The fallout from A&E’s decision to suspend Phil Robertson from the hit reality TV show Duck Dynasty continues to be the dominate story on the Internet. As we reported yesterday, Robertson’s interview with GQ magazine and the subsequent outcry led to his ousting.
The backlash has been growing. Within minutes of A&E’s announcement, websites, Facebook pages, and petitions sprang up in support of the beleaguered star, including the “We Stand with Phil” page that has attracted 1.2 million likes as of this writing. Governor and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is encouraging people to “Stand with Phil and Support Free Speech,” According to Huckabee,
“In recent days, a small, but vocal and militant group of same-sex marriage advocates have co-opted religious liberty to force industry and government to go beyond tolerating homosexuality, but to APPROVE it. Any deviation from Biblical and traditional marriage is to be embraced, but there is no deviation tolerated from those who want to force acceptance, approval, and activism of same sex marriage.”
Coming from a different angle, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, writing at The Gospel Coalition blog, finds extreme irony in a culture that celebrates crude song lyrics and movie depictions of sexuality, but castigates “vulgar” rejections of them. “It’s ironic that young girls can parade themselves as hyper-sexualized beings on major awards shows,” yet Robertson is vilified for his thoughts.
Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, sees the issue as one that reveals the unaddressed tensions in America. Christians, he says, need to find ways to lovingly engage on these issues without relying on the same tactics used against Robertson:
“We’re a divided country on sexual issues. That’s why every news cycle brings more controversy. Why not engage one another, and have the debates in a civil fashion, without attempting to silence one another. I don’t agree with David Letterman’s views on divorce and cohabitation, but I don’t want him suspended for voicing them.”
For their part, the Robertson family released a brief statement addressing the future of Duck Dynasty:
“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.”
What are your thoughts about Phil Robertson’s comments? Have you done anything to show support?
John UpChurch is the senior editor of BibleStudyTools.com and Jesus.org. You’ll usually find him downing coffee at his standing desk (like a boss).