The gay lobby’s power is limited. The A&E television network late Friday afternoon, facing a backlash and threatened boycott, reversed its decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. The Robertson family offered no immediate comment.
A&E’s official statement: “[A]fter 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.” Now it will be fun to see whether the Robertsons agree to another A&E season once the current one is done.
The Hollywood Reporter noted what Robertson said at his West Monroe, La., church last Sunday: “I will not give or back off from my path. … I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater.”
Last week the Robertson family acknowledged that some of its patriarch’s comments were coarse, but “his beliefs are grounded” in the Bible and he “is a Godly man.”
A&E tried to save face by announcing it would “launch a national public service campaign 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.”
Robertson had paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, where Paul asks, “[D]o you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Robertson had also given a natural law criticism of gay anal sex. Some homosexuals also expressed offense that Robertson referred to them as “sinners”—and some may have been unaware that Christians understand that all of us sin.
Yahoo’s The Wrap quoted Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s communications vice president, saying, “In the five-and-a-half years I’ve worked at GLAAD, I’ve never received so many violently angry phone calls and social media posts attacking GLAAD.”
GLAAD (original name: “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation”) began in 1985 with the goal of pressuring media organizations to have pro-homosexuality programming. The organization has been wildly successful, but its latest onslaught seems to have been an overreach.
So, a big loss for GLAAD, and the larger debate about freedom of speech concerning homosexuality goes on. Fox Sports executives are scheduled to give depositions next month about why they fired college football analyst Craig James in September because while running for the U.S. Senate in 2012 he had opposed same sex marriage.
In an email to me last week, James wrote, “A&E is discriminating against Phil Robertson because of his religious convictions. I would encourage Phil to join me in fighting this religious discrimination, not only for ourselves, but for every person of faith who faces this kind of daily challenge to their faith at work.”
But this week’s story is: Chick-fil-A and Duck Dynasty, still ticking.