Yesterday A&E announced that they were reinstating Phil Robertson as part of the massively popular show, Duck Dynasty. If, by some chance, you missed the whole kerfuffle and brou-haha, due to the fact that you’re part of a strict, isolationist Amish sect, it can be boiled down to this: In an interview with GQ Magazine, Phil Robertson made some rather coarse remarks in which he condemned homosexuality and sort of supported Jim Crow laws.
Needless to say, the entire Internet exploded when Phil’s remarks were published. The gay community was offended and called for the suspension of Phil Robertson, which A&E quickly did. The Christian conservative community was offended, and created all sorts of petitions for the reinstatement of Phil Roberts. Lots of blog posts and Tweets and Facebook posts were furiously banged out by folks on both sides of the argument.
As I reflect on the entire situation, a few things stand out to me. Does it bother me that Phil Robertson made some unhelpful comments which offended both my gay friends and my African-American friends? Yes. Absolutely. The things Phil said were not particularly helpful in bridging the gap between the Christian community and the gay community. I’d recommend you read Wesley Hill’s piece, “What Phil Robertson Gets Wrong“, to deepen your perspective on this issue. I’m really grateful for Wesley and his commitment to talk openly about homosexuality without straying from the orthodox teaching of scripture.
Does it bother me that Phil Robertson was so quickly suspended for the remarks he made? Yes. Absolutely. Tolerance no longer means the freedom to say something which offends someone. Tolerance now means we must accept everything as being good, just, and true. I would recommend you read Russell Moore’s piece, “Duck Dynasty”, to deepen your perspective on the need for true tolerance.
But there is one thing that stands out to me more than anything else: We Christians need to distribute our moral outrage more appropriately.
Conservative Christians were absolutely outraged over Phil Robertson’s suspension. I mean, we seriously flipped out, taking to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, the radio, and even television to voice our disgust. And while I understand the need for clear-headed dialog on issues related to civil liberties, I think it would behoove (I’ve always wanted to use that word) us as Christians to distribute our outrage a little more evenly.
I don’t hear a whole lot of moral outrage regarding the issue of pornography. I hear a lot of talk about the need to stay away from porn, but I don’t hear much by way of outrage. We should be really, really outraged about porn. I would venture to say that porn is destroying more men, boys, and families than homosexuality and polygamy combined. We should be outraged at the damage being done by pornography. I would love to see more men standing up to the porn industry and telling it to go to Hell (literally). I would love to see more men beating the crap out of the porn industry.
I don’t hear a whole lot of moral outrage regarding the plight of young girls caught in the sex-trafficking industry. The fact that sex-trafficking even exists should fill us with a holy, flipping the tables in the temple, kind of anger. I confess, I’m often apathetic to the whole issue. That shouldn’t be the case. We should be just as furious about sex-trafficking as we were about Duck Dynasty. Actually, we should be more furious.
Until the recent case of Kermit Gosnell, I didn’t hear much moral outrage regarding the issue of abortion. Occasionally something would come up that would temporarily fire us up, but then we would return to business as normal. We Christians should be absolutely flipping out regarding abortion. I’m grateful for all the work being done for the cause of life, but I don’t sense the same level of outrage and urgency about abortion as I did about Duck Dynasty. That simply should not be the case. Every day thousands and thousands of babies are straight-out killed. Executed. Murdered. Now that is something truly worthy of outrage.
I don’t hear much moral urgency regarding those who have no access to the gospel. Every day thousands of people die without ever hearing about Jesus Christ. Those who die apart from Christ go to Hell. That reality is both a travesty and a tragedy. I would love to see more men and women (including me!) outraged at Satan’s opposition to the gospel, and determined to take Jesus to the lost.
Should we be happy about the Duck Dynasty “victory”? I don’t know. I guess it’s a good thing in terms of religious liberty. But I would love to see more churches and Christians (myself included!) fired up about something more important than a reality television show. Every day millions of men and women look at porn, thousands of girls are caught in sex-trafficking, thousands of babies are executed, and millions of people die without the gospel.
Let’s get fired up about the things that really matter.