Cancel Culture vs. Christianity w/ Duck Dynasty’s Patriarch Phil Robertson
We enjoyed having Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” family, join us on the show to talk with us about “cancel culture” and how it contrasts with Christianity. Phil goes in-depth about this topic in his new book Uncancelled: Finding Meaning and Peace in a Culture of Accusations, Shame, and Condemnation. There are many individuals who have tried to cancel Phil Robertson and his family over the years, but he says none of their efforts have worked, due in part to his transparency about his mistakes and past sin.
What is cancel culture?
Cancel culture is a buzzword these days, but what does it actually mean? When we asked Phil how he would define cancel culture, he said,
“What we have is a mighty throng of individuals and what they’re doing is they’re trying to dig up any mistake that their fellow man has made…and they want that to be known by the world. And they ostracize them [the person who made the mistake] and they’re fired from their work. They try to destroy them…There is zero forgiveness in their hearts.”
He contrasted this view with what God says in Scripture about failure and judging others for their mistakes, quoting part of Romans 2.
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4)
Phil explains that Jesus didn’t come to condemn or cancel us (even though he had every right to because he is perfect and we are not!) Instead, He forgave us and canceled, instead, the law that we weren’t able to keep. Cancel culture, therefore, directly opposes God’s character. The world says, “You only have so many tries to get it right.” But God gives us grace upon grace, second chance after second chance. He is patient with us, even when we fail a thousand times, and forgives us because of the sacrifice of His son. “[Jesus] gets rid of the code for us instead of getting rid of us!” Phil says. This message is one our cancel-prone culture needs to hear!
But how do we balance sharing the truth of God’s Word and preserving relationships with people?
Phil’s answer: “There is no downside for loving God and loving your neighbor.” Sometimes this is easier said than done, particularly when we are interacting with people who think and believe so contradictory to God’s Word! But this is our calling as believers: to be salt and light in a perverse world. If we truly love God and people, we will speak the truth in such a way that is honest yet kind. We won’t try to hide our past mistakes or judge others for theirs. We will openly admit to our shortcomings and not allow ourselves to fear being “canceled.” After all, the only opinion that matters is God’s, and He has declared us free from condemnation.