Why the Phil Robertson Frazzle is only a Blip

Summary: The religious right is in a frazzle over the suspension of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, but because the right’s convictions are threadbare, the overall culture war has already been lost.If you think your tweet and your letter to CEO of A&E are going to make a difference, think again. I heard one radio commentator today say that the “sleeping giant” of the religious right has been awakened, and that the radical left would rue the day they messed with Phil Robertson.As a true conservative, I beg to differ.Before I go there, however, let me give a few observations.  Clearly American society has slid to the place where a recitation of Biblical values is unacceptable in our open society. If you want to preach Biblical values and norms in a church, that is fine (for now). But if you want to express these values and norms in any kind of public setting (even one in which a viewer can simply flip a switch to turn it off), then it is unacceptable hate speech and must be censored. This does not bode well for Bible-preaching pastors, Bible-thumping citizens, or even the society at large.I’ve only watched one episode of Duck Dynasty, so I’m not part of the following they’ve amassed. I’m sure I would love some of it, but simply haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. I’ve only glanced over the GQ article (and wouldn’t even recommend that for those who don’t want offensive language and advertising). I can’t write as an expert on the Dynasty phenomenon nor Phil Robertson’s opinions.I can, however, write as a self-appointed expert on neo-conservatism. As such, I predict that this current frazzle will only be a blip on the radar screen. I don’t know what will happen to the Dynasty show. I am almost certain that the Duck call family of Louisiana will be a part of Americana for years to come, on television or not. Even with this, when push comes to shove, the religious right will back down in a New York minute, and this frazzle will be a blip. (Incidentally, last September I wrote an article about the upcoming elections called, “Why We Lose.” The article was based on the same assumptions as this article. My article was not well-received until after the election.)Neo-conservatives (neo-cons) are the pastors of America’s mega churches. These churches amass the crowds by the tens-of-thousands. They have media and financial empires. They are a-political (unless it pleases the ear of the crowd). Their Sunday sermons are about being good husbands and wives, generous givers, happy people, and people of impact in business and society (that is, people who can further our media and financial empire).Neo-cons are professors at colleges and seminaries, teaching a neo-con doctrine to another generation of church-builders. These neo-cons are experts at odd Kingdom of God schemes which have a goal of a better society (wrong goal, in my opinion).Neo-cons are politicians who rush to cameras to speak for “conservative values” but vote for liberal values.But the real reason that this frazzle is only a blip is because the churches of the land are filled with neo-cons. If the Pastor began seriously preaching true conservative values, the church would be down to manageable size in short order.What if the Pastor began to teach-• Women should not be pastors, nor take a leadership role in the church?• Society cannot be improved and our humanitarian effort is money down-the-drain. The saving Gospel is the only hope for humanity—whether that portion of humanity is hurting or hating, the Gospel is the only thing that will fix it?• The music the church sings needs to be seriously screened for theological error?• The service-oriented structure of the modern church is an unbelievably failed experiment in church history?• God doesn’t give special revelation-to you, to me, or to anybody today. He doesn’t speak in dreams and visions, either to Muslims in missionary lands nor to church-members in the pew?• Church members who are unfaithful to Christ and the church should be Biblically disciplined?• Modern, national Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and that we should join forces with God and Israel against both the secular and Muslim world?• The earth was made in six literal days, not so long ago, and any kind of evolutionary theory is unbiblical?This is just the beginning of a long list of unavoidable values one builds when he or she reads the Bible literally. Since I seldom hear these values preached in churches today, I am convinced that the church has become fully neo-con. It will put on a conservative label, view itself as the icon of conservatism, and, in the end, adopt every liberal value of a secular society.If we do not come face-to-face with the words of Scripture, and align our theology and our values, then the pro-Duck Dynasty movement on twitter and the blogosphere is nothing more than a neo-con press release.  And some of the best advice I ever got was this:  never believe your own press release.Dr. Randy White is Pastor of First Baptist Church of Katy, TX, and teaches online at www.RandyWhiteMinistries.org

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