My Facebook feed has “blown” up the last two days with cultural/religious issues that, quite frankly, have me confused. At first I thought I would just keep my digital mouth shut, but ah heck, what’s the fun in that. These are the kinds of blog posts that get me ‘unfollowed’ but I can live with that.
The first one is the White Jesus/White Santa debate. Apparently Megyn Kelly of Fox News spouted out that Santa is white and so too is Jesus, then Jon Stewart did what Jon Stewart does and roasted the woman for her comments. The videos are all over the internet so you can Google them yourself. What I am interested in is why this is a big deal. Is anyone surprised that people say stupid things on Fox News? Who gets their cultural mythos and/or religious information from cable news? We have more than one black Santa in our home, as I’m sure other people do too, does anyone really think me or anyone else is going to throw our hands up and say, “Oh no, I can’t use these anymore.” Of course not. That is the beauty in a fictional character: He or she can be made to look like whatever we want. I argue we should push for an Asian Santa that is all tatted up with a Mohawk haircut. That would be awesome.
But Jesus, oh Jesus is another issue. The biblical/historical Jesus was most certainly not white in the sense Megyn Kelly and white supremacists have in mind. He was a Semite male in North Africa 2000 years ago, long before blond haired,blue eyed genetics were introduced to people outside of Northern Europe. Jesus probably had curly hair and a curly beard, darkish skin and probably resembled more closely people from North Africa today. Here is a wonderful picture compiled years ago by Popular Mechanics.
What confuses me is, aren’t we smarter than this? Doesn’t everyone know this stuff already? For crying out loud I can’t believe this is the public discourse we are having when there are so many other things to be outraged about like the NSA surveillance program, a nuclear Iran, what the deuce is going on in Syria, North Korea has been taken over by Sonny Corleone, China is playing chicken with our navy vessels, and that is before we ever get to things like economics, jobs, poverty, and homelessness.
Now for the second issue blowing up my Facebook newsfeed, and that is the Gay Duck Dynasty issue (Wow, that sounds like something far different than it really is, or maybe just when I write it like that it feels even weirder). This probably should be a whole other blog post, but no one here has time for that. Let me make three disclaimers, though, before I continue.
Disclaimer One: I have never seen a complete episode of Duck Dynasty. I watched about five minutes one time and decided that it looked too much like family reunions.
Disclaimer Two: As a Christ-follower who takes the Bible seriously, I believe homosexuality is a sin.
Disclaimer Three: In a free society, people should be able to live how they want to. In other words, my beliefs should not curtail another’s constitutional rights.
So those are my disclaimers. Now, having put my cards on the table, let’s evaluate what appears to have happened and why I am confused. One of the Duck Dynasty stars (or was it his beard?) recently made comments in an interview with GQ that he did not approve of the homosexual lifestyle. I think this is the one named Phil. His network, A&E summarily suspended him. You can click here for CNN’s coverage and their excerpt of the weird interview. I mean, what kind of questions were they asking this Phil guy anyway?
I am confused on three fronts. My first confusion is, this interview was in GQ? Really? I mean, I like the guy’s beard and all, but he hardly seems GQish. Talk about gender blender, I mean, straight men really don’t read GQ anymore and the Duck Dynasty market doesn’t seem to match their demographics.
My second confusion is why are people surprised that A&E suspended this guy. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Those Duck Dynasty guys have made a ton of cash and I see their confused looking faces all over Wal-Mart. If you make a deal with culture, you have to play by culture’s rules. That is the way it works. No one is suppressing this guy’s right to free speech, its just that he violated the core values of his employer and is paying the price. I agree with the general tenor of his statements (although I wouldn’t word it quite in the detailed and somewhat disturbing way he does) but he works in the media now and his income is tied to what he says.
My third confusion is, what did A&E expect? Do his opinions surprise you that much? Really? I doth think you protesteth too much. In other words, I suspect ratings were beginning to slip and therefore some controversy had to be ginned up. Yep, that is what this whole Duck Dynasty thing feels like to me.