Sunday, December 29, 2013

Duck Dynasty: How Then Should We Christians Deal With This?

It has become almost a national fascination. In the first day I hear about it on HLN, I become outraged that an individual's right to free speech was supposedly being violated and censored. He had been suspended from his TV show? What? Over making a few comments? Without even being a fan of the show of the question or actually reading the offensive comments for myself, I made the supposed victim's picture my Facebook profile pic for a few hours. That evening, I saw a Facebook post that made it clear that many of us had "jumped the gun" and been duped by the media hype about this supposedly persecuted individual. After a quick Google search and reading the actual comments, I removed the Facebook profile pic. Still, some in my friends list still continue to champion "the cause" and several have continued to keep the said person's pic up.

What is Duck Dynasty all about?

First of all, I'm not a fan of the Duck Dynasty show or of any TV show, for that matter. There are news talk shows that I view when others in my household turn them on. The eve before that day, Duck Dynasty actually came to my attention in the form of a Facebook message inbox request to sign a petition for a person named Phil Robertson, who was still totally unfamiliar to me. Only when HLN covered him and his situation the next day did I sign the petition, and change my Facebook profile pic to Robertson. I did that because he had been suspended by A & E, according to HLN, over making controversial remarks about accepting Christ as one's Savior, and that homosexuality, like all other sins, will be judged by God in the form of sending the sinning persons to a place called hell. We in the Christian community are, today, must reckon with the GLBT issue, knowing that the family has been re-defined as anything we want it to be, whether between man and wife, unmarried people, or people of the same sex. Sadly, we in the Christian community are almost as divided about the GLBT issue as the general community. Thus this show is, according to my understanding, a now controversial reality show that focuses on "Christian right" views, and has support among those who pride themselves on holding "Conservative family values." I'm not aware of anyone in my family or among in our social circles, who have ever mentioned that they view this show or are its fans.

Why the Controversy Over This Show?

The controversy about Duck Dynasty as almost as divisive as the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case had been (and still is). The differences exist along party lines, and less so, among racial and class lines. Robertson had denounced, in no uncertain terms, homosexuality as a lifestyles, lumping it with other sins, including bestiality (sexual intercourse with animals). This offends GLBT persons as well as their allies. Also, Robertson made very hurtful slurs about Blacks, proceeding to opine that they were actually happier when they were segregated, and so-called entitlements did not exist for them "to depend on." This caused an uproar in the Black community and among their allies. Those slurs were un-Christlike, ungodly, and totally un-called for! Many of us in the Christian community, at least initially, took up the Duck Dynasty cause because of Robertson's stance against GLBT lifestyles. He remains seen as a hero by loyal supporters of "conservative religious right" views. It is all viewed as an illustration of "the culture war" between "liberal Democrats" and "conservative Republicans." We all know that the GLBT issue is a "hot button" controversy, hitting upon core beliefs of how we view love and the family. This holds as true among us in the Christian community as among those in the general community, as we are just as affected as we face our culture. We know that talk of racism is controversial and can be intense and seen as "race baiting" to merely address the race issue. Duck Dynasty is a symptom, not a cause, or our divided US.

What Does This Mean For Us As Christians?

We Christians need to realize that societal controversies, including Duck Dynasty, are just symptoms of what is wrong with us. We know that sin is the ultimate problem, though the world calls it other things. We may like to call it a "culture war," and denounce the moral decay that we see around us. But are we in a "culture war"? Are we actually in a spiritual war? Maybe instead of focusing on the moral ills that we oppose, we should focus on sharing, exalting, and shouting out the love, truth, glory, and awesomeness of the God Whom we love! Yes, we are to hate evil and to speak out against it in appropriate situations, as we sense God's guidance to do that. Those of you Christians who support GLBT rights and feel that "the Christian right" have gotten extremist and hateful do have a point! Too many GBLT people have ended their lives because they felt unloved, judged, and condemned by God and by Christians. Delivery of a hard-hitting message, such as the teaching of human sin and its consequences, must be delivered with compassion and great care! Failure to do this only turns off people, and they have every right to castigate us Christians as unloving and judgmental. But I kindly ask you who call yourself "Christian liberals" who support "GLBT equal rights" to read the Scriptures with an open mind about what God really says about GLBT lifestyles, in the New Testament book of Romans. But back to Duck Dynasty, we Christians should do our research about what Robertson actually said before hailing him as a hero or a persecuted victim.

How Then Should We Respond?

We ought to respect those who disagree with us about Duck Dynasty and about Robertson, As Christians bound by the Bible, we ought to search the Scriptures (like the NT book of Romans), to see what God says about GLBT lifestyles. We know that racism is a sin and we have to stop pretending that it is dead. We all believe in the right to free speech, and most people understand Duck Dynasty to be about this. But is it? Have we considered that we may be getting distracted from far more serious problems that actually affect us, unlike Duck Dynasty? Or do we actually, in a way, enjoy and derive entertainment from the controversy and the element of scandal in the whole matter? We in the US face the stark reality that our nation may deploy troops into South Sudan, one of the most dangerous spots in the world. Children and adults continue to go missing and many are killed daily, by a wide variety of means. Every day, three children die from child abuse. We Christians should face the sad fact that daily, hourly, and minute by minute, people die without Christ. I can go on and on. This is not to mention what goes on throughout the rest of the world! In light of this, maybe we should refocus, whatever our views of Duck Dynasty is, on the people and issues we love, instead of what we oppose. As I write, Robertson has been accepted back onto his show, which I know will not end the controversy. Many of us thrive on scandal or controversy. Is this not so?

What do you think?

The above photo of Phil Robertson is provided by his Facebook page, and can be found here.

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