Paul Thompson blogs at “The Bridge.”
I’m a day late on the big A&E vs. Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) buzz. I have to admit that I actually don’t watch Duck Dynasty, not because it doesn’t have its merits, I just don’t pay money for TV. When I opened my Twitter and Facebook accounts this morning this was the topic of the day, yesterday and today. So, I’ve been busy catching up on the issue. After reading a few articles, I’ve decided that there is some misunderstanding about freedom of speech. I’ll agree with many that the decision to suspend Phil Robertson from the show seems to be a bad move by A&E. Then again, it’s their network.
It’s a good thing that we live in a country where a private company can say what they want. I respect that an owner of a company like Chick-fil-A has the right to freely speak and keep his business. I like that Hobby Lobby can stand against the government about health care requirements that violate their religious views. I like that Starbucks can say they don’t care about the market share of conservative Christians who believe the Bible and are allowed to stay in business after they say that. That’s a good thing.
No one is keeping Phil Robertson from speaking. I just read the article from the Chicago Tribune. No one is even censoring what he said… They are quoting him. No one has told Phil Robertson that he is no longer allowed to talk. As a matter of fact, I suspect that he will have more opportunities to talk than ever before. America, unless providentially hindered by God, you will hear (uncensored) Phil Robertson again.
Here raised a few thoughts for me. This decision by A&E will likely not cut into the market share of Duck Dynasty. Supporters will speak out, and have been. A&E has a right to air what they want within their legal privileges and contractual agreements to the preferences of their own market-share watching audience. I don’t watch A&E because I don’t pay for TV. I’m not offended that A&E did this.
No born-again believer, who’s reading their Bible, should be shocked. And yet every American citizen should be watching how this freedom of speech issue pans out in the end. Thus far, this is a private market issue. When it becomes a government issue is when your wide-eyed attention should not leave the issue alone.
This past month a cake baker in Colorado is facing government sanctions, fines and potential jail time if he doesn’t bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding in a state where homosexual weddings are illegal, at least for now. The court order, according the NBC, reports that the baker must “cease and desist from discriminating” against homosexuals.
For the past year and a half an American citizen, pastor, has been in an Iranian jail with little government intervention. These are issues that are of greater interest for me. When a government acts against or ignores the rights of my fellow countrymen my eyes look to the heavens. It is at this point that all Americans should have concern, all Americans.
I respect and appreciated seeing the support for Phil Roberson, I support his right to speak too. I expect him to continue to speak. I’ll hope that God will continue to bless their industry with success. But rest assured, no one has removed his liberty to speak. As a matter of fact the Chicago Tribune article cited the GQ interview that is due to be on magazine racks in January. I went and read the GQ article, there was little, if any, censoring of speech going on. I can’t reference it without warning the reader to be aware, there is some language issues that may not be appropriate for all ages.
Finally, I am watching this unfold with interest. I think it shows the Bible believer of the disdain of the carnal world for the things of God. Be aware, be prepared, there may be a moment for you to speak the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the most unexpected day as you advance the Gospel banner. There is an enemy of the cross. He is strong, but not stronger.
Don’t forget, faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a baker in Colorado facing government sanctions because he’s acting on conviction. Don’t forget, professor of Christianity, there is an American citizen, pastor, in jail in Iran, he’s been there for 18 silent months. Don’t forget, bible-reading God worshiper, we are warned of an enemy of the cross. When you speak out in support of a celebrity Christian who has a voice don’t forget the suffering faithful who are easily forgotten because they are not allowed a voice.