"Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson's recent suspension from A&E for his comments about homosexual practice threw Christianity into the media spotlight. In this time, it is especially important for Christians to uphold what God's word says about same-sex relationships in a gracious way, so that God is honored and those who do not follow His ways might come to know Him.
Phil Robertson doesn't sugar-coat many things. This is undoubtedly why many Americans enjoy his blunt perspective on "Duck Dynasty," and why many others are outraged by his comments about homosexual practice. His counter-cultural beliefs were revealed explicitly in a recent interview with GQ, where Robertson shared his views on homosexual practice and quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (English Standard Version).
While some may accuse Robertson of hating those who engage in homosexual practice, Phil's message focused on the fact that the Gospel offers hope to every sinner on the face of the earth. Later in the same GQ interview, he said:
"You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let's get on with it, and everything will turn around ... We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell. That's the Almighty's job. We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus-whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"
Many Americans are upset that Robertson was suspended from A&E for expressing his personal beliefs, based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution's right to the freedom of speech. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said in a statement this morning that "Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana ... I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views."
Governor Sarah Palin also tweeted in response to Robertson's suspension this morning, saying that "Free speech is an endangered species; those 'intolerants' hatin' & taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on us all."
There seems to be a growing intolerance toward Christianity and the Bible; this is not surprising, given several prophecies in Scripture and Jesus' own words that persecution would come for those who follow Him (Matthew 5:10-12). In John 15:19-21, Jesus said:
"If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me."
Perhaps in reference to the backlash against Phil's beliefs, Christian author and speaker Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries tweeted this morning, "We think we'll be safest tiptoeing carefully around land mines of criticism. Callings beget criticism. Here's safety: ‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe'" (Proverbs 29:25, New International Version).