What's amazing to me is that just in a 24 hour period, we've gone from hearing the article, sharing the article in all social media, Phil gets banned, and articles and blog posts have been written and rewritten, and people are already fed up with hearing about it. I am not sure if our forefathers would be proud of this free and instanteous exchange of information, but man, it's amazing how fast it is.
I thought I would write some thoughts about this because as with most things, I see it a little differently than most people do. I generally like to argue the other point a lot and sometimes, it gets me in trouble. I really feel like this is a good opportunity to look at things from a different, more logical perspective than one stemming from emotion. Emotion can get you into trouble pretty fast.
Before I will continue, let me say this. The one thing I know about Christians, and I am one, is that they are going to look at this situation as an "attack on our beliefs," an "unfair ban on speaking our minds," and "religious persecution." I really feel like, in this particular instance, it is not the case. Do I think it was a bit ridiculous and a premature decision on A&E's part to ban him from his own show? Yes. I think that had they let it go, and done nothing, everything would have been fine. But we are dealing with a corporate entity, out for their own financial well-being. Not only are they having to answer to another community of people, but don't kid yourselves into thinking that the very second they read those words in that article, they weren't seeing dollar signs from the firestorm they knew this would cause, and the viewership points they would get by what would happen when the first episode aired without him and what the family would say about it. They saw an opportunity to create drama, and boy, did they. Having said that, I will say this: I don't think their reaction had anything to do with a Christian's belief of homosexuality being sin. I think it had everything to do with what he said and how he worded it.
I really like the show Duck Dynasty and I like the people on it. I think that these people are in a unique position to share the Gospel on a large scale, an audience that most people would never have in their lifetime. I think they don't shy away from saying what they believe. I think they don't keep their Christianity a secret and being a Christian viewer of reality shows, I could see how many in their position have tried and failed to be reality stars who keep their Christian beliefs, yet somehow become changed by fame, fortune, and peer pressure from the networks. However, as Spiderman teaches us, "With great power comes great responsibility." As Christians, we should know, since Paul told us, we are held to a higher standard and are scrutinized more than any other group (as it should be). Being a Christian and following God's plan isn't always easy. In fact, sometimes, it's downright hard and unfair. So, we shouldn't be surprised when people are more upset and outraged at not-so-nice things that come out of our mouths. In fact, we should expect it, and act as such.
That being said...does that mean that we shy away or dilute what the Bible says so everyone can be happy with it? No. The Bible says what the Bible says. We believe in the Bible, so we believe what it says to be truth. If we stick to saying what the Bible says, people can't have a problem with the things that come out of our mouth. They can have a problem with the Bible, but not us. The issue a lot of times is that we mess that whole thing up by giving our personal opinion. This is what Phil did. He didn't just stop with a simple Biblical answer, he began to give his opinion (and I think, a somewhat vulgar opinion for a Christian believer) of why he thought homosexuality is wrong. You know, it's not necessary to add to what the Bible says. The Bible can speak for itself. We feel the need to either justify or go the extra mile for God, but the simple truth can sometimes be just as powerful. Another thing we tend to do as Christians, is allow the Bible to support our already messed up opinions, especially when what we think and what the Bible says is the same. "I think homosexuality is disgusting (insert all of what Phil said here), and I can tell people that because the Bible says it's wrong." Yes, you CAN tell people that. It doesn't mean you should.
As Americans, do we have the right to our opinions? Of course. But we are Christians FIRST, Americans second. Just because we have the right to say whatever we want doesn't mean we always need to. It doesn't mean it's always smart. And most importantly...
IT DOESN'T ALWAYS COMPLETE THE OBJECTIVE, WHICH IS SPREADING THE WORD AND LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.
In fact, sometimes, our opinions, NOT the Bible, but our opinions, turn people away from the word of God. I don't think if he'd just said, "I believe homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says so and I believe in the Bible" and then moved on to a different topic, that any of this would have been spread like this. I think people already figured he thought that. But he didn't. He kept going and it's what he went on to say that caused his ban. Not his Christian beliefs.
Unfortunately, what he ultimately did, is tarnish his name by making himself look unchristian and judgmental. And just like that, he is no longer respected as a Bible believing man, he will always be looked at negatively by those very people he created the show and try and save. It's the bigger picture, you see? The bigger religious picture. If our goal is to save people for Christ, and to preach the Biblical truth with love, empathy, and open arms, then he failed, not A&E. Not because he was sharing the truth, but because he allowed his own views and opinions to skew the message he is trying to share.
I just thought I'd go on record of saying that. Agree with me or not. Feel free to comment, as long as no disrespectful and vulgar language is used.