Some have said that this isn't a "free speech" issue because the station had a right to hire and fire whoever they wish. Even some in the media have voiced this position. But be assured it is a "free speech" issue because the station is licensed by the FCC, and therefore is responsible, not only to the terms of their license, but also to the general public. Besides, he did not even say those things on A&E; it was during an interview in a publication expressing Robertson's sincerely held religious and moral convictions.
Another argument I've heard against supporting the Duckster was from a preacher who said that Robertson couldn't be a true Christian, because he was a member of the Church of Christ, which believes in "baptismal regeneration." Another one said that we shouldn't stand with the Duck Dynasty because Christians shouldn't watch their program because there isn't anything Christian about it.
Regardless of whether these things are true or not, what has this to do with the fact that people are being kicked off of the air waves in America for being politically incorrect? If we do not stand up against this kind of treatment, it won't be long until not only will it be a crime to preach the gospel over the airwaves, but it will be a crime to preach or witness on the streets. We are very close now to that happening.
When the American and Christian community let A&E and Cracker Barrel know of their unreserved support for Duck Dynasty, they were simply, in our opinion, saying we've had enough of Christian and conservative bashing. It was the same way when they caused traffic jams all over the country on Aug. 1, 2012 for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, to support Dan Cathy, CEO of the organization, who had made statements opposing same sex marriage.
We have seen prayer and the Bible removed from the schools, the Ten Commandments taken from Court Houses, Nativity Scenes taken from town squares, crosses removed from soldier's cemeteries, teachers fired for having a Bible on their desk, a child suspended for saying Merry Christmas to an atheist teacher, children kicked out of school for wearing religious symbols on shirts, prayer no longer allowed at football games, students downgraded for giving religious answers on tests, and this is just the tip of the ice berg. We could fill several pages with more examples.
A pastor in Sweden was recently imprisoned for preaching a sermon against Sodomy in his own pulpit. If Phil Robertson had not won, we were almost there, right here in America. That's why we support Phil Robertson whether he has doctrinal errors or not. That's not the issue. Whatever religion he has, it is more than most Christians I know. At least he had guts enough to stand up and be counted, give a clear Christian testimony as to what Jesus did for him when he was deep in sin, and declare without apology that Sodomy is sin. And when all of the pressure of the world came down on him, he didn't back down. That's more than I can say for some Christians I know, including some Baptists.
Following is the account of the controversy for those who don't get out much.
Arts & Entertainment Network, a little more than a week after announcing it was putting Duck Commander Phil Robertson of the immensely popular "Duck Dynasty" television show on hiatus over some comments he made, is backing down.
The network today released a statement that it is planning to resume work on the programming, with Phil Robertson and the rest of the "Dynasty" cast.
The network earlier had jumped to a decision to suspend Robertson when homosexual activists complained that Robertson, paraphrasing from the Bible, said homosexuality is a sin.
"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. … Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he said.
Paraphrasing a passage from the book of I Corinthians, he said: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right.
"Those who created our country, the Founding Fathers and Mothers, understood that there is a divine order which transcends the human order," he said. He cited the Mayflower Compact ("In the name of God"), the Declaration of Independence ("Nature's God") and the fact oaths of office are oaths "before God."
"The state was tolerant of religious belief, expression and practice. … Society, too, was tolerant," he said. Until the courts took prayer out of schools, and the attacks began.”
The backlash over Robertson’s suspension from the A&E show was immediate and huge, and in the face of the Robertsons' faith, viewer outrage, and visions of the end of a huge money-maker for the network, A&E backed down.
Its statement said, "As a global media content company, A&E Networks' core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people's home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals. That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson."
They continued, "While Phil's comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the 'coarse language' he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would 'never incite or encourage hate.' We at A&E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold."
But the network said the show "resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love."
The statement continued, "So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family."
A&E will be deflecting criticism from homosexual activists for its decision to reinstate Robertson with a public service campaign promoting "tolerance," according to the network's statement to Hollywood Reporter:
"We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio."
Hollywood Reporter confirmed the program is a "huge asset" for the network, with an average 13.4 million viewers.