I received some comments from folks who have read my previous column where I addressed the Duck Dynasty brouhaha. One person felt Phil’s religious freedom was being deigned. I decided to not just answer them back in a e-mail, but as others probably have a similar view decided to address that issue in my column.
Phil Robertson, just as you and I, has the religious freedom to believe as he pleases. The issue was more about how he expressed it with vulgar graphic language. Would Jesus have said what Phil said? That should be the Christian’s standard.
What many of us are seeing, that is upsetting is a society that has changed from when we were kids where Christian thought, morality, and standards were the “norm;” and homosexuality, the hippie free love, smoke pot, anything goes thing was considered to be the fringe of our society.
Today it has completely flipped 180 degrees so now what was weird back then is now considered to be the “new normal.“ Sadly our Judeo / Christian values are now considered to be “outdated” by a large segment of our society. Most young people believe that everyone smoked pot and did drugs in the 1960’s. Truth is the hippies were only about 12 percent of the population back then. Because they made news, they got the most media attention. So the film footage of that time gives them a bigger place in that society then than they deserved.
What many are seeing is that, yes, Christians are being subjected to public backlash for sharing our religious views in public. We grew up in a society where speaking about our faith in public was O.K. That has changed. Part of what caused this 180 degree flip to happen is many folks today see the Christian faith as political, not spiritual.
In 1979 Jerry Falwell started the Moral Majority and launched the political church movement. This has done more to keep people away from God and his church than anything in modern times, in my opinion. The church has spent the past 34 years trying to legislate its values to the nation. It hasn’t worked. Instead, it caused resentment as Christians were viewed as those folks trying to force their values on everyone else.
Did Jesus do this? Nowhere in the Bible will you find Jesus trying to force people to be his followers. The only thing he said about the Roman government was to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s. Rather than try to legislate God’s values, Jesus instead quietly went about his Father’s business in touching people’s lives, one life at a time. No politics. What a radical idea. Funny thing is it worked and the world was changed. When people see Christians today what do they see? A loving person like Jesus or some angry person trying to force his or her will on them. Then we wonder why people aren’t flocking to our churches.
It’s time for Christians to step back and start doing things the way Jesus did them. If you’re not sure what he did, read the actual words of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, then follow his example.
Mike Cannatelli lives in suburban Wilmington with his wife. He repairs electronic instrumentation the food industry uses to detect bacteria in food. He plays supper club music on the piano and is a voracious reader who is a registered Independent voter.