Evidently Phil Robertson shared what he believes with GQ Magazine. I read the story on CNN’s website and was a little concerned for some of the colorful language about body parts he used. In fact, I was struck with his presentation of his beliefs and felt that he could have been gentler about it. Nevertheless, he quoted Scripture and what was quoted is what the Bible said. In my opinion, Scripture is truth.
While reading through some posts on blogs and Facebook, I continue to notice that each Christian has an opinion. In fact, as I read through what each Christian post I found myself agreeing and disagreeing. Sometimes I just didn’t like how they presented their view even if it was, in the end, right. As a Protestant, I am reminded that our basic background is that we believe we can read our Bible and develop our view point of Scripture. In other words, we do not have someone setting doctrine for us because we, as individuals, do that for ourselves.
As a result, I listen to other Protestant pastors from time to time and I think that they are just wrong on their interpretation of different passages. Yet, in Protestant churches this is what makes us unique as groups. I always caution my congregation where I serve about my sermons too. I encourage them to read the Bible themselves to hold me accountable.
As a pastor in the United States, I also hold Constitutional rights. My dilemma is that I’m a citizen of Heaven while a citizen of the US at the same time. This means that I am accountable to be as civil to others as expected by God first, then by the Constitution. The problem for me, as a pastor, is that I am supposed to share biblical truth when asked. This is where those in The Church and those outside of The Church need to give a little understanding to Phil in my opinion. As a minister, he was asked a very touchy, because of our political climate and culture, question. As a pastor I have been asked these very tough questions. Questions much like Phil was asked so I can imagine the tension that was in the interview because I feel it too.
As a Christian I am called by God to love Him and others. In fact, that is what I want to do. I think the possible result of my answers can be abrasive from another pastor’s, Christian’s, or citizen’s point of view too. While my answer would have been hopefully less colorful, it would have had to be the same if I want to stay true to Scripture.
Another concern that I have right now, and it seems to be a big one, is that many Christians and non-believers are saying that this is not a freedom of speech issue, but a contractual issue between Phil and A&E; in other words, a business issue. My thought is that if true, then a small church pastor like me who is bi-vocational may be at risk to lose his job too. After all, I may be under contract with my other employers who hold a different point of view of sin than I do. Unlike Phil, I and many other pastors, have to work another job to provide for my family. I’m not a millionaire like Phil. I’m just trying to make ends meat.
Now I’m protected, for now, by the Constitution to have free speech. Yet, the bigger issue seems to be that the government isn’t going to protect me from losing my job for practicing my rights as a citizen of the US if people I’m employed by do not like what I say. So now do we as Americans want to introduce this type of discrimination into the conversation? The LGBT’s say that this is who they are. Can I not say that a Protestant Christian is who I am? Thankfully, homosexuals have been able to make Americans aware of discrimination that happens to them.
So can we really say that this is not an issue of free speech? I find it alarming that CNN ran a story about a sermon that Phil preached. A lot of the terms he used came out of the Bible. CNN interpreted it as a type of hate speech and wondered if A&E, Phil’s employer, heard this before he was hired. Just consider what I just said for a moment; especially in this digital age where we find ourselves as pastors on Internet media. As a Protestant he can preach his interpretation how he wants; or can he in the US? So what is next? Are the news agencies going to start pointing to those who preach against certain types of sin as hate mongerers and fight to have our employment taken from us? If so, how dangerous is that for America? Is it okay for what happened to Phil to happen to me and others?