“Good work team. Product placement for Duck Dynasty is nearly ubiquitous. Si’s even in that cartoon with all the vegetables. But I couldn’t help but notice, we don’t quite have a 100% market share just yet. What can we do to fix that?”
“How about a scandal? That always seems to work.”
“Like the time we told everyone we told them they couldn’t pray in Jesus’ name. Nothing like a supposed slight to rally the troops.”
“Maybe we could get Si to say something so outrageous that we have to fire him.”
“You can’t fire Si. But Phil, he’s suspendable.”
“But make sure you do it at the end of a season’s filming. That way we have a whole season of episodes to air with Phil still in them, and then we can bring him back for the season opener the next season.”
(Please note, I said I imagine the conversation went down this way. I certainly have no way of knowing how far from reality my imagination really is. Note: It seems A&E is telling a different story. So maybe I am too cynical.)
Meanwhile, here in conservative Middle America, we take the bait hook line and sinker. Boycott! Petition! Call the cable company and cancel A&E! And whatever you do, don’t stop buying Duck Commander merchandise, because if you do, the heathens win!
What no one seems to notice is what Phil actually said. The story as it is retold goes something like this, “Phil said homosexuality is a sin, and they fired him for it. So much for free speech!”
If Phil had said that, I’d probably be a little upset at his “firing” too. Unfortunately that’s not exactly what Phil said. Instead he spoke with vulgarity dressed up as straight-shooting plain talk in a way that completely misunderstands homosexuality and doesn’t serve to invite anyone to Christ.
His argument, vaginas and anuses included, amounts essentially to “I don’t get why it’s such a struggle. Just try sex our way once; I promise you’ll like it better, and you won’t go to hell.”
Is that really true? Noble? Right? Because it certainly wasn’t lovely or admirable. Yet here we are treating it as if it is excellent and praiseworthy.
Meanwhile, we all strap on the digital weapons of a social media firefight, with our tweets and memes and status updates, and we march off to a culture war against the enemy of “mainstream media,” never thinking to ask the question: was this skirmish fabricated to serve the financial interests of everyone involved, including Phil?
Sadly, what we fail to recognize as we rush to the defense of the indefensibly vulgar and insensitive comments of the celebrity Christian du jour, is that our enemy – our real enemy (Ephesians 6:12) – whispers in the ears of those who struggle with same sex attraction and who find utterly undesirable what Phil considers desirable (as well as an entire generation of those who sympathize with them) “See? There’s no place in the church for you. They don’t understand you. They won’t even listen to you. And they’ll certainly never love you.”
Let’s do better church.
Let’s opt out of this pretend culture war.
Let’s stop being manipulated by marketing teams and PR firms.
Let’s speak the truth; by all means, speak the truth! But let’s do so in love. And while we’re at it, let’s follow in the footsteps of our great high priest, who proved himself fully able to sympathize with our weakness, even as he invited us to live lives of righteousness leading to holiness.