Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Op-Eds

News Opinion Op-Eds

'Duck Dynasty' flap: A boon for the political outrage machine

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 and make sure all the boxes were "ticked" 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 read or 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 (up to 14 million viewers), quickly issues an apology and "full support" for the LGBT community. Check.

-- Louisiana Governor 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 Governor Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Texas Republican Senator 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 their say? Has anything changed? It might, if the Robertson family carries through on its implied threat to "walk" from the show if Phil is not allowed to continue on "Duck Dynasty." I don't know what their contract allows, but if it permits them 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. That list, by the way, includes "all liars," which should put the fear of God into most politicians. (See Revelation 21:8)

Other passages say Christians should expect persecution, even hate, because Jesus said they would. "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18) and "In the world you will have tribulation" (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 syndicated columnist. He can be reached at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

 

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • 'Duck Dynasty' and PC bullying [Letter]

    'Duck Dynasty' and PC bullying [Letter]

    I came across The Sun's editorial regarding "Duck Dynasty" while searching the Internet to sign Mike Huckabee's petition supporting Phil Robertson ("Ruffling feathers, Dec. 23). I grew up near Baltimore, am an independent, went to prestigious universities in the East and am a Phi Beta Kappa. I...

  • Outrage over Duck Dynasty 'reality' star's comment smacks of artificiality

    Outrage over Duck Dynasty 'reality' star's comment smacks of artificiality

    The feigned shock that an avatar of the redneck renaissance might actually have politically incorrect or just plain religiously orthodox views on homosexuality is ridiculous

  • Under Armour inundated with 'Duck Dynasty' fan mail

    Under Armour inundated with 'Duck Dynasty' fan mail

    Under Armour may not want to talk about "Duck Dynasty," but fans of the now controversial reality show took to the Baltimore-based company's social media accounts this weekend to praise Under Armour for sticking by the embattled franchise.

  • Could a state property tax cap stimulate Baltimore's economy?

    Could a state property tax cap stimulate Baltimore's economy?

    When Gov. Larry Hogan announced his rejection of the Red Line, an east-west rail transit line in Baltimore City, he seemed to derail the high hopes of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and many other supporters of the $2.9 billion project. "He canceled a project," lamented the mayor, "that would have...

  • Urban America should give up on the Democrats

    Urban America should give up on the Democrats

    In my lifetime (I was born in 1950), the Democrats have had an extraordinary opportunity to run some of America's largest cities and apply their brand of liberal policies to the social and economic problems that have plagued them. Look at the history in just eight of these cities, according to...

  • Inequality of opportunity in the U.S.A.

    Inequality of opportunity in the U.S.A.

    We like to tell ourselves stories about the virtues of America, particularly as Independence Day rolls around each year. There is, perhaps, no better example than the story we tell our children that no matter your race, gender or wealth, in America you can become anything you want to be. This particular...

Comments
Loading

73°