I have watched with consternation the reaction concerning A&E’s decision to indefinitely suspend Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson over remarks he made in an interview with GQ magazine concerning his personal stance about homosexuality among other things. It is not my intention to dive into the merits of whether or not the network’s decision was appropriate or whether or not Robertson’s First Amendment rights were violated. No, it’s not about that.
What this blog post will concern itself with is this: why has this whole thing caused such the response that it has? Much of this response, which much of is from Christians, is filled with vitriol against A&E. I must admit, I find it interesting, and saddening actually, that this whole situation concerning a man who was a millionaire before “Duck Dynasty” and a TV show has caused such a intense response. Why is it that these types of situations cause such a response when there are other more important situations that do not cause this type of outrage?
It is my opinion that this situation causing outrage in Christians and not these other situations reflects poorly on Christians.
For example, where was the public and intense moral outrage and calls for a boycott from Christians against the companies whose “CEOs of the 50 U.S. firms that slashed the most jobs between November 2008 and April 2010 and then took in 42 percent more than the average CEO at an S&P 500 firm, according to the 17th annual Executive Excess study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive Washington think tank. The study also found that 36 of the 50 layoff leaders ‘announced their mass layoffs at a time of positive earnings reports,”‘ suggesting a trend of ‘squeezing workers to boost profits and maintain high CEO pay.’
The 10 ‘highest-paid CEO layoff leaders’ ranked in the report include the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Mark Hurd, who earned $24.2 million in 2009 as the company laid off 6,400 workers and Walmart CEO Michael Duke, who earned $19.2 million as the company laid off 13,350 workers.
Overall, the study found that executive pay remains astronomically high compared to previous decades. “After adjusting for inflation, CEO pay in 2009 more than doubled the CEO pay average for the decade of the 1990s, more than quadrupled the CEO pay average for the 1980s, and ran approximately eight times the CEO average for all the decades of the mid-20th century,” the study says. Currently, CEOs of major U.S. companies average 263 times the average compensation of American workers, the study claims.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/01/ceo-pay-layoffs_n_701908.html#s133351title=10_Ivan_Seidenberg)
Where’s the outrage concerning the many people who lost their ability to provide for their families only then to see high level executives pull in huge salaries? I liken this to the story the Prophet Nathan told King David after David’s adulterous affair with Bathseba and having her husband killed to cover it up.
Where is this same type of response regarding the issue of human trafficking which is much more prevalent in this country than many would like to realize, preferring to keep heads buried deep in the sand. Where is this type of response to the reality that one baby dies every 9 minutes in this world due to maternal neo-natal tetanus? By the way, that’s 58,400 needless, preventable, agonizing deaths after approximately 7 day life spans. Where’s the outrage over that?
Where is the outrage over the vulnerable in our society bearing the brunt of budget cuts? Where is the outrage over organizations like one with which I’m familiar that works with those who are physically and mentally challenged in some way having their funding cut by the government and, therefore, having to provide with less money the same level of service for those who desperately need it??
Where was and is the outrage over the approximately 15.9 million children who experience food insecurity on a daily basis, which is defined as not having consistent access to enough nutritious food?
I could go on and on, but I think I have used enough examples.
It is sad that it is this situation of Phil Robertson that has caused the response that it has from Christians, one that is filled with hate and hate-filled speech that does not emanate from my God as I know Him.
And one last thing. The fact that it is this type of thing that causes this response I believe cements in the minds of those outside the church the picture of those inside the church as hate-filled, judgmental, hate-mongering, argumentative, looking for a fight, and holier-than-thou.
As adopted sons and daughters of God through and in Christ, we are called to reflect God’s character and be conduits for God’s goodness and kindness on earth, demonstrating what the Kingdom of Heaven is truly like. Spouting vitriol at people and situations is not to what we are called, yet how often is that what people who are adopted sons and daughters do?
And what does it communicate to the world around us about our Heavenly Father when it is a situation like that of Phil Robertson which causes the type and character of outrage from many Christians?
Remember, we are a reflection of Him. So, maybe it would be an appropriate thing to consider how a word typed or spoken or an action taken will reflect of the Heavenly Father before it is said, typed, or done.