As I write this, the twitter-verse is in an uproar over the suspension of a major TV personality for stating non-PC views on homosexuality. Please do not misunderstand my perspective on A&E firing Phil Robertson. I do not agree with everything he says. For example, I think his perspective on race in the south in the pre-civil right era reflects an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude that was common among his generation (I've seen it in my parents). I have quite different criteria for selecting a president than he stated. I'm also quite certain we have theological differences. BUT A&E didn't suspend him for his blindness to racial inequality, his political views, or his theology. They suspended him for his views on a moral issue that he was asked about ("What, in your mind, is sinful" is the exact question). He was asked this by a reporter who was very clearly uncomfortable with the Robertsons' faith, who wrote a profanity-laced article mocking that faith, and who made a point of placing the most inflammatory comments earlier in the article while burying comments such as these:
“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.”
“If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead—yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved. And the next time we see you, we will say: ‘You are now a brother. Our brother.’ So then we look at you totally different then. See what I’m saying?”
“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."
His response statement said:
“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Is Phil Robertson perfect? Of course not. Are there lots of sinful things he didn't mention? Of course. Does he say things off the cuff, not thinking how they might sound apart from the larger context? Yep. But let's be clear. A and E knew that about him. They have profited greatly from the fact that people respond to the entire family's openness about their failures and the faith that helps them overcome.