Monday, December 30, 2013
Robertson Reinstated--What It Reveals About The Church And The Culture
In my blog article last Friday morning, I quoted the entertainment industry saying A&E Network would reverse their decision to suspend Phil Robertson from his family reality show, Duck Dynasty, within a week.
Friday evening, A&E reversed their decision. Phil has been reinstated after only a 9 day suspension and will not miss a single episode.
I have been saying in this column and on our daily live radio program that this issue is not about a television show---or even Phil Robertson the individual. It's about much more than that.
So, what is it about?
What does it reveal about the homosexual advocacy groups in America, the entertainment industry, the Christian church and Christians who are willing to risk taking a public stand on their biblical beliefs?
Variety, one of the two most influential trade magazines in the entertainment industry, featured this article on the matter. "Duck Dynasty Scramble Leaves A&E With Egg On It's Face."
Variety called A&E's statement on Friday "mealy-mouthed," and says the network has "webbed feet of clay."
The Hollywood Reporter, the other most influential trade journal, published a lengthy article on the reinstatement, highlighting that A&E seemed clueless in regard to the conservative Christian voice and community in America and failed miserably to manage the conflict.
They concluded it was a PR nightmare. The network's full statement can be seen in the link above.
One of A&E's promises to the homosexual community is that they will began an ad campaign promoting tolerance and that the Robertson family will support the effort.
Biblical tolerance is a very different matter than the so-called "tolerance," which means affirmation, demanded by the homosexual community.
Alan Robertson, one of Phil's sons and a pastor says, "Our family has become even closer through the past 9 days and we are excited to keep making a quality tv show for our dedicated fans, who have showed us wonderful support. We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through Duck Dynasty and our many projects that we are currently working on. The outpouring of support and prayer has encouraged and emboldened us greatly."
Here's what I think this episode was really about. And what we can take from it:
1. Forbes reported that the Duck Dynasty--Duck Commander brand does about $400 million in annual sales. And that was before this controversy. All retailers report a significant increase in Duck Commander products since the controversy.
Entertainment industry sources report that A&E network makes about $80 million in ad sales from the Duck Dynasty show.
A&E expected the Robertson family to cave and compromise on the issue and they didn't nor did they intend to do so.
A&E compromised their so-called "values"---the Robertson family did not.
For the industry it was about the money. For the Robertson family it was not.
According to Forbes and other sources, the Robertson family is already very wealthy.
2. The entertainment industry has become accustomed to Christians becoming upset over cultural issues, then over time, moving on and forgetting about the issue---not sustaining their opposition in measurable ways.
They have also grown accustomed to millions of Christians simply being silent on the cultural issues.
Things are changing.
A&E miscalculated the growing concern among Christians and conservatives regarding the negative impact the agenda of a very small minority of activists is having on the culture.
An agenda representing perhaps 5% of the American population has successfully redefined marriage and family in several states over the past two or three years.
They have also redefined words like "tolerance," "fairness" and "equality."
The activists see the issues relating to marriage and family as "political" while biblical Christians see them as "moral and spiritual."
The "Atlantic" magazine provides perhaps the best analysis I've seen of what really happened in this Robertson situation.
The Atlantic reported, "The show is about Robertson’s family and not about the families of A&E executives and those who write their press releases. Furthermore, Robertson, in making his comments, did not claim to represent A&E. As even the most casual viewer of the show can tell you, he claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. As such, is anyone really surprised to discover that the Duck Dynasty star is opposed to homosexuality on moral grounds? Apparently, the brass at A&E found it astonishing. Perhaps they should put down GQ and watch their own programming.What Robertson said is not inconsistent with a Christianity that sees the Bible as a source of Divine authority and inspiration."
The magazine continues, pointing out that "maybe A&E execs are attempting to avoid an uncomfortable truth."
"The truth," they say, "is that Robertson wasn't expressing his own personal views, but principles that are intrinsic to his own religion."
They say, "Robertson didn’t simply attack and disparage the sexual preferences of a minority, as Alec Baldwin recently did in a hateful rant. No, Robertson’s opinion—couched as it was in scriptural references that suggest he not only owns a Bible, but also reads it—reflects the teaching and practice of historic Christianity and, by extension, the opinion of a sizable portion of the American public."
One hundred fifty million people in America agree with him regarding biblical values and marriage. Every poll finds that 50% or more of Americans oppose redefining marriage and consider homosexual behavior "sin". This belief is based on biblical or religious teaching.
The Atlantic makes very clear reference to what the Bible actually says about the behavior.
GLADD and other homosexual advocacy groups are quick to put out statements that Robertson's views are not Christian or biblical.
That is becoming a hollow argument because the Bible clearly condemns the behavior as sin.
Even the Atlantic says, "The theologians at GLADD will have to do better because what Robertson said is 'not' inconsistent with a Christianity that sees the Bible as a source of Divine authority and inspiration---and Louisiana gun-toting evangelicals are not the only ones who embrace that Christianity."
Based on their thinking on the matter, Atlantic says "A&E would fire the Pope."
This episode has also turned on the lights and exposed the secular and religious left progressives for what they are:
The Atlantic article also addresses how words have been redefined and altered to remake the culture.
They write, "Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance, and acceptance is not the same thing as an endorsement. The message A&E’s decision sends is that the network will not tolerate someone who conscientiously objects to homosexuality on religious grounds. The implication of that message is that 45 percent of Americans should, in principle, be prepared either to sacrifice their jobs or recant their beliefs and endorse a lifestyle to which they are opposed, conscience be damned. To the extent that we embrace that implication, in television and in other American industries, we're also embracing an identity as a nation that forces conformity while calling it tolerance."
And finally we have more clearly seen the gulf between the biblically based beliefs of conservative Christians and the so-called "progressive left evangelicals."
The social media, Facebook and Twitter in particular, lit up on this issue with "progressive left Christians" lashing out at those who supported Robertson as they stood for religious freedom and biblical truth on the matter.
The religious left were calling on the evangelical church in America to "calm the duck down."
Because," they said, "when we act like fools, we are adding our foolishness to a legacy of foolishness that America's Church has become well-known for."
To suggest that defining sin according to Scripture as the basis for our need of redemption through Jesus Christ eliminates the possibility of reaching those who need Christ is both heresy and deception.
I addressed this in Friday's Blog. If you did not read it please do.
The sum of their position is that biblical Christians are making fools of themselves and alienating homosexuals and others whom the church should be winning through love.
I do not believe the "winds of change" are blowing yet in our culture, but I sense a breeze---an awakening to what is happening in our culture.
May that awakening continue. Thank you to all who stand with us as we stand for biblical Truth.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.