There’s an issue that’s recently divided our nation. It’s on Facebook, Twitter, the news. It has been the subject of heated debate nationwide. I’m not talking about gay marriage, abortion, or immigration, although some of those might be related. I’m talking about a couple bearded men who love ducks…and Jesus.
I usually shy away from anything controversial, but in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty, I feel compelled to comment.
For those of you that haven’t followed the story, the initial controversy was regarding statements Robertson made to GQ magazine. He made several inflammatory comments. One comment made likened homosexuality to bestiality. In another, Robertson claimed that not only did he understand the plight of African-American slaves in the South, they were happy under slavery. Gay rights groups were infuriated by the homosexuality comment, and A&E briefly suspended filming of Duck Dynasty, before reinstating it a couple weeks later. More recently, Robertson has again been brought to the spotlight, as a 2009 video of him speaking about marriage to a group of young men has surfaced. In the video, Robertson advises men to marry women that are young, like “15 or 16,” because women who are older are a greater drain on one’s finances. This has again stirred the pot of the DD debate.
I have a couple thoughts about the whole incident. First, A&E is a business, and as such, they can make decisions on what to air in the same way that employers choose who to hire or fire. So, by A&E initially suspending filming, they were not in in any way violating first amendment rights. They were simply choosing to make a business decision. I find it sad that A&E chose to put profits before defending its company values (by reinstating filming shortly after suspending it), but regardless, A&E gets to make that decision.
Second, I’m personally upset by the claims that the men of DD are “bringing Christ back to America.” It may be just my perspective on it, but the Bible states that all of the glory should go to Him, not oneself. I feel like Robertson’s attempts to make a spectacle of the situation don’t really fall under that edict. I suppose it’s up for interpretation where the line should be drawn between sharing your beliefs and using Christ to promote yourself, but I don’t know that getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise TV ratings through making such inflammatory statements counts as giving glory to God instead of oneself.
I also feel that many of the things he and other cast members have said aren’t biblically based. Statements such as that African-Americans in the South were happy under slavery and that things were “godly” during the pre-civil rights era or that men should marry young women who are 15 or 16 so they cost less and can do more of the man’s dirty work don’t seem Christ-inspired to me. They seem uninformed and offensive.
I’m all for freedom of speech, but I think we should question how much attention we’ve paid to Robertson and the other DD stars. Phil Robertson has been quoted as saying, “If I can’t speak my mind, this isn’t America.” Well, Phil, you can certainly speak your mind, we just don’t have to give you airtime to do it.