I’m in the midst of frantically trying to finish my final paper before Friday.
(How you’d you like that alliteration??)
But, I wanted to offer just a few very brief thoughts on the plight of Phil Robertson.
Emphasis on brief.
My Twitter feed and the news feed on my Facebook page is quickly filling up with reactions to what the Duck Dynasty star had to say about homosexuality in his new interview with GQ. I say “reactions” because all that’s necessary to constitute a plural word is 2 and that’s about the extent of the diversity in reaction that I’ve seen. Which, admittedly makes sense. There’s not a ton of options here. Either people seem to think his words were reprehensible or they’re coming to his defense, arguing that he’s being persecuted for practicing free speech.
It’s that later reaction I want to respond to because it’s becoming the go-to defense whenever (usually celebrity) Christians are publicly lambasted for saying, well let’s just call them “less than nice things.”
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of homosexuality, or anything else for that matter, I think there’s something those of us in the American church would do well to remember.
We have the freedom of speech in America, not the freedom from accountability for what we say.
In other words, free speech comes with a cost.
That cost isn’t necessarily persecution. In fact, it usually isn’t.
That cost is simply the natural and inevitable consequence of the claims we make. When the words we say are offensive or insensitive, the consequences we face usually won’t be pleasant. But we have no right to complain because we brought those consequences upon ourselves. It’s like slashing a stranger’s tires in the parking lot because we think they’re parked too close to the line and then getting angry or being dumbfounded when the cops show up to arrest us.
Our words, like our actions, have consequences.
So, speak freely if you’re ready to pay the cost.
But if you’re not, remember these ancient words of wisdom…
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Grace and peace,