A cable network once heralded for bringing the family values of the Robertson family into American homes through the hit program “Duck Dynasty” is now in hot water after suspending one of the show’s biggest stars.
The brouhaha started with a GQ interview with family patriarch Phil Robertson, in which he expressed traditional Christian views regarding sin. In addition to alcohol abuse, greed, and other acts displeasing to God, he expressed the biblical view that homosexuality is sinful.
Taking this and other statements out of context, activists quickly moved to portray the comments as intolerant and hateful. While Robertson, who is a preacher in Louisiana, unequivocally stated that his admonitions were rooted in love and concern, the radical left created a firestorm that ultimately ended in the 67-year-old hunting magnate being indefinitely kicked off of the show.
Along with a number of other news sources with a strong allegiance to the First Amendment, the Western Center for Journalism is giving Robertson’s supporters a forum through which to voice their concern.
In addition to a petition that will be sent directly to A&E executives, fans of the ratings giant can take part in a conversation regarding this controversy by “liking” the Facebook page “Petition for Phil.”
A&E has come under fire before for allegedly asking the Robertson family to omit invocations to Jesus in the prayer that ends each episode. The stars – along with a great many fans – expressed outrage at the request, and the network relented.
The show has grown to be A&E’s most successful show; however, the huge amount of money the Robertsons have earned for the network did not prevent executives from punishing Phil for expressing his personal beliefs. A number of high-profile individuals, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have responded to the developing story with unwavering support for the Robertson clan.
In fact, opposition is originating primarily from the special interest groups that initially complained about Robertson’s comments to GQ and do not represent the show’s target audience. Modern television provides abundant content aimed directly at homosexuals and other minority communities. When a refreshingly traditional show gains traction, however, it is routinely and roundly criticized for its purported intolerance.
The program has only become a success because millions of loyal viewers identify with the Christian conservatism expressed by its stars. Thanks to our interconnected culture, that same audience can now immediately express its collective outrage over Robertson’s suspension.
–B. Christopher Agee
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