who have been hardest on Phil Robertson are a bunch of bullies and intellectual lightweights. At the core, Robertson holds the exact same opinion as Pope Francis. Furthermore, concerning his awful lack of charity towards others, Mr. Robertson has a God-given right to make a fool of himself and A&E should bring him back immediately. Same thing goes for the Food Channel. Free Paula Deen!

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