Phil Robertson’s return to A&E’s Duck Dynasty is not something to cheer about (unless you were already a fan of the show before). This unfortunate incident has been overblown intentionally – there’s no better press for an entertainer than polarizing the audience. This is not an event that furthers the cause of believers, it is not an act of inspiration to fight for Phil’s return, and in the long run this who thing is going to further damage the Christian cause.
Here are four reasons why:
1. He was never in any real danger of being suspended for any period of time
The only reason that I did not write an article the day that Phil Robertson was suspended from Duck Dynasty about how this was all purely a publicity stunt is because I thought it was obvious. It didn’t occur to me that so many people would fall into A&E’s marketing maneuver. In fact, I assumed that there would be an outcry against A&E, not for suspending Robertson but for trying to play everyone for the fool.
When that sentiment didn’t instantly surface, I assumed for sure that the fact that they played nonstop Duck Dynasty episodes on Christmas Day would be enough to make people realize that they had been planning all of this (including the GQ interview itself) for some time, but no. That wasn’t the case. Now, after getting the wonderful free publicity that the mainstream media dishes out to savvy corporations, it would seem that they made one demographic upset while becoming the good guys to a much larger one.
The demographic that they made upset, incidentally, was not watching Duck Dynasty in the first place. Now, more of the demographic likely will if only out of contempt.
2. This is not a victory for “Freedom of Speech”
Freedom of speech is a right. It is protected by the Constitution. It is not in any way a mandate that prevents businesses from firing individuals over their behavior.
Hopefully, there won’t be people that believe that this makes it any easier for people to express their own Christian beliefs at work or during interviews without reprieve. In most states, if they want to fire you over inflammatory statements, they can fire you. You can’t proclaim the “Robertson Precedent” in court.
3. This incident will be used as a rallying call AGAINST Christians
The forces against Christians will use this incident as a mild rallying call. No, it’s not a case of “Jihad for Phil”, but it’s enough to make people upset. They won’t be upset at A&E for very long. They will be upset for the Christian voice. They will look at Robertson as a representative body for Christians.
This will juice them up more than most things in recent years. They don’t like to lose and, unfortunately, they haven’t been losing very often lately. This “lose” will only rejuvenate them into acting with more conviction as they fight more important battles than the Duck Dynasty saga.
4. There are so many more important things happening to Christians around the world
It’s a television show. We didn’t win a reprieve against the blasphemy laws used on Pakistani Christians. We didn’t save Christians in a Syrian village from being raped or murdered. We didn’t bring Pastor Saeed Abedini home.
If 10% of the effort and outrage applied to the Phil Robertson incident were put into Pastor Saeed’s situation, he would possibly be home by now. In America, we get up in arms for a television show but we won’t lift a finger for true suffering.