A&E just fired Phil Robertson because he expressed his opinions on homosexuality. They called it an indefinite hiatus, but I think everyone understands what they really meant.
Phil Robertson is the senior patriarch of A&E’s popular ‘Duck Dynasty’ reality show. The program is the most watched reality show in the U.S. ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ recent Christmas program had 9 million viewers.
The show is based around Duck Commander, a duck call manufacturer started by Phil and now run by the Robertson family. The Robertson clan are a strong, Christian family with a redneck edge. Most of the men sport full-blown beards and prefer hunting for dinner over buying it at the supermarket.
Phil got into trouble during a recent interview with GQ Magazine in which he provided his opinions on homosexuality. In the interview he said:
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong…. sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph out of there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
Phil then paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6: 9, 10: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolators, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanders, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
He used a bit more graphic language to describe homosexual activity as “illogical.”
Phil added, “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus — whether they are homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ‘em out later, you see what I am saying?”
Predictably, the gay community reacted to Phil’s views. According to a GLAAD spokesperson, Phil Robertson doesn’t really understand what true Christians believe when it comes to homosexuality. And called for A&E to “reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”
With pressure from the Gay community, A&E immediately cut ties with Phil saying they have suspended him indefinitely from the show.
Commenting on A&E’s decision, GLAAD said, “What is clear is that such hateful, anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers and networks alike.”
My concern is how they twinned “hateful” and “anti-gay.” So anyone who doesn’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle (anti-gay) is now hateful? Are we all required to openly promote this lifestyle? Is no one allowed to disagree? Is this the new America?
Can a person disagree with the lifestyle, but still love the person?
Free speech endangered
The real issue is one of free speech. Phil clearly disagreed with homosexuality, but by no standard was he hateful, unless you consider any form of dissent with the gay lifestyle as hate.
Commentators, politicians and religious leaders responded to this infringement of free speech.
Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook:
“Free speech is an endangered species. Those intolerants’ hating and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinions are taking us all on.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote:
“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views.”
Todd Starnes from Fox news described it this way:
“Duck Dynasty has been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness….
It’s not about capitalism. It’s about driving an agenda and shoving it down the throats of the American public. And Hollywood is beholden to an agenda that is anti-Christian and anti-family.
But these days it’s open season on Christians and Hollywood has both barrels aimed at folks like the Robertson’s and anyone else who loves God and the traditional definition of marriage.”
Popular radio host Rush Limbaugh said:
“The long knives are out for Phil Robertson. The left is hysterical. Rather than letting it go…. they’re making a huge, huge deal out of it. It’s outrageous. But his views …. they line up almost exactly with the views of the new BFF (best friend forever) of the libs, the Catholic Church.”
Congressman Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas says:
“Your personal views on private relationships aside, the radical left once again seeks to personally destroy anyone who voices an opinion different than theirs.”
“The liberal war on speech must end now. Liberals define “tolerance” the same way the Soviets defined “peace” — the eradication of opposition. They are on a mission to eradicate dissent. Please stand with Phil today.”
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. president of The Southern Baptist Theological seminary:
“So the controversy over Duck Dynasty sends a clear signal to anyone who has anything to risk in public life: Say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz posted a response on his Facebook page:
“Free Speech Matters
The reason that so many Americans love Duck Dynasty is because it represents the America usually ignored or mocked by liberal elites: a family that loves and cares for each other, believes in God, and speaks openly about their faith.
If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson. Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job. In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him–but the mainstream media should not behave as the though police censoring the views with which they disagree.”
Some have suggested that Phil has the freedom to say what he wants, but so does A&E and if they want to sack him, they can. Certainly that is true, but I am not sure A&E has the freedom to sack Phil because of his Christian beliefs.
Phil Robertson , if he is so inclined, may have grounds for a lawsuit. Frankly, I am not sure leaving TV is a big issue for Phil.
Phil’s comments should not shock A&E executives and the millions of people who watch Duck Dynasty weekly. On the show, family members are very forthright about their faith and consider family important. It has become a lighthouse for Americans floundering in a country that has lost those values.
In the CQ Magazine interview, Phil added he is not sure how much longer ‘Duck Dynasty’ will last. Like every TV show it comes with an expiration date and the end of the show is probably sooner than later.
However, Phil has no doubt God gave the Robertson family this opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ.
“We’re Bible thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” Phil said.
In fact, Phil even asked the CQ interviewer if he was saved and shared the gospel with him.
It will be interesting to see how things go from here. According to an A&E spokesperson, new ‘Duck Dynasty’ shows are basically completed and ready to go in the new year and will probably include Phil Robertson.
But will the close-knit Robertson family continue the show on A&E’s terms, after the next season?
Robertson family responds to A&E:
On their website, the Robertson Clan just issued this response to A&E’s firing:
“We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word.
While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.
We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.”
What you can do?
What can you do to show your support for Phil Robertson? Sign a petition demanding A&E restore Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty series.
Show your support at a Facebook page dedicated to boycotting A&E for its firing of Phil. Go to: Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty. As of Friday morning, September 20, 2013, the page had 1.4 million ‘likes.’ The number of ‘likes’ has doubled in a matter of hours.
- Rush: ‘Mock outrage’ behind ‘Duck Dynasty’ firing: WND
- Furious Duck Dynasty fans loaded for bear: WND
- A&E declares war on Duck Dynasty’s Christian values: Foxnews
- Sarah Palin, Gov. Jindal, ‘Duck Dynasty’ fans react to Phil Robertson’s suspension by A&E: Foxnews
- What the Duck? CQ Magazine
- Robertson family statement: duck commander.com
- You Have Been Warned—The “Duck Dynasty” Controversy: Albertmohler.com
More ‘Duck Dynasty’ articles on opentheword
- Phil Robertson: “You can only run the ole’ sex, drugs and rock and roll so far.”
- Miss Kay shares about the dark days before Duck Dynasty
- Duck Dynasty men encounter the sexual temptations packaged with fame
- Did Duck Dynasty editors censor “in Jesus’ name” so not to offend Muslims?
- Duck Dynasty star kicked out of Trump hotel for vagrancy