Phil Robertson Overload


A lot has been said about Phil Robertson, patriarch of the infamous Robertson family from their show Duck Dynasty. I personally, enjoyed the show greatly for a couple of seasons. I have no interest in writing a long blog post on this whole kerfuffle. Social media hasn’t been this obnoxious sense the last Election Cycle.

With that said, I do want to point you all to some blog posts I have read on the issue. There is a lot of great posts and a lot of ridiculously awful posts. Below are some responses that I believe to be productive, helpful voices in this whole debacle. They don’t all approach the topic in the same way, but that is why I wanted to highlight several. Let’s strive for well rounded-Godward thoughts on this.

Doug Wilson (his posts were my favorite- read both)

L’affaire Robertson

I thank the Lord for the clear-headed and straightforward way Phil Robertson quoted a Bible he was not ashamed of. In this, he puts a lot of Reformed theothinkers with large foreheads into the shade. One redneck out in public just went and said it. He didn’t refer it to a study commission. He didn’t circumlocute the heck of it. He didn’t get well-known authors to blurb the comments he was about to make (for many of them, had they been asked, would have declined to do so). He didn’t check in with the feelings of Rachel Held Evans beforehand. He just went and said it.

The Scars on Your Forearms

But the lack of self-awareness in this criticism is staggering. These are shepherds who feed only themselves (Ezek. 34:2). When shepherds have neglected the flock for so long, and the wolves are ravaging them, and the sheep come up with some kind of strategy to defend themselves, and the shepherds sit up on the ridge, laughing at the tactical inadequacy of what the sheep are attempting, what shall we call that?

So what do we need? We don’t need generals. We have that. We need generals who fight. We don’t need leadership councils. We have those. We need national leaders who fight. We don’t need pretty boy preachers. We have those. We need preachers who fight. We don’t need evangelical regiments of pajamaboys. We have that. We need fight, and we need to fight with everything we have — heart, strength, and brains. All in.

Russell Moore 

Duck Dynasty?

We’re a divided country on sexual issues. That’s why every news cycle brings more controversy. Why not engage one another, and have the debates in a civil fashion, without attempting to silence one another. I don’t agree with David Letterman’s views on divorce and cohabitation, but I don’t want him suspended for voicing them. I’ll bet I don’t agree with MTV’s Nev Schulman of the popular Catfish show on sexual ethics, but it wouldn’t put me in the fetal position under the table to hear him voice them.

Stephen Miller

It’s Not Us Against Them

If we are going to be hated, it should be for the sake of Christ, not because we are obnoxiously insisting on our freedom. Our freedom is not of this world. We have a greater liberty than any nation or legislation could give us.

Each of us has the right and freedom to share the gospel with anyone and everyone. We do not need a celebrity mouthpiece. We can declare the good news courageously and compassionately to our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. We should each proclaim it with wisdom and passion, without shame, for it is the power of God to save from the eternal agony of being separated from himself.

Marty Duren

Are there any LGBT community members who support free speech? 

Does the LGBT community believe in the First Amendment for all Americans, or only those who believe like them? There have been many people who have fought and died in defense of the Constitution, in defense of the right of the LGBT community to do exactly what Phil Robertson and many others call “sin.” Many of these who fought and died believed exactly like Robertson. They died to protect the freedoms people with whom they agreed and disagreed.

7 thoughts on “Phil Robertson Overload

  1. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    The first amendment doesn’t protect you from your bosses firing you or from being skewered in the court of public opinion. The government didn’t send someone from the FCC to to A&E and tell them to fire him.

    It really bothers me that the first amendment always gets thrown around in cases like this when it’s not actually being attacked. The LGBT community is exercising their rights to be angry and loud about it, just the same as people on the other side.

    • Andy,

      I agree. There is no legal attack on the 1st Amendment here. I think what bothers people is that only one type of voice (evangelical) feels heat when they state their beliefs. A&E was well within their rights to suspend Phil.

      I think Marty Duren’s bigger point was, ” Why aren’t anyone in the LGBT community speaking up and defending Robertson’s rights to say what he believes?”

      Flip the script- I don’t want anyone in the LGBT Community fired from their job just because they say negative things about Christians. We ought to be a little more secure in our beliefs (everyone) than to want people fired for having opposing views.

  2. Matt,

    He already has the right to say what he believes, so it doesn’t need defending. They are responding because they feel insulted, in the same way Christians felt insulted when the Starbucks CEO said “if you don’t like gay marriage, sell stock in our company.” We aren’t defending the LGBT groups right to be angry and boycott.

    I feel like a better response instead of defending someone who really doesn’t deserve defending, would be to condemn the inappropriate way he tried to get his message across while highlighting the positive things he said.

    And I don’t think flipping the script in this case would really work, if a coworker at my job publicly said anything that inappropriate, they would get fired. People have been fired for calling a user a ‘dumbass’ at my job, so if someone publicly said ‘I’m a representative of this company and I think that straight sex is gross, gay sex all the way!” they would be fired within hours.

    • Andy,

      I feel like I have read several articles from Evangelics stating that the LGBT community and A&E are well within their right to be angry and voice that anger. They are just also saying, “Why can’t our voices get equal respect?”

      Whether Christians ought to be striving so hard after that is another story. Stories like these are simply more examples of Christians trying to learn to adjust to a Post-Christian America. In 5 years I think we will overall be responding much better to these types of things.

      Did you read Russell Moore’s article?

      He is essentially asking, “Can’t we have better dialogue than firing people and then having cultural upheaval every time we voice our disagreements? Can’t we learn to better have a dialogue on these things?”

      • Matt,

        I did read Russell Moore’s article and I do disagree with several of his points. A&E is not in the business of dialogue, they are the business of money, and they made the decision(whether it was the right one or not, time will tell) that it was better for it’s public image and therefore bottom line to suspend him based on his remarks (which I’m seeing a lot less outrage over his racial remarks, but that is a whole other thing).

        I don’t think Christians in general on social media are in the business of ‘creating dialogue.’ We just come to the defense of the person making the remarks and vilify the other side saying ‘they don’t support free speech, we should be able to say whatever we want without any negative response whatsoever!; (obviously this is a generalization)

        In their eyes (no matter how wrong it may be), we are the oppressors of their rights, not the other way around. We are the ones taking away their rights(or what they perceive as their rights), so they scoff at the idea that they are the ones trying to silence us, when they have been silenced by us for so long. They are the ones getting bullied, losing jobs, not getting jobs, losing contact with family members and not getting to marry who they want to. While we worship openly and have affected government policy the entire history of our country, with 44 consecutive Christian presidents.

        Every “I support Phil Robertson” share on facebook, instagram, or twitter is a slap in the face to every single gay person who has been bullied or vilified in some way. Phil Robertson doesn’t need our support for the crass things he said about gay sex. We should be apologizing for how he said what he said, and sharing the love of Christ. Phil Robertson has plenty of support, he has his family, he has his money, he has his church, and he has our entire countries history of pro-Christian policy and bias as support.

      • Andy,

        While that is true about some Christians, it is certainly not true for all- especially the likes of Russell Moore (he is the president of the ERLC). As you noted your own generalization you are right to recognize the tendency of many Christians to simply defend “their side” and vilify others- no matter what the issue. This definitely needs to be owned by Christians. It should also be recognized that many Christians work hard to go beyond that.

        This is, of course, isn’t to say that more secularly minded people don’t do the exact same thing and have a whole lot more fire power behind them.

        I appreciate your perspective here, Andy. It is a hard line to balance on issues like this. I can obviously see how Robertsons words were offensive to the gay community. At the same time we, as Christians, are going to say things that are offensive because of what we believe. We should be able to have a bold, bluntness with our beliefs (Doug Wilsons entire point). At the same time, we don’t want to be unnecessarily offensive. We want the gospel to offend, not how we deliver the message.

        While I agree, mostly, with your sentiment about Phil Robertson “not needing our support” there is an important question to wrestle with: “Where does it end?”

        If Phil Robertson can get suspended(maybe fired) for having an opinion in line with the Bible on the issue of sexuality who is to say that doesn’t continue? How do we know that down the road Christians can’t get employment because of their biblical beliefs? I think the “support and defend Phil” is really coming from an idea of, “Support the idea that people should be able to work jobs even though they hold views that secular America doesn’t like.” As Dr. Moore’s article tries to get at- we don’t want to live in a society where we simply strong arm one another and can’t have dialogue about our differences.

  3. Andy,

    One of my reasons for posting these different approaches to this issue was to show the diversity of responses amongst evangelicals. Douglas Wilsons responses seemed to resonate most with me (while I still appreciated the others) and it appears Stephen Miller’s approach is more where you are coming from. Not sure if you read it, but it is very good.

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