Christianity has flared up in the news in the form of Phil Robertson, one of the beloved stars of the massively popular Duck Dynasty. For those of you who are unaware (and quite likely finding shelter in a cave), GQ writer Drew Magary recently wrote an article for the company’s website about an interview he did with Mr. Robertson. The controversy that this article sparked was largely because of a quote from Phil regarding homosexuality. Phil was not exactly supportive of the homosexual lifestyle, and this blogpost does not seek to affirm or condemn such a lifestyle. Instead, I’d like to use this issue as a platform to jump into two different problems, though ones that are related to this issue..
The first problem is the “sin” that I would guess most who used the hashtag #standwithphil or in someway voiced their support or opposition to Robertson’s comments is guilty of: not reading the original source from which the controversy originally stemmed. In today’s era of sound bytes and quote clippings, most don’t spend the time to read lengthy articles. It’s easier to have someone else give a summary or just grab onto the main points. This stance ignores one crucial part: Looking at only part of an article or listening to part of a speech means you miss the context of what is happening. In the case of this article, many saw Phil’s paraphrasing of 1 Corinthians and immediately jumped to conclusions. However, Phil made had other quotes that were cited in the article as him expressing his love for everyone. In fact, Phil does not believe in judging the eternal ramifications of one’s actions as he believes God is the only judge. This is not to say that what Phil said was right, but it is important that, as digesters of information, we digest the full nutritional content of an article and don’t skimp on the veggies, if you catch my meaning.
It might be said that this blogpost is an inherent contradiction to what I am arguing against. This might have merit, but I highly encourage you to go read the whole post before drawing your own conclusions. It is too easy to take things out of context and make them mean something different from what the speaker meant to say. Only part of meaning can be derived from lexical interpretation. It is completely necessary that we use contextual interpretation to its full capacity as well. Of course, this goes far beyond the Phil Robertson saga. In short, don’t subject others to your opinion until you’ve taken the time to find the original source of the controversy and develop an educated view of what is actually happening in that situation.
The second problem that this PR nightmare has brought out is the ignorance of, or at least gross misinterpretation of our Nation’s First Amendment to the Constitution – of course concerning freedom of speech. This fine amendment keeps congress from making any law restricting freedom of speech or the practice or religion. Has Phil Robertson been put in jail or been detained by the government in any fashion? Has he been in anyway punished by any sort of legislative measure? No, you say? Then how in this world is this a first amendment issue? A&E, the network on which Duck Dynasty is aired, has every right to suspend Robertson as everything he says is directly associated with their network and their brand. Phil Robertson is an employee of A&E and is a de facto spokesperson for them. Though Robertson is a professing Christian, A&E is not in any way, shape, or form a Christian company and it is ridiculous to try and hold non-Christian companies to Christian standards. Especially Christian standards that are so controversial. This is not to say that Christian morals are wrong, as I am a firm believe in Christian ideals, but I’m not going to push that on other people. Did Jesus do that? No, he told us to love people. A&E decided that Robertson’s comments hurt their company and/or violated an agreement they had with Robertson. An indefinite suspension is completely within their to suspend Robertson and it in no way violates any sort of Constitutional Amendment.
Now each of these issues are separate and probably deserve their own posts, but in light of the events concerning the Robertson, I thought it was appropriate to throw in my peanut gallery opinions. Don’t make a judgement on something until you’ve thoroughly read and understood it; and don’t make this into a political issue. It’s not.