Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Letter to A&E

Since college keeps one very busy, I haven't had much time to write lately. I figured I'd share the letter I wrote to A&E back when they had suspended Phil Robertson of 'Duck Dynasty'.

A&E Networks,

       I have been observing intently with much of the rest of America what has unfortunately been done to Phil Robertson of your hit show ‘Duck Dynasty’. I am writing to you not to spew hatred or make threats toward you, nor to even attempt to convince you to put Mr. Robertson back onto his reality show. My purpose in writing you is to clear up any misconceptions you might have.
       To understand exactly why Mr. Robertson has the views he does, and why he feels they are beneficial to our nation, we must go back to its very formation. It is the Declaration of Independence that was the founding document to make us an independent nation, and it is within it that numerous references to God are made. People are entitled by “Nature’s God” to a “separate and equal station”. Men “are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights”. They appeal “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions”, and have “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence”. The former two principles stated are the more important, as the belief in God-granted equality and rights would shape future laws and serve as the foundation of America as a Christian nation.
       “Now wait a minute”, one might say, “Sure the Declaration has all that God stuff in it, but the Constitution, the Supreme law of the land, never mentions God.” And that is true. But this is similar to the argument that Jesus never spoke on homosexuality. Jesus never had to speak on homosexuality, as he already went by the established principle that God had set up back in Genesis 2, well before the Mosaic Law. Every time he mentioned marriage, it was within the confines of one man and one woman. So too did the Constitution go off of the already established principles of the Declaration of Independence.
       If you are not convinced, allow further explanation. In Article VII of the Constitution, it is stated “done in the Convention by Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth”. Stating the it is the twelfth year of America’s independence is not at all discrediting the Declaration as many try to do, but in fact includes it not only as the beginning of our nation and as one of our founding documents, but as the foundation upon which our Constitution was laid. In addition, the founding fathers’ choice to use the Gregorian calendar must be noted. This had come into use in Great Britain just 24 years before declaring independence from them, and is based off of the time of Christ. The founders made the statement that they chose only independence from Britain, not the God that they followed there.
       “Alright, so the founding fathers were Christian people, but the separation of church and state keeps us from being a Christian nation, and keeps us from your morals.” The separation of church and state is a term that has been redefined by liberals over the years. The term does not even exist in the Constitution. Its statement on religion is that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The first amendment’s establishment and free exercise clauses were both put in place to protect citizens and churches from the government. For further proof, see where the actual term “separation of church and state” came from: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the
legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. Jefferson believed that the government cannot tell citizens what to believe and that they are not accountable to it for their religion. Nothing is said of keeping religious beliefs out of government, only government out of religious beliefs.
       Now of course, A&E, you are not the government, and you are in full right to suspend any person from any show for no reason at all, as long as that is in their contract. But let us examine the true reasons for why you have indefinitely suspended Phil Robertson from your most popular program.
       Mr. Robertson took advantage of not only the religious portion of the first amendment, but also the portion that states, “or abridging the freedom of speech”. With few exceptions (namely those that put others’ lives at risk), anyone can say whatever they want in the United States. Anyone can express and practice their religion. I may not agree with it, but I do at least tolerate it. You see, this is the true meaning of tolerance. Tolerance is not abandoning your own beliefs to accommodate another’s. Tolerance is not hurling insults and calling names at anyone who does not support your lifestyle. And tolerance is not suspending someone from their television show for expressing their beliefs.
       You see, A&E, it is you that is in the wrong. America is a Christian nation, despite how it has slipped in past decades. God is still the Supreme Judge and His Word is still the complete and inerrant source of truth. To not believe this makes you in error. I would go into further proof of God’s existence and the Bible’s infallibility, but that is for another time (brevity is a virtue). Men have stood on these convictions for centuries. Anyone, such as GLAAD, for example, that would say that Christians believe that homosexuality is acceptable before a righteous God and acceptable for us, clearly are not Christians and do not know the Bible. God states from the beginning that marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24), destroys the cities of the plain for this very sin (Gen. 18:16-19:28; Jude 7), and reveals His wrath toward it (Rom. 1:18-32). These are but some examples in addition to what Mr. Robertson shared.
 However, this was not a sharing of hatred. Phil Robertson gave his Biblical-based views, and is being persecuted for them. He also gave the view that people are created in the image of God and should love each other- that he loves humanity. He shared that he will not judge man’s sin but will tell them the good news of the gospel and let God judge them. This is exactly the view that the Bible has told us to take. It is the view that I take and that all Christians should take.
       Even if you do not take these views, which you obviously do not, that does not stop me from showing love to you, nor did it stop me from watching your programs or sharing friendships with anyone. But you do not know the meaning of tolerance. You consider someone exercising their right of free religion and speech by stating that they believe homosexuality is wrong intolerant, yet you consider GLAAD tolerant when they tell Christians what they should
believe. You take your high-grossing character as a narrow-minded intolerant man when he says that he wouldn’t treat anyone differently or judge them, but you take yourselves as completely tolerant when you suspend him for saying that. You take intolerance as a Christian standing up for their beliefs that homosexuality is a sin but still showing love to all, but take tolerance as leaders in the LGBTQ movement calling them “homophobic bigots” and targeting them for punishment for doing so. Intolerance is having convictions, tolerance is telling people to believe your way, or at least condone your lifestyle, or else get targeted by you. Tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street. Instead, for the most part, it is a one-way street, and those that strongly preach it are not the ones that live up to it.
       What Phil Robertson is guilty of is having different beliefs than you. He has the correct beliefs, you the incorrect. But in America, you have the right to be wrong in thought, and in some cases in action. But one is supposed to have the right to be right as well, and this right is slipping. While the Robertsons have brought in millions for you, and have created an entirely new brand you can market, you have sat back and sneered at their beliefs you despise. And when Phil Robertson is ASKED what he thinks on a subject, knowing what he would say, and he responds truthfully, you are quick to suspend him from the show you are profiting from. (And most of the left-wing media calls his comments “anti-gay” and twists them to say that he equates homosexuality with bestiality.) Yet the next day you show a marathon with him in every episode (so I heard, I didn’t watch). This is a double standard that rivals the tolerance one. If I were the Robertsons, I would refuse to make any more episodes. You have obviously needed them; you have little else to market. I will be one of many boycotting your network, not for your views, but for your treatment of one who simply expressed his beliefs.
       A&E, your “tolerance” is showing.


Joseph A. Trammell

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