Millions of Americans have voiced their support for Phil Robertson over the past week. Where the liberal left met his comments about homosexuality with indignation, social conservatives saw Robertson’s outspokenness as a basic affirmation of the Bible.
With social media pages like “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty” boasting more than 1.7 million likes and petitions like “Pleasesupportphil.com” boasting tens of thousands of signatures, support for the Duck Dynasty patriarch has generated a call to action that few social movements in history could ever boast accomplishing.
It’s the kind of reaction that anyone who has ever run for office could only dream of.
And yet despite the obvious enthusiasm and energy of the social conservative demographic that wants to stick a finger in the eye of the liberal elites who routinely denigrate and slander them (even as they make billions of dollars off of them with Duck Dynasty and associated merchandise) this is the same demographic that is consistently ignored by the political party that claims to represent them.
Should we pin the blame on the Republican Party, which by trying to target different and “more diverse” demographic groups over the past few election cycles, has forgotten about the base? Or should we pin the blame on those of faith who are not motivated to rise up and show the same passion for a candidate as they do for Phil Robertson?
There are more then 46 million citizens today who polling indicates are driven by their Christian faith, and yet in the 2012 Presidential election little to no emphasis was put on their vote. That’s why traditional red states like Indiana which saw a 6% decrease in the Evangelical vote from 2008 and Kansas saw a 7% drop in the Evangelical vote from 2004. The faith voter is simply choosing to not show up on Election Day.
Even though a motivated Christian electorate made up one-quarter of the 2012 election, when the dust had settled, GOP bigwigs immediately started talking about how they were going to target traditionally left-leaning demographics – Hispanics, single women, and African-Americans – while ignoring the easiest group to recruit.
Not only did key Republican leaders ignore the faith voter potential, in many cases they blamed them for the loss because of their decision to stay home. Maybe instead of blaming those who feel disenfranchised by a party that has left its traditional social roots, the GOP undertake an initiative to woo them again. Instead of blaming the victim, the GOP might undergo some self-reflection.
If anything, the past week has shown the ability of this demographic to mobilize, demand attention even from a mainstream media inclined to ignore it, and deliver results. Cracker Barrel reversed its decision to remove any products related to Phil Robertson. Bass Pro Shops, UnderArmour and dozens of other of corporate sponsors and merchandisers of Duck Dynasty have remained strongly in the Robertson camp.
I’m not willing to give those of faith a total free pass. Many of us can be motivated to write emails to corporate offices, proudly post pictures of ourselves in camouflage on social media, and stand hours in line for a chicken sandwich, rarely do we ever find ourselves publically displaying this amount of passion towards putting folks in office who will support public displays of faith, whether it be prayer in our schools, the Ten Commandments in our courtrooms, or politically-incorrect but Biblically-faithful comments about sexuality in our pop culture.
Until we can mobilize en masse on behalf of political candidates like we have over the last week on behalf of the Robertson clan, we still have ourselves to blame when Washington doesn’t reflect our values and wishes.
While the Republican Party should still be trying to recruit different and new demographics in the upcoming election cycles, the GOP needs a renewed effort to motivate committed Christians to register to vote, get involved in the election process and show up on Election Day for our candidates who are not afraid to stand up for their Judeo-Christian beliefs. The alternative is to let this country continue down the path towards the eradication of God.
For too long, we have sat in our pews and politely looked on as our elected officials have been allowed to chip away at the Christian foundation of America. We have allowed our children’s education to be usurped by the Canaanites of Common Core, our tax system to be corrupted as if it were being governed by the Romans, and our homes to be controlled as if we resided in ancient Egypt.
Again, we might take a lesson from the Bible. In Canaan, Rome and Egypt, the people of God were called to action. And with faithful hearts and clean minds, in each case they emerged victorious.
The Republican Party leaders in Washington will not listen to us unless we make them. They will continue to ignore our voice and our vote unless we demonstrate that they cannot win without our involvement. In turn, every Christian needs to do his part. All of us need to get out of comfort zone and safe sanctuary and start speaking out when it comes to controversial issues, even when it may be unpopular. In that Phil Robertson teaches a lesson to all of us.