The world seems all a-buzz today with the news of Phil Robertson’s indefinite suspension from A&E. You can read the story … well, EVERYWHERE. I don’t want to get into it, because I don’t watch the show and, honestly, have enough to deal with in my own life. I don’t need to get all worked up over the lives of celebrities.
Is this about more than celebrity? Sure. It’s about rights, but not just Phil’s.
Many are claiming it’s about his freedoms of religion and speech. TRUE. But it’s also about the freedom of employers. If the boss doesn’t like what the employee is doing, he has every right to fire or suspend that employee. That includes celebrities. That includes Christians.
Can he fire him for his beliefs? No. But he can fire him for endangering the success of the business, which it is clear A&E feels is the case here. C’mon. We all remember the hub-bub with Chick-fil-A – right? Right. (I wrote about that one, too. You can read it here.)
And this is where I have to quote a much respected friend of mine:
“Christians have held a privileged position in our culture for so long that they have forgotten what their rights are and are not. They sometimes mistakenly think they should be protected from fallout should their stated views cut against the current cultural ideology. I for one think that American Christianity could do with a long period of time where being a Christian put you out of step with the norm and cost you something. If being a Christian meant taking a courageous stand, the ranks of American Christians would dwindle and we’d be left with serious adherents to an ancient religion instead of … whatever it is we have now.” — G. A.
We were never promised privilege for following Christ. In fact, we were promised the opposite — persecution, trials, crosses to bear. Following Christ should never be too easy. If it is, we need to re-evaluate our faith and convictions.
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” — Luke 14:33–34
Do Christians have rights?
I get really uncomfortable when politics and faith mix. America was not founded as a “Christian” nation, but as a FREE nation. Even if our forefathers were Christians (which is debatable), they specifically designed our constitution to provide religious freedoms through separation of church and state. This is for our protection.
I strongly support separation of church and state and am often uncomfortable when Christians take their faith into courtrooms. HOWEVER, our faith does not negate us from equal rights.
This development with Duck Dynasty presents our right and call to be different from society. Another recent story presents Christians’ right to be different, but treated the same. It’s kind of cool and the case could have a lasting impact on public schools for years to come.
Phil Robertson has his freedom of religion. He has freedom of speech. He also has the right to prioritize those freedoms over the preservation of his job.
Talk to me. What are your thoughts on all this?