On Christmas morning, my wife sent a text message to me and our children with a link to a YouTube video. The beginning of the video showed images from the first Christmas. The audio that played in the background was from the segment of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Linus recited the famous passage from the Gospel of Luke: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them….”
While I was watching the video, I thought about the recent controversy over the suspension (on December 19) of Phil Robertson from the A&E Network television show, “Duck Dynasty.”
Most people don’t know this, but in 1965, when Charles Schultz wrote “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” network executives at CBS objected to the scene where Linus walked onto the stage and recited the story of the birth of Christ.
The reason the CBS executives resisted the Christian message was because they didn’t think their viewers would want to sit through the reading of a passage from the bible. Shultz insisted that the scene be included. At one point, he told the executives, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?”
It turned out that the executives were wrong about their viewers. Schultz told his story for the first time on December 9, 1965, when the show aired on network television. During the show, over 50 percent of the televisions in America were tuned into the program. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” later went on to win both an Emmy and a Peabody award.
So why was Phil Robertson suspended by the A&E Network? Because he had the audacity to state in an interview that homosexual behavior is a sin.
After Robertson’s suspension, the executives at A&E learned the same lesson that the CBS executives learned in 1965: At its core, America is a Christian nation.
The day after the announcement, the Robertson family rallied around their “patriarch” and made it clear to A&E that they wouldn’t be participating in the show if Phil was left out. Within 24 hours of the announcement, millions of Americans expressed their support for Phil Robertson by calling A&E and by posting messages on social media sites that were set up to support Phil and his family.
Last Sunday (December 22), Robertson told the congregation at his church in West Monroe, Louisiana, “I will not give or back off from my path … I am a lover of humanity, not a hater.” He expressed what all true Christians believe — that we are to love the sinner but hate the sin.
On Friday (December 27), A&E caved-in and reversed its decision by announcing that Phil Robertson would be included in the filming of the upcoming season of “Duck Dynasty.”
In response to A&E’s reversal, GLAAD, the organization that bullied A&E executives into suspending Robertson (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), issued a statement that A&E cared more about profits than gay people.
We Christians could not have asked for a better Christmas present than for A&E to be beaten into submission by the Robertson family and their Christian supporters.
There is a small group of individuals, probably no more than 5 percent of the population, who have banded together to silence everyone who believes that the sins of the flesh — homosexuality, pornography, contraception, abortion, premarital sex, and adultery — are acceptable and, in some cases, laudatory. I’m going to refer to this small group of individuals as “sin pushers.”
The sin pushers are wealthy, smart, creative, bold, and aggressive. They are as “wise as serpents” and are experts at using money, power, shame, manipulation, and intimidation to get their way. While they believe that they have the right to force their beliefs on everyone else, they attack anyone who dares to express an opposing belief as a “hater” and a “bigot.”
On our own, we Christians are no match for the sin pushers. They hold positions of power and influence in the government, media, and institutions of higher education. They are not afraid to use their money, power, and influence to forcibly shut us down.
The three most effective weapons that we have in our arsenal to fight and beat back the sin pushers are prayer, and the virtues of humility and courage. We saw all three of these weapons utilized in the battle with A&E.
The executives at A&E didn’t think the Robertsons were a match for A&E’s money, power, and influence. Here’s what the executives thought: The Robertsons are nothing more than a family of ignorant hillbillies who like to hunt ducks. They’re no match for our superior intelligence. We’ll teach those nitwits a lesson.
Ooops! It looks like the hillbillies wiped the floor with the highbrowed sin pushers from A&E. How did they do that? By using the weapons of prayer, humility, and courage.
A victory over the sin pushers is always a good way to end one year and begin a new one. Let’s resolve to use those same weapons — prayer, humility, and courage — more frequently in 2014 to chalk up more victories against the sin pushers.
Happy New Year!