This is the first post of the blog…I hope there to be many more from here.
The events of the last few days have found my social media feeds to be blowing up with information, opinions, and all sorts of things. Of course, at the top of this list is Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Phil was indefinitely suspended after making remarks in an interview with GQ that his employer, A&E, did not like. That is what is at the crux of the argument. I won’t even get into the content of what he said, because all of you reading this are smart enough to go find it if you want to read it.
Phil’s comments, while not as exactly “vile” to me as to some (I’m not the one receiving them, so of course they aren’t), aren’t exactly friendly either. He later goes on to apologize, talking about respecting others, and other things that one should do…which is what he should have talked about in the first place. Well Phil, your employer didn’t like your comment and suspended you. Let’s tackle this one from a legal standpoint. Entertainment contracts can be terminated at any time, and that’s what they did. I’m keeping the morality out of this part of things. If you look at what happened, A&E’s actions are both legal and will stand. They didn’t like the backlash from what he said, and thought it might cause undue hardship upon the company, and so they suspended him. Contracts can supersede federal law in some cases (The NFL draft being a large one, that technically violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act). Look at it this way. His celebrity has exploded because A&E decided to have him sign a contract and become what amounts to a ‘product’ of A&E(or whatever company made the contract he signed, but I’m going to say A&E for simplicity here). A&E spent money developing the show, promoting the show, and his show developed a brand. A&E decided that his remarks went just a little too far, and thought that those remarks might damage the brand and reputation that A&E had helped to build. Therefore, A&E decided to terminate his contract. A&E is fully within their rights to do so.
One argument that many religious people are making at the core of all of this is that Phil’s right to free speech was violated. However, that is not the case. Phil is absolutely free to speak his mind on any topic he so chooses, but he must live with the reaction to that topic. I’m not saying he’s wrong or right about the verses he quotes, but from an objective eye, the network was legally justified in what they did. Will it result in terrible backlash, loss of viewers,and loss of profits? Quite possibly. But that’s not what my post is about – there are tons of those out there already. My point is that you could look at this situation from a host of perspectives, but unless you deal specifically with laws and regulations, you’re dealing with an opinion about either his speech, the merits of his suspension, or the “attack on Christianity in America”.
Free speech is not in any danger in this situation. Phil has not lost his speech or his ability to post any type of speech he wants. He can posts on his website, he can take more interviews, and do many other things to say what he wants to say. To say that his free speech was inhibited is a weak argument, and fails to address the bigger issue here; the issue of respect – which both sides of the internet are failing to adhere to. I am a Christian, and I may not agree with many of my friends when it comes to certain issues, even with other Christians. I am not an expert in the Bible, nor am I an expert in law, or am I in any way a perfect example of a Christian. However, I feel like many Christians are adopting an attitude of “woe is me, my beliefs are under attack or question” when it comes to these issues. Believing what you want is fine. Telling people what you believe and why you believe it is fine. However, judging people based off of what they believe or don’t believe in is not. This first part might come off as an attack towards my own religion, but it’s something that I really do see every day(luckily, I also see examples of the opposite from many of my friends). I see loads of name-calling, people telling others they are going to hell, they are wrong, etc (I’m not using the worst examples here for a reason, because they are horrible). They speak about liberals and gays and people like they are all one big group that wants to bring about some sort of blasphemous hell on Earth. News flash, Christian brethren: For one, that is not their agenda. Second, your agenda should be to spread the love of God. Your job is not to be judge, jury, or executioner(I believe that’s in a book somewhere…). What disappoints me in this most is that many of the judges, bullies, or many other people that LGBT come into contact with claim to be Christians. Suicide rates in LGBT teens is much higher than normal. Now, during the writing of this, I have stumbled upon more people tweeting their disdain for A&E and their actions, doing so with tweets such as this one from Clayton James Hughes (@ClaytonHughes7):
“Some faggot got his feelings hurt and complained, so Phil can’t be on Duck Dynasty anymore because he publicly agreed with the Holy Bible!”
Don’t get me wrong here; I know there are many insane examples of name-calling and mud-slinging by both sides, but I identify with one and not the other, obviously, since I am a straight male and Christian, so my focus is there. To sum up what I would say to the LGBT community, it would be this. Take everything you hear/read with a grain of salt, and do not jump to conclusions quickly. Do not attack the attackers. And here’s one for the both of you: If you want respect, give it! I will never respect someone who does not respect others. If your focus is on the kingdom of God, keep it there. Do not think you can be a judge and jury. That is not your calling. (Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”). Your calling is to love one another. I use 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 as the best example of this. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade it’s self, it is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, ensures all things. Love never fails.”
And with that, I say welcome to the blog.
I welcome comments, but I expect things to stay civil, and if they don’t, they will be deleted.