It’s probably not going to surprise anyone who reads my column on a regular basis that I have an opinion on the Phil Robertson situation. But, you might be a little surprised by that opinion.
Just in case you haven’t listened to or read any news over the last two weeks, let’s just say that Phil is in the middle of quite a controversy because of remarks he made in a magazine interview regarding homosexuality. The star of the wildly popular show Duck Dynasty pulled no punches in stating that he thought homosexuality was a sin. Of course, the pro-gay community immediately blasted him and the television network that airs the show suspended him until further notice.
So, what did Phil do when faced with the possibility of losing his “star” status? He stated quite clearly that his views were biblical and that he wasn’t backing down from them. Hallelujah, someone who says what he believes and then stands his ground when challenged. I will tell you that I have never watched a full episode of Duck Dynasty but I have instantly become a fan of Phil and the Robertson family.
A lot of my friends are faithful viewers (no pun intended, but it probably fits) and they told me that this was a very unique show because of its emphasis on faith and family – something that seems to be in short supply on television. It also happens to be probably the most popular show on A&E Network and makes a boatload of money for the network.
So, A&E, which stands for Arts & Entertainment, now has to make a decision — do they suspend the star of a highly profitable show and risk the boycott that is already coming, or do they cater to the gay community and its advocates. It will be interesting to see if they are as committed to their views as Phil is because Phil is certainly not backing down.
Now, here’s where my view may surprise some folks — I think A&E had every right to do what they did because they are a private enterprise and if they don’t like the views of one of their “stars” then they have every right to sever that relationship. Yes, the network is censoring Phil but it is legal censorship because it is not the government doing the censoring.
But, here is where the conservative Christian community needs to not only give lip service, but also take action. There has already been a huge outcry over the decision and many groups are calling for a boycott of A&E. But, a call for action is not the same thing as taking action. The gay advocates were quick to jump all over this situation and now that same conservative Christian community needs to make sure that A&E understands that there are a whole lot of people who support the Robertson’s and their views.
If you hadn’t noticed, most of the entertainment industry tends to be very liberal in its views and constantly point out the need for tolerance — until the opposing views don’t agree with their views. When faced with opposing views many liberals accuse conservatives of being rigid and intolerant and resort to name calling. I think all of us could be more accepting of other viewpoints but that has to go both ways on the political spectrum — you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
So what is going to happen in this case? I think that the conservative Christian community is going to rally behind Phil and the Robertson family and follow up on the boycott and I think that A&E is going to try to find some way to gracefully defuse this situation so that they can continue to make huge amounts of money.
But, I’m pretty confident that if it comes down to it, Phil is going to stand up for what he believes and if A&E thinks he is going to change that for money then they are going to be very surprised. Who would have thought that a good old country boy would be the one to energize the sometimes lackadaisical conservative Christian community? Go get ‘em Phil — we are right behind you.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.