triple standard questions

that dude from duck dynasty is held to at least three standards that i know of: 

3-employee/public face of a brand. 

in accepting these three roles he has that has placed him under an outside authority and agreed to abide by its standards.

it's obvious he can say whatever he wants under standard #1. no one is trying to imprison him or sue or accuse him of breaking any law. no one is upset at him because of the implications of free speech. and we all know and understand that as an american his right to say what he pleases is stringently protected. 

i am assuming that he signed a contract or agreed to some terms outlining what he agreed to do/not do as a representative of the network when he agreed to and received payment for placing himself under standard #3. 

i believe the network, A&E, is upset and took action based on standard #3 alone. lots of people on the internet (in my circle many of these seem to be fairly outspoken conservative christians) are defending his words under standard #1 (and the rights inherently conferred by it). 

here are my questions and stream of consciousness in thinking through this (i am working through this myself as i go).

is anyone saying that he got fired because he violated the first amendment or did anything wrong related to it? i had understood that A&E is upset because he didnt live up their (stated or not) standard of how their employees behave or speak in public because they are representatives of the network. is that right?

so i guess i am confused because it seems like it's missing the point to defend him against what the network is treating as a breach or failing in standard #3 based on the rights guaranteed by standard #1. no one said he couldnt say what he did, did they? i thought they just said that they couldnt have him representing their business while he let those remarks stand. legally, that is their choice as the employer, right?

and just to double down on the controversy, isnt A&E's choice the exact same one taken by Chickfila when they made their corporate beliefs known through the personal values of their chief? didn't many people speak up and show up to support and defend Chickfila as a business for expressing its own unique values and standing by them?

so then should we, under standard #1, be just as willing to defend A&E's right to have values as a brand/company and to defend them as we/you/yall  were to defend Chickfila's?

or is the the fuss is because he was suspended because of expressing his personal beliefs on homosexuality, while it is illegal for (and woe betide) an employer to suspend or fire someone for their sexual orientation? restated: is the problem that homosexuals are protected from employers by the law, but people who are  morally against homosexuality are not?

ok i can see that. so then you would have a problem under standard #1 and would be wanting to change the law...am i getting that right?

another angle: if we're dealing with legality (under #1 or #3) sexual orientation is protected by law as something that cannot be discriminated against. so then maybe it seems like the duck dynasty guy  is being discriminated against for his religious beliefs (which are also legally protected so that would be illegal)? but hasnt he been loud and proud with his christian faith on and off the show from the get-go? 

if so, then it seems like A&E doesnt have a problem with him saying that his reading of the bible leads him to believe homosexuality is sinful, but moreso that they have a problem with HOW he communicated these beliefs in a printed magazine interview (along with--not gray area here--wildly ignorant comments he also made in this interview about black people).

i wonder what Chickfila would have done if Dan Cathy, in expressing his personal beliefs (almost all of which i am aligned as a fellow Christian), had used the same language or imagery to convey his point. i know its not the same because Dan is the boss, but it is interesting to think of it that way. how would you have reacted if the CEO of Chickfila had said the exact quote below in the interview that brought him into this same sort of hullabalou? just a fun exercise.

(while we're exercising: what if the pope or any neighborhood pastor had "expressed his views" in this manner? i think he would at the very least be reprimanded and likely fired by his christian employers/flock. this is why i dont think i see it as discrimination against christian beliefs so much as the callous and crude way they were expressed.)

so that is as far as my tiny brain gets on the issues that spring out of the constitutionality and employee/employee legality of this thing. but those i dont care so much about.

and maybe i am not looking in the right places (and the place i am looking most is my facebook newsfeed...genius), but i am not hearing a lot of conversation about his remarks in relation to standard #2: that of christ.

isnt that a higher/greater/better/purer/RIGHTER standard than the other two? shouldnt we leave #1 and #3 to people who either A: know what the law and the employment contract say and/or B: the ones who dont yet hold themselves to standard #2?

thats sort of where i have landed. 

the bible talks a A LOT about words and about how dangerous they are and about how we need to guard our tongues. and some of that is definitely applicable here, but the main problem i have with this entire thing is how it fits in with jesus' "greatest command" to love one another like he loves us. to show his love to the world by our love.

and in all of my readings of jesus' encounters with sinners, and from firsthand experience of his dealings with me (a certified sinner)  i just cant see him ever showing his love by talking to or about someone in the way that phil robertson does in this interview:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine…Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,”
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

of course i want expression of the christian faith to be protected legally. i think it is worth defending.  but i guess i just disagree that the statement above is in anyway an expression of the christ i know.

i just had a lot of thoughts bubbling up in me about this as it hits close to home on several fronts. i am just trying to figure all of this out.  but i DID want to make that one clear statement while i am here.

i know that a scattered blog post wont change anyone's mind (just like a million facebook debates wont either),  i am not trying to put a rainbow flag into the hand of a conservative or to evangelize an atheist or to marry a gay man to a woman (i should try a post like that though! sounds like a flippin' blast). i am also definitely not trying to slam a man who has, for the most part, been a refreshing example of a believer in pop culture. if i was a public figure, i would have been burned in effigy so many times by now for the ignorant, rash, unthinking, sinful, dumbhead things i say all the time.

no, i wrote this publicly more for the people who might not have personal experience with the bible or with jesus and who might only hear about him in these sorts of controversies in the hopes of bringing a different voice into the storm and just to say publicly that, as a christian,  i dont think these kinds of words are particularly worth defending in jesus' name. 

thought you should know...

but there are lots and lots of word that i think are worth jesus' name, and i need to be better about saying/writing/living them extra loud.


1. turns out it isnt illegal in most states for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

2. really well-written, concise takes from christian perspectives: my friend clay / Rage Against the Minivan / 


  1. just wanted to creepily say I totally love you and your blog even though I don't know you! thanks for such a thoughtful post, especially the last 3 paragraphs. and I like how you broke it down into #'s 1, 2, and 3... I think people often get confused about what the First Amendment really guarantees them.

  2. I don't follow the tv show and have just read a smattering out fb outrage. that being said, 2 thoughts come to me before i can fully vet them. i think people get a little pissy when a network like a and e becomes sanctimonious because it is a tv channel that exploits the mentally unstable on shows like hoarders for general amusement. i am guessing duck dynasty is a scripted tv show...and that a and e loves the long beard, country, evangelical, aspect of the duck guys for ratings, and heavily promotes the show and that aspect of them (from clips i have seen, they pray a lot and are forward with their beliefs)...so it seems ambivalent to fire someone for espousing beliefs that are representative of the manner in which the show is promoted.
    also, i agree, i cannot see Jesus discussing sin, or sinners, in the way the duck guy did...but at the same time, we are all just poor, poor imitations. we all speak off the cuff, and sometimes try to be witty about serious things when we should be sober, but it is hard being human and imperfect and all. i was uncomfortable reading the quote, and dont like the way he talked, pope francis says it much better and kinder (but we all fall short of him too, just not on the same scale:).
    it does disturb me that if anyone publicly has an opinion that contradicts the pc, quite liberal world we live in, there is a witch hunt. i detest the fact that sexual politics often becomes the battle ground for christian theology vs. secularism...our pope had similar criticisms in an interview a couple months back, but he still reiterated that we stand by our belief...lets just focus on spreading Christs love more than our opinions about sex. the media jumps on a quote that can make headlines, and the duck guys promotion of family and adoption, etc. are religious based too, just not incendiary in our modern world.
    sorry for the rambing. your 1, 2, 3 points are very logical. although, i do feel like a and e has no moral highground :)

    1. great point about A&E. also, goodness gracious I love Pope Francis :)

  3. My favorite line: " i just disagree that the statement above is in anyway an expression of the christ i know."
    Thank you for this.

  4. Hear hear to all of it! Yes, my thoughts exactly...

  5. Actually, it is still legal in many states to fire someone for being gay.

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  7. Thank you for sharing such a calm, concise, and well thought out viewpoint! Whether we're throwing Phil under the bus or valiantly defending him, we need to look at all sides. My first thought of both Dan Cathy's and Phil Robertson's statements was that they're lacking love too, and they're not the only Christian voices I want represented. Judging by Facebook, I'm in the minority. The remarks are not sending people into the church in droves (quite the opposite!), despite the fact that I think that's what Phil is trying to do: lead people to God. Communication occurs when the message intended is the message received. I do not think either intended to express anything but love; however, love was not received. When love is not received, clarifications and/or apologies are needed. Chick-fil-A, despite many supporters of the remarks, took a hard look at themselves, reevaluated what organizations they support, and adopted an anti discrimination policy. That is the epitome of Christlike and love. Phil needs to reevaluate himself as well. I feel like the statement to TMZ along with the family statement were sorely lacking and hiding behind the Bible. He most certainly does not need to apologize for his opinions and beliefs but for the lack of love, which hurt a lot of people. And don't do it because you lost your job or because Al Sharpton, GLAAD, and countless others are offended. Do it because it's the best way to represent Christ. I would love to see him turn this around while still remaining true to his beliefs. (Side note: Keight, I've been a long time reader (read: creeper) and throughly enjoy your posts and viewpoints!)

  8. I appreciated your calm thoughts on this subject and mostly agreed up to this point. "the ones who dont yet hold themselves to standard #2?"

    This assumes that all people will become Christian, that no one has a reason for not seeing things in the same light as you. As someone who was raised in the church, grandfather was a Baptist preacher as was my father in law, the church has left two people with deep scars with such narrow minded views.

    I do appreciate your points, and I agree with most of them. But please do not assume that everyone will or even wants to see things in the same light.

    1. man, it sounds like there are definitely some deep wounds there. i am so sorry for that. i do think you are mistaking me though as someone with narrow-minded views (in the way i think you mean it)

      i definitely put in the "YET" with reservations, knowing that it could offend for the very reasons you stated, but decided it's worth it and vital in expressing my point of view.. it's much more of an open door, though, than a "we'll get you eventually!"

      2 reasons:

      1. the bible says that one day everyone will know the truth. so the yet is necessary in that regard since i do believe in the truth of the bible. if i believe in jesus, and his word, then i have to believe that part too that one day, everyone is going to know the full truth, the whole story, even if they didnt believe it or downright hated it their entire lives. eventually that will be the only point of view.

      2. i never want to draw a line and say "them and us," so i use "yet" to say who knows what could happen? i'm unwilling to exclude anyone at any point.

      my use of "yet" really isnt an assumption that all people will become christian, that would be a silly assumption and i definitely do not hold it. and i know HUNDREDS of reasons why people would not want anything to do with jesus or his people. the "yet" isnt devaluing that.

      it is there to say, "hey, if you do change your mind, we are thrilled! and none more than jesus." i will continue to believe (not assume) that everyone WILL see things in the same light one day (not my light or my way) and i will also continue to completely understand why so many dont currently want to.

      once upon a time i was a "never, no thank you," to jesus and the church. so my story was one of yet. of jesus-followers who didnt give up on loving me where i was, and so i want to be that kind of believer too.

      thanks for being honest! i pray that yall run into some christians who surprise you in a good way!

  9. First I always love reading what ya think! I think one important thing for all of us to think about is that we saw/read bits of an interview. How long did they talk? What else was said? Just like the Bible we can't take one verse and think we can understand the chapter or book. Are we judging his remarks that a magazine pulled bits and pieces to print? IDK...but I do know, we don't know all of what was talked about or said that day. We only read/see what they want us too.