A 'Duck Dynasty' checklist
The outrage industry was in high dudgeon just before Christmas over remarks “Duck Dynasty” family patriarch, Phil Robertson, made to GQ magazine about homosexuality. Outrage is the primary ingredient for political fundraising and political power. One must always have an enemy.
Let's go down the “I Take Offense” checklist before considering a larger point.
• Liberal New York writer goes slumming among the hayseeds in Louisiana and deliberately creates a controversy by asking a Bible-loving Christian to define sin. Check.
• Bible-reading Christian quotes from that book and is condemned by those who don't believe what it says or have a different “interpretation” (same thing). Check.
• The A&E Network, on which the highest-rated cable TV show is shown, quickly issues an apology and “full support” for the LGBT community. Check.
• Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issues a statement noting that the twerking Miley Cyrus gets laughs, while Phil Robertson is put on indefinite hiatus. Check.
• The right to free speech is defended amidst allegations that quoting the Bible promotes hate and violence against gays. Check.
• Various high-profile Christians, among them former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, denounce the “double standard” when it comes to their beliefs and the tolerance, even promotion, of beliefs and practices anathema to them. Check.
• Both sides send out fundraising appeals that ask for contributions to (pick one) fight the intolerance, hate and bigotry of the fundamentalists and their Republican allies (liberals), or keep America from sliding into the moral and cultural pit from anti-God Christian bashers (conservatives). Check. Check.
There. Now does everyone feel better? Has everyone had his say? Has anything changed? It might, if the Robertson family “walks” from the show if Phil is not allowed to continue on “Duck Dynasty.” I don't know what the contract allows, but if it permits the Robertsons to leave or if they are fired “for cause,” they are likely to “walk” their hit show and its huge audience to another network.
Now to the larger point. Christians who read the Bible, as Phil Robertson does, should be aware of verses other than the ones that list people it says can't enter God's Kingdom apart from faith in Jesus, who changes behavior and forgives the past. Other passages say Christians should expect persecution, even hate, because Jesus said they would (John 15:18, John 16:33).
Christians should not “demand” respect and “tolerance” for their beliefs when their leader said to expect the opposite. Sure, they can point out hypocrisy (it is something in which they occasionally engage), but they should be known less for what they are against than who they are for.
Condemnation ought not to be the first words out of their mouths when it comes to the beliefs and lifestyles of others. Quite the opposite. Phil Robertson must be familiar with this verse: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). Here's a New Year's prediction: “Duck Dynasty” will be back with Phil Robertson, either on A&E or another network. When it returns, the ratings will be even higher and the profits larger. As Sy Robertson might put it, “And that's a fact, Jack.”
Cal Thomas is a columnist for USA Today.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
- Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
- After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
- McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
- Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
- Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
- Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally
- Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
- Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
- Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
- Making environmentalism divisive