Well, that’s certainly a headline that is likely to ruffle some feathers with my conservative Christian friends. Unless you’ve been hidden under a rock this week, you are familiar with the decision that A&E television has made regarding Phil Robertson. After sharing his personal and biblical beliefs on homosexuality in a magazine interview, A&E made the decision to suspend Phil from the Duck Dynasty show indefinitely. The questions posed to Phil, the outrage over his answers, nor the decision of A&E should shock anyone. I’m certain Phil would tell you that shooting a duck sitting on the water is much easier than shooting one in flight. Well, the Robertson family have been sitting ducks for some time now. Eventually, someone would ask a question to test their commitment to their faith, and someone else would be offended by the answer causing them to ignite into a public temper tantrum – and therein lies the problem.
Leadership requires the ability to identify the real problem that needs to be solved. All too often, focus is placed on the symptoms of the problem, and therefore the problem isn’t solved. Using the “controversy” regarding Phil Robertson and A&E, let me point out how so many are focused on the symptoms and totally ignoring the real problem.
It’s currently impossible to navigate your way through Facebook or Twitter without encountering posts proclaiming the Phil’s first amendment rights are being violated. The outcry regarding first amendment rights are simply a symptom of the problem. The first amendment guarantees an American citizen the freedom to say whatever they like without the fear of persecution from the government. The government isn’t involved in this situation at all, thus this can’t be a first amendment issue.
GQ Set A Trap
Less vocal than the first amendment violation cries, but nonetheless being proclaimed loudly is the idea that GQ had no right to ask such controversial questions. Well, wait a minute, to suggest the first amendment protects Phil’s answer but not GQ’s questions is completely irrational.
The vitriol started with gay rights activists against Phil, but it has swiftly shifted to Christians against A&E. Again, peruse Facebook and you will see calls to boycott A&E from dozens, even some of the biggest conservative names in the country. However, this is yet another symptom. A&E made a business decision that they are free to make in America. Furthermore, A&E should have the freedom to make such a business decision. The government legislating away a corporation’s ability to make business decisions will contribute to the death of the free market economy that we enjoy. No, you don’t have to agree with A&E’s decision, but you must acknowledge that A&E has the right to make such a decision.
Attack On Christianity
The situation with Phil Robertson and A&E has afforded fodder to feed the idea that Christians are being persecuted by the American media and liberal organizations. Let me make this clear, Christians in America have absolutely no clue what it is to be persecuted for their faith. I acknowledge that there exists a bias in the American media and those outside the Christian faith. That bias is based on a rejection of the Christian message and, again, just a symptom.
So you may ask, “what is the real problem?” America is currently plagued with the adolescent attitude that everyone must agree with me. America is currently plagued with adult individuals that have the thin skin of a kindergarten student on the playground and just can’t take the idea that someone could offend them. In the Phil Robertson situation, gay rights organizations became offended that Phil didn’t share their thoughts on homosexuality and actually said so. In the A&E situation, Christians are offended that A&E made a decision with which they disagree.
Gay rights organizations would be better served by civil discussion than by public outrage. Christians would be better served by getting out of the padded pews, opening your hearts to other sinners, and loving as Christ would than by boycotting a company abiding by their corporate rights.
By the way, I have a very personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I happen to agree with Phil’s assessment of homosexuality as it is biblically accurate. However, I’m not offended at A&E’s decision, and I’d rather focus on the real problem rather than all these symptoms.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the Phil Robertson / A&E “controversy”. Do you see other true problems contributing to the situation? Share your comments below.