Duck Dynasty Debacle
Let me be the first to say that I have never watched the top-rated A&E TV program, “Duck Dynasty”. From what I can fathom, and what others report, the show is about a family in Louisiana selling duck calls, a family that went from rags to riches via good, ole American enterprise, that believes in faith, family, and fun.
Now the patriarch of the family is under attack by A&E for an interview he did with GQ magazine. In the tete-a-tete, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is asked his views on homosexuality. What this has to do with men’s fashion, business acumen, or life in the backwoods is anyone’s guess.
Robertson, who admits being involved with drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll during the turbulent 1960s, credits his turnaround to a faith in Jesus Christ and embracing a new way of life. When he quotes the Bible on homosexuality, is that really surprising? He does not put down gays, does not slur them, and does not suggest to engage in any type of violence or hate crimes. He simply declares that the Bible calls homosexual acts “sin”.
Doubly shocking.This is something from which the American public definitely deserves to be protected. The very idea of sin!
Don’t be deceived: these are not simpletons from the south. Most of them are college grads, with Phil playing college football and being offered a contract by the Washington Redskins but leaving football because it interfered with duck season. He was a schoolteacher, who earned his Master’s Degree by nightschool. Si was a Vietnam vet. Willie and his wife, Korie, also hold college degrees and have helped build the business into a multi-million-dollar empire.
Problem is, that funny thing called faith. All of that praying before meals. Staying married to one person. Sticking with your family even when you don’t see eye-to-eye. And yes, talking about your beliefs when asked point-blank by an interviewer.
A&E feels that someway, somehow, Phil Robertson’s Constitutional freedom of exercise of free speech may harm and diminish their viewing audience.
Au contraire. The lucrative target audiences of 18-34- and 18-49-year-olds are not as anti-faith as TV execs might imagine. A&E’s ouster of the family patriarch resulted in fast and furious petitions calling for Robertson’s reinstatement, primarily in two huge Facebook groups, “Stand with Phil Robertson” and “Bring Back Phil Robertson”. So much for faith “offending” viewers.
Personally, I sought out people that regularly tune in to the show. They love it, and find it both fun and refreshing, rather than the usual A&E fare, fun and outrageously off-the-rocker. In my opinion, I think that the network may have wanted to carry the show in an effort to further marginalize and trivialize Christianity as a backwater belief.
Instead, it backfired, and brought faith even more mainstream to the American public.
I’m a believer in Jesus, and might identify myself more with Fifth Avenue than with the far backwoods. I know all about the caricatures of food hoarding and doomsday preachers, pick-up trucks with shotguns in the back, and so much more. But the fact is, we evangelicals are everywhere, from boardrooms to ballgames, and the media moguls are none too pleased. They wish we would just hush up and go away.
What they don’t understand is: this is reality rather than a reality show.
In essence, by suspending him from his own family’s reality show, A&E has stated to Phil Robertson that they don’t like him, they don’t like his faith, and they don’t like his family makeup. Try doing that to a gay person and you’ll learn what verboten is. But some family man quoting the Bible?
He’s fair game to shoot down like a duck from the sky.
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