Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you are aware of recent remarks made by Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. The media has made much of Robertson’s comments, at least they have made much of a few of his comments made in the interview. As one would expect these days, social media exploded with many expressing their outrage against Robertson and many others expressing their support, most sharing their thoughts without making any effort to actually read the interview in question. Honestly, I wish I could say this is surprising. It is not!
Rather than being content to accept what others are saying about what Robertson said in the interview in question, I decided to go and actually read the GQ interview, all three pages, myself. Yes, Robertson paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the interview (see page 2). And yes, he also offers a short list of sexual sins just prior to doing so. Some reporting would have the folks believe that Robertson singled out homosexual behavior and compared it with bestiality. Reading the remarks in their entirety AND in context clearly indicates otherwise.
In fact, just two paragraphs before, Robertson tells Drew Magary, the author of the GQ article, the following:
“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.”
That is hardly the sentiment of someone singling out anyone in particular. Several paragraphs later, Robertson says:
“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?”
Surprised? I wasn’t! I expected the reporting to reflect bias, that is why I went and read the interview for myself. Before typing another comment on Facebook, or Twitter, or on a blog such as this, go read the entire GQ interview. Seriously, go read it! Mr. Magary presents an honest view of his time with the Robertson’s for this interview albeit laced with a bit of profanity (you have been warned). Magary’s treatment of Robertson strikes me as fair and respectful. His choice of language notwithstanding, he delivered a balanced article to the readers of GQ. All in all, pretty good journalism.
A fair reading of the GQ interview clearly shows a man who is committed to his faith, understands the nature of sin and forgiveness, and sometimes is a bit more graphic in his choice of descriptive language than he perhaps should be (he is, after all, a television star followed by millions of people). Still, even after reading the interview, people will see the duck they want to see. Out here in the pews, it seems that a lot of folks are trying to use this and other controversies to redefine “Christian” to mean things it does not. Christians are not hate-filled bigots; that includes the Duck Commander Phil Robertson.
Christopher is a doctoral student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary of Liberty University where he earned the Master of Religious Education. He also holds MBA and BS degrees. A former resident of Powder Springs, Christopher and his family now reside in Woodstock. Christopher blogs regularly at www.chris-sanchez.com.