Tolerance and the Duck Dynasty debacle


Okay, everyone take a deep breath. We are gonna get through this post in one piece, I promise. 

I went to bed last night having read the news about Phil from Duck Dynasty being suspended for anti-gay remarks. There was such a heaviness in my gut as I tried to go to sleep. It wasn’t anger or frustration… it was sadness.

I’m not a lawyer but I am assuming the same rights that give Phil the freedom to say what he believes  (although, the word choices could have been better) are the same rights that allow A & E to employ who they want. And if A & E isn’t allowed the right to choose employees that align with their values or beliefs, then that means a  Christian run business is also not allowed to choose employees that align with their values & beliefs. So, I’m not here to bash a television network or it’s star.

I think Phil has the right to express his belief because he was asked about it. I think A & E is a business that has the right to hire/fire whoever it wants. You have the right to boycott or write letters to whomever you wish, but that isn’t really what this post is about anyway. It’s a post about how we treat people we don’t agree with…or don’t like.

I believe in the power of tolerance. I believe that people who disagree with one another on faith, politics, environment, social issues, morality or anything else can truly love and respect each other.

Maybe I’m a dreamer, in fact I know I am.

The sadness I felt last night wasn’t about this specific situation really , but the way in which we handle people who are different than we are.

I am a Christian and I see church leaders fighting each other on the application of scripture. I am a Democrat and I watch political brawls go down on both sides of the aisle. I am a mother and I watch mom’s waging war on educational choices, vaccines and sleep schedules.

My daughter goes to public school and has been vaccinated. I can’t even tell you how many mean-spirited articles I have seen on Facebook that tell me how I am screwing up my kids because of that. And it goes both ways. You non-vacciners have gotten your fair share of Facebook rebuke. What happened to sitting around kitchen tables actually discussing these things?

We are going to disagree and debate. That’s fine. However, we have lost the art of constructive disagreement and replaced it with destructive disagreement. I see our nation tearing each other down on a daily basis.

When did we become so mean? Just the other day I got this Facebook message from someone I knew in high school. Hadn’t talked to him in years, but he just decided to express his not-so-nice opinion.


I’ll be the first to say my blog needs some work. No news there. But, really? A Facebook slam for no apparent reason other than you think I suck and you want to bash on social media? If you really want to help me be a better blogger, give me feedback on how I could improve my content. But, he didn’t want me to get better. He just didn’t like me.

I’m not saying I am a saint. I can be mean too. And I want to change. I want to be better.

I believe in humble disagreement not proud arguments. That means messy and dirty – loving your neighbor as yourself. Even if they believe in aliens, if they think global-warming is a hoax,  if they say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, if they are gay, Muslim, Baptist, Republican, Democrat, if they think the United States should be run entirely by militias….whatever the heck they they think is true.

If you don’t feel you have the freedom to tell me what you think or believe then how can  I know you?  And if I don’t know you, how can I love you?

My hope is that we actually move beyond tolerating one another to actually loving one another. Genuinely building community with people who are different – maybe even opposing – to us in some form or fashion.

I want an America that embraces each other – not keeps our distance afraid that we will step on toes. I want Love to win, as I know it will. My desire is for people to stop saying mean things, but I want to love them even if they never do.

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Filed under current events, Faith, Fire, Politics, Uncategorized

38 responses to “Tolerance and the Duck Dynasty debacle

  1. AMEN! I think what bothered me so much was that on the news last night, Megan Kelley interviewed a homosexual man about Phil’s comments. He called it “hate speech” and was furious with what was said. . . Megan Kelley asked numerous times, “how would you like for someone to disagree with you about homosexuality?” and his answer was basically they can’t disagree with me and if you do you are living in archaic times. What saddens me is that there is a cry for tolerance and then it seems to me that there isn’t tolerance toward Bible believing Christians. Even though I would not have said the same words Phil said, he kept saying, I am not judging, I love all people because they were all created by the Almighty, etc. There was only love in his message. No hate. God does call us to love. And we are to love all people. I can love someone with all of my heart and not agree with the decisions they are making! This whole situation just breaks my heart.

    • You know, to be honest, I don’t think any of us really know how we want people to disagree with us. It’s a question worth debating. How can we all be kind and not compromise our personal opinions or beliefs. A very complex question!

  2. Thank you for this! I long for the day when we can all just respect and love each other no matter how strongly we disagree.

  3. Heather

    I agree with you completely and feel the same as Elizabeth’s comment. Things are all mixed up and backwards in this world and it’s very disheartening. But the upside- makes me cling even closer to Jesus!

  4. If that guy hated your blog so much maybe he should just stop reading it. What a jerk!

  5. Chelsea Dameron

    I love reading this blog. It is vulnerable and challenging. Thank you for being refreshingly real instead of prim and perfect. Keep on keepin’ on girl!

  6. That comment from your former classmate was awful. He’s wrong and he has issues. I feel sorry for him actually. Too bad, his mama didn’t teach him how to show respect.

  7. Liz, thank you for your desire to love despite our disagreements. I believe you chose words that uplift. Blessings!

  8. Liz, thanks for sharing. A word about how we talk to one another from opposite sides of such significant issues is certainly much-needed! I like the way that you’ve looked at the issues of freedom of speech and tolerance from both points of view here.

    One thing I’d love to hear your thoughts on – how do we push against something we feel to be right or wrong without being intolerant? Are there certain ways of speaking or behaving that we should not tolerate? How does the push for tolerance intersect with the fight for justice? Are there any times that tolerance should be sacrificed for justice (such as in your own fight against slavery)?

    – Suppose I disagree with Phil (I do). Should I as a Christian tolerate comments from a fellow-Christian that I feel are harmful to other human beings and misrepresent God and the Church? Is it intolerant to speak out against Phil’s comments and to call them ignorant and harmful? What does it look like for me to affirm his freedom to have his own opinion when I find his opinion- especially in the way he expressed it – to be unfair, ignorant, and harmful? Can he be held to a different standard because he is representing Christians? Is it OK for me to be intolerant because it is a matter of justice in my view?

    – Suppose I agree with Phil’s thoughts about homosexuality (I do not). How would I be tolerant to fellow Christians or those of other faith-traditions (or those who do not have a faith-tradition) who disagree? Is it OK for me to be intolerant of the gay community or their allies because it is a matter of “right and wrong” in my view?

    Would love to hear your thoughts. We should grab coffee some time!

  9. Let’s touch base early Jan when holidays have settled – and head to Dichotomy =)

  10. Joanie Nycum

    First of all, I thought Phil’s comments were not said in a rude manner at all. If he were gay, however, and said that heterosexuals were wrong based on personal beliefs, I don’t think he would have been “suspended” from his show. I think the media would have applauded him, loved him, supported him, encouraged him, blessed him…based on their behavior in the past. I truly don’t think A&E would have fired him for that – too afraid to “offend” the homosexual community, and while we’re at, too afraid to offend Muslims, too afraid to offend anyone who is NOT a Christian. And, companies owned and run by Christians employ MANY people who are not Christians (or do you have inside information on every employee’s spiritual beliefs?). Technically, you’re absolutely right – A&E is a private company that has the right to employ whomever they like, but do you TRULY believe they would have suspended someone for Christian-bashing? Come on – you know they wouldn’t. It’s the “in” thing to do! He was suspended for one reason only; isn’t deciding to hire or fire someone contingent on religious beliefs, race, creed, color, etc. illegal? I have to complete a training every year where I work that proves I understand this, and if it happens (by me or to me), then legal action might be taken. People who have no clue what the Bible really says thump it every time a Christian stands on its Words. I have even had people say to me, “Well, if that’s what the Bible REALLY says, then the Bible is full of sh**!” But, they still think they can “quote” it (or, misquote it) for their own agenda. Billy Graham said, “Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone – except God.”

  11. DanielleD

    Agreed. Although i’m a bit confused about the first person’s response. Saying that Phil’s comments were all love, no hate. Is that right? I felt the opposite. Lumping homosexuals together with terrorists… that’s not love. His was an ugly, ignorant diatribe. His language was crude (aren’t we supposed to watch our language as Christians??); nobody is talking about that! Why not?? I’ve heard lots of people argue eloquently and lovingly against the practice of homosexuality. Why aren’t Christians railing against his views on race? That was the most shocking to me. I feel like Christians now days are far more interested in their “rights” as Americans (wealth! guns! free speech!!) and far less concerned about kingdom values (justice! solidarity! sacrifice for the good of others!).

  12. Staci

    Rick Warren made an interesting comment about tolerance that I found interesting:

    “The problem is that tolerant has changed its meaning. It used to mean ‘I may disagree with you completely, but I will treat you with respect. Today, tolerant means – ‘you must approve of everything I do.’ There’s a difference between tolerance and approval. Jesus accepted everyone no matter who they were. He doesn’t approve of everything I do, or you do, or anybody else does either. You can be accepting without being approving.”

    It’s all in the wording and words don’t mean what they used to.

    • Staci, I totally agree. I don’t think anyone is very clear on what tolerance means these days. Love those words by Rick Warren “you can be accepting without being approving”. Thanks for sharing!

  13. This was my favorite article on this that I’ve read all day. I’m so tired of getting everyone’s opinions and adding to the noise … But this was refreshing. Amen to everything you said!
    And can you please tell me the name of the “high-profile blogger” so that I can NEVER EVER EVER read his blog.

  14. Reblogged this on Shouts from the Abyss and commented:
    I’ve been feeling dark about how we as Americans have been treating each other recently. But rather than stay dark I decided to go with a more upbeat tone for this week’s reblog. The topic is the Culture War fracas over Ducky Dynasty, a TV show I have never seen.

  15. Just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog. It deeply inspires and encourages me every time I read it. Love your perspectives 🙂

  16. Just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog. I’m refreshed and encouraged every time I read a post! Love your perspectives 🙂

  17. Snoring Dog Studio

    I think we’re mired in what the definition of “tolerance” is. I agree with the commenter that tolerance doesn’t necessarily include embracing someone else’s homophobic beliefs or poor word choice, whichever it was. We wouldn’t tolerate children bullying and disparaging others, why should we tolerate it in adults?

  18. Jess Wells

    Oh, this spoke to my heart!!!! THANK YOU! I agree with everything you said! And on another note, I LOVE your blog and don’t listen to those filled with hate:) He is probably just jealous of your blog;) Have a fabulous Christmas and thank you for being you!!

  19. This was really well-said. We talk so much about tolerance, and yet we rarely think about what it means.

  20. This is so good. I wrote something about how we talk to each other over the internet as well. I think it makes people so much braver than they would be face to face, and I wonder why people feel freedom to post something like that guy did on your FB. I know you didn’t write this to get false praise for you blog, but I think your blog is quite clever, and hardly overly emotional! One of my favorites!

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