Friday, December 20, 2013

What the DUCK? Thoughts on the Outrage over Phil Robertson's Interview with GQ

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  
(1 Corinthians 13: 1-3)

By now, nearly everyone has heard about GQ magazine's recent interview with Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson and how Robertson, when was asked for his definition of sin responded, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” He continued by paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

GQ then goes on to explain that the Duck Dynasty family have been made "into ideal Christian icons..."

Christian icons. That alone is scary.

So ever since the article in GQ was released there has been an uproar from the gay community, and in response, A&E announced that Robertson would be suspended from upcoming Duck Dynasty episodes.

As one would expect, many in the Christian community have responded with an uproar all-their-own because their icon will no longer appear on the show. Thousands of Christians have joined Facebook groups and signed petitions for Robertson. On Christianity Today's website, Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer said that Robertson is "being censored and punished for quoting the Bible..."

To be honest, I am outraged too, but not because the Duck Dynasty "king" will no longer be on a show that I never watched. I am outraged because the majority of my fellow Christians are, once again, making a huge fuss over the wrong matter, shaking their fists at A&E and posting, "I stand with Phil Robertson" all over Facebook, as though a mighty injustice has been done to free speech, the right to religious beliefs, and that this ordeal is anti-Christian persecution. I won't go into the reasons why this perspective is sadly inaccurate, but you're welcome to read one of my favorite blogger's posts on the matter: "Real vs. Fake Christian Persecution: how to tell the difference".

Another reason I am outraged is because my fellow Christians are not outraged at the fact that here we have yet another horrible representation of a follower of Jesus! Don't we already have enough of these misleading "Christian icons" with The 700 Club, Joel Osteen, Mark Driscoll, Fox News and their kind? Mr. Robertson and those mentioned above are not spreading the gospel in the way Jesus instructed his followers.

And why the duck is the Christian community giving Robertson an oh-well-we-all-say-stupid-things-sometimes pass over the fact that he said "a vagina... has more there" and "She has more to offer." Is that not a completely disrespectful, undermining, sexually objectifying statement against women? If the pastor of your church said that in a magazine interview, would you be surprised that he was suspended from his position?

In a USA Today opinion piece, Steve Deace explains that this incident with Robertson is giving power to a 'tolerance' society who are trying to make American Christians afraid to publicly declare what the Bible says about sin, and well, this should trouble us, because Jesus never minced words when it came to sin, right?

It's funny, because when I take a good look through the gospels, I see that Jesus was often harsh and painfully honest when pointing out the sins... of the Pharisees, the Teachers of the Law, the hypocrites --those who believed themselves to be the ministers of God's word! Check out Matthew 23 to see what I mean.

On the other hand, when I read the gospels, I do not see Jesus speaking publicly with the same harsh tone he used with the Pharisees. Jesus was not a "bible-thumper" with the crowds, no, to them he proclaimed the love of the Father, admonished them to love one another, to forgive their enemies, and he kinda made a big deal about not judging one another.

While I am outraged at the many "Christian icons" misrepresenting the gospel, I am also thrilled that there is currently a person very much in the public eye: Pope Francis, who was just made person of the year in both Time and the LGBT magazine The Advocate!

Pope Francis is effectively drawing all kinds of people and renewing a global interest in God. How is he doing that? The answer is not hard to see: Pope Francis is actually demonstrating the Father's love! Yes, the Pope's open, loving, non-judgmental ways are truly impacting people, as well as upsetting many conservative, fundamental Christian leaders --and don't think for one moment that is a coincidence! If the Pope is getting the same kind of reaction from religious leaders that Jesus did while he was ministering on earth, then maybe we should take it as a sign that this way of spreading the gospel --with love, not with bible thumping-- is the way Jesus intended!

When it comes to his concerns for the church, Pope Francis recently said that his "hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, 'Give them something to eat.'"

Now that is something I believe is worthy of Christians to be upset about: the world around us is poor and starving, and there are more of us shouting protest for a man being thrown off his reality show than there are those who are raising their voices to help the people in our cities who have no home, no belongings, and no glorious dining-room table to place a roasted, wild duck upon.