Christianity,  Culture,  Entertainment

Duck Dynasty Prediction

I predicted privately some months ago that it would only be a matter of time before the media sniffed out the views of the Duck Dynasty guys about sexuality. I also predicted that when they did, their reception in the popular culture would turn on a dime. Well, here we are. In a wide-ranging interview with GQ, the “Duck Commander” Phil Robertson spoke candidly about his views. In particular, he identified homosexual behavior as sinful. In response, the A&E network has suspended Robertson from the television series indefinitely with this explanation:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the seriesDuck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.

Yes, you read that right. Some “personal beliefs” are allowed at A&E, and some are not. If you happen to express a view on homosexuality in keeping with the entire 2,000-year consensus of the Christian church, A&E says that you are not allowed on their network.

So here’s my second prediction. This won’t end with Phil Robertson’s suspension. His remarks will end Duck Dynasty. The other guys on the program will be dogged in every interview from here on out until they give their opinions as well. And as soon as they do, the entire cast will branded heretical by the sexual revolutionaries that dominate popular culture. When that happens, that will be the end.

To be sure, Robertson’s manner of expression was unhelpfully crude and explicit. But that’s not why gay rights activists will be on the warpath. They will be on the warpath because—on the substance—he seems to be affirming what Christians have always believed about sexual morality—chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage. The Bible teaches that any transgression of those two norms is sin. And that view is now considered heretical by the spirit of the age—tantamount to bigotry and hate speech.

What happens now? There will be a virulent outcry from the left (facilitated by the media) until Duck Dynasty disappears from television. There will be a firestorm of controversy, but the demise of the Duck Dynasty program is the inevitable endgame. I hope I’m wrong.

What does this mean? It means that A&E is yet another sector of popular culture in which Christian views about sexual norms are not allowed. The cultural space for our views is shrinking rapidly, and there are people who won’t stop shrinking the space until there’s no space left at all.


  • Wes Kenney

    I think that inevitable endgame will come fast. As in tomorrow. The brothers aren’t going to continue to make a show on which their father isn’t welcome. I predict they will shut it down immediately.

    • Scott Kenney

      This may turn into another example of the “Streisand Effect”. I never really got into the show, but if it’s going to drive the usual suspects this crazy, I’ll have to check it out.

      “The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.”

  • Evan

    This may be interesting in another way in that it could be the first time we see the left go further to the point of demanding all past distribution and merchandise be removed completely from the marketplace. But we’ll see I guess.

  • Matthew

    As an addendum, I see the show being re-booted on another network (a more Christian-friendly network) and becoming even bigger there. There are a lot of Christians who will be roused by this turn of events. This going to be even bigger than the Chick-Fil-A kerfluffle.

  • Joe Carr

    I agree with you…Duck Dynasty on A&E will cease to exist. Hopefully, where one door closes, another will open.

    While Phil’s comments may have been considered crude, they were actually tame compared to what happens and is said at a Gay Pride Parade! And of course, he reminded everyone that a homosexual relationship is not just about “love”, as the LGBT community has loudly asserted.

    Thabiti Anyabwile took a lot of heat for similar comments several months ago, yet his comments were never proven to be false, just “insensitive”, “unhelpful”, and crude. And yet,they are true (as are Phil’s). The LGBT community has successfully changed the argument from focusing on behavior to focusing on “love”. Anyone who dares to bring up behavior is swiftly and loudly assaulted as being insensitive, unloving and as a homophobe or worse!

    As I am sure you have already seen these two responses by Marty Duren and Dr. Russ Moore, I am linking them here for anyone else who may not have seen them.

    Thanks for the blog…I check it for content daily 🙂

  • Alec Lichlyter

    If Duck Dynasty is canceled because of this, I hope it is canceled not because of calls for it to be removed but rather his family says ‘If Phil goes, we go.’

    Matthew 5:11-12

  • Keith Kuder

    Keith Kuder

    I agree! Here we go with the selective listeners. What I understand about what Phil said was he loved the player but hates the game. And also that he equated it to adultery (heterosexual), and I wish he included murder, rape, theft, covetousness, lying, blasphemy, dis-honoring parents, bearing false witness, and taking the Lords name in vain!
    It’s called the 10 commandments, and not one is worse than the other.
    The self proclaimed “Jewish gay” that was on Fox News applauding A&E should know this since its Old Testament.
    Jesus added a commandment “love thy neighbor as thyself”. That does not mean that we don’t speak Gods truth or pass of sin as ok to make someone feel ok about themselves.
    However we must correct with an attitude of love.
    That does not mean we give sin a nod and a wink. That would be a disservice to the sinner.
    If Phil had said something similar about being a murderer, the same bunch would applaud him.
    I am also sick of talking heads spouting what it means to be Christian and what agape love is, without ever walking a mile with Jesus through the Word of God!
    (Had to get it off my chest)
    I hope the whole family walks, as well as the millions who used to watch A&E.
    It was the only good show they had anyway. Now we’re left with quality shows like Honey BooBoo or rodeo hoes….Argh!

  • Mike Armistead

    Your prediction may be true, but this may also be the watershed moment when society comes to its moral senses and starts the pendulum swinging back in the other direction. We’ve been pushed to the left-wing extreme by the media and liberal politics, now it’s time for an equal and opposite movement to correct things. If Duck Dynasty ends on A&E, some other network will glad to pick them up and get the huge ratings.

    • Alistair Robertson

      The right has not figured out how to express its views in the prevailing cultural framework without unintentionally importing negative and retrograde baggage. Any backlash will be hindered and effectively silenced until the right learns how to speak a different language (or something more violent happens). Right now, the right do not have the right words.

  • Marilou McGinnis

    I hope that millions of Christians protest to A & E about this, then go out and buy, buy, buy Duck Dynasty products ! I won’t hold my breath on it, though, because historically we Christians are not good at standing up for our principles. We have a tendency to do this…….talk and complain about losing our rights to the liberals, etc……..but that’s it. I hope that A & E’s action on this is the impetus needed to give us some backbone.

  • Bill Hickman

    I read Phil’s more controversial comments. Some of it actually is downright offensive and disrespectful. Before we hurl ourselves into grief/rage/boycott mode over A&E’s response, let’s parse Phil’s remarks carefully so our non-Christian neighbors know precisely what we’re referring to when we complain that Phil’s been fired for his “faith”. I sure would not be willing to die in the Coliseum for a large portion of what he said.

  • bobbistowellbrown

    I ordered several Duck Dynasty items from Amazon. I also e-mailed A&E and told them I would not be watching Any programs on A & E until they reinstate Phil Robertson. If Phil isn’t reinstated I hope the Robertson family will not continue the show. Phil loved people enough to tell them the truth. there are so many who are deceived or are deceiving themselves.

    • Stacey Manning

      Duck Dynasty is an A&E brand product though (from my understanding). If you want to support the family, I believe it has to be Duck Commander products, not Duck Dynasty. Still doing more research to confirm this though.

  • Chris Ryan

    I wouldn’t have fired him over his comments abt homosexuality. I would have fired him over his comments abt blacks. Saying that blacks weren’t mistreated & were happy as minstrels under Jim Crow is just plain racism:

    “I never saw the mistreatment of any black person…The blacks worked for the farmers… They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word! Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

    On the homosexuality angle I fear Denny is right. Unfortunately what goes around comes around. Way back in 2004 Bush & Rove hyper-politicized the gay marriage issue, as opposed to negotiating some compromise that respected Christian free speech & practice rights while allowing gays strong civil rights. Bush & Rove made us their political tool. They got Bush re-elected but now the pendulum is swinging so hard in the opposite direction that we’re being hit in the face.

    • Michael Hutton

      Chris, please rethink your definition of racism. He’s talking about what he saw in his youth in his neighbourhood. He never claimed it wasn’t hard, or it wasn’t worse anywhere else. He seemed to me to be saying that it didn’t matter to him whether you were black or white because when you were rural poor in those days it was all the same. And before welfare and in the time of poor but connected families, before television taught us to envy the other folks, can you not imagine that what he said might have been true in his neighbourhood? People were poor, but happy.
      You also neglect to quote the part where he identifies himself as “white trash” and identifies himself with the black folk.

      He grew up experiencing stereotypes and bigotry, and he did not apply stereotypes and bigotry to the blacks around him, in fact he identified with them, they were his segment of the community, the rural poor.

      Whatever it is, nostalgia? idealism? over simplification? It’s not racism.

      • Lauren Bertrand

        Michael, keep telling yourself that, if that’s what works. To me, Robertson’s quotes about homosexuals were standard-issue Evangelical Biblical referencing. No surprises there. But his comments about African-Americans have no Biblical basis. Rather, he seemed to mythologize sharecropping and Jim Crow, much like Reformed leader Doug Wilson mythologized the antebellum South, to much controversy. Then again, perhaps that’s standard Evangelical reasoning as well? Sure hope not. It’s fairly noticeable how all the Evangelical newsmedia has martyred Robertson for getting suspended for the gay comment, yet virtually none of them have much of anything to say about his seriously patronizing, presumptuous remarks on blacks.

        Your non-American spelling makes this defense (“defence?”) of the South before civil rights that much more baffling. But if you see Robertson’s self-identification with “white trash” as a gesture of solidarity with the sharecroppers, then you may be just as deluded as he is. The promise of upward mobility was always close at hand for Southern whites–not that way in the least for blacks at a time when they could not vote or enjoy access to fundamental institutions that were available to all whites, no matter how poor.

    • Johnny Mason

      only in bizarro world would calling black people happy, god-fearing, and without any animus in their heart be considered racist.

      • Andrew Orlovsky

        Exactly, I hear from missionaries all the time how people in the third world living off less than $1.00/day are often happier than rich materialistic Americans. That in no way implies that the extremely corrupt governments of said third world counties are superior to American democracy. Conservatives and Liberals may disagree on the causes, but it is simply a fact that the decline of the family since the 1950s has hit poor blacks the hardest. Just look at illegitimacy rates then and now. Stating that that had to have negative repercussions is in no way defending segregation.

  • James Harold Thomas

    Kind of ironic, A&E wanted them to say offensive things so they could bleep it out. I always thought they should just bleep out “Jesus” at the end of their prayers.

    • nancy cathey

      If it offends you don’t watch…I don’t watch gay shows and I don’t watch reality trash shows either…..they offend me…I don’t jump up and down about it I just don’t watch.

  • Maegan Brown

    Dr. Burk,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this piece on the controversy behind Phil Robertson’s statement. I completely agree that while his argument was crude in many ways, I am thankful for a man who is willing to stand behind biblical truth and mandates that the Lord established before the foundation of the world began!

  • Ian Shaw

    Statement from GLADD: “Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe.”

    I’m sorry, what exactly does that fly in the face of?

    It must be nice to be able to sit around and watch all the television you want and when you find something offinseive, you must demand that it be cnancelled. I thought we had free speech in this country. If you don’t like show, shut it off. There’s over 300 million people in this country. We’re not all going to agree on the same things. Get used to it. Will GLAAD go after public speakers now, not just those on tv?

    The expression, “shut your mouths and get back to work/your job” comes to mind.

    I thought money talks? The ratings for this showhave been or has come close to record ratings for a cable show. The show must be pretty popular and not a show for people with extreme viewpoints.

    Here’s hoping the boys and the family take a stand and say they are done without Phil and will not mute their opinions/beliefs.

  • buddyglass

    I’m torn on whether this will be the end of the show. However popular it was before, it now enjoys even greater publicity and name recognition. Also, to boot, conservative Christians will flock to the show as they did to Chick-fil-A when it was targeted by gay activists for boycott. All that to say: there’s a lot of money to be made for A&E. I’m not sure they walk away from all that cash.

  • Ian Shaw

    The family could walk away from the cash. The don’t need it.

    I find it tragicly ironic that gay-friendly/supporting magazine (The Advocate) have called Pope Francis person of the year (as well as Time Magazine) and holds to the same beliefs teachings on homosexuality (and other sins) as Robertson and yet, Robertson gets fired and the Pope is “the people’s champion”.

    Dr. Moore had a great closing line on this- “Muting one another isn’t what debate is for in a free society. It’s what remote controls are for.”

      • David Powell

        1 Corinthians 2:14, man. The modern-day PR games are a waste of time. We cannot build a pathway to Christ for people through PR. Ultimately message of Christ and His Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to we who are being saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

  • Ian Shaw

    Perhaps someone can help me out here. Did ESPN suspend indefinitely Chris Broussard for his comments on a segment with LZ Granderson about an openly gay NBA player that claimed to be gay and Christian?

  • Gregory Williams

    How about this? Instead of the Duck Dynasty cast waiting for A&E to end the show, they say to A&E that we refuse to continue a show in which the network punishes and censures not only our beliefs but our family members who hold to these beliefs. Furthermore, we refuse to continue to do a show for a network that has come out publicly to denounce our Christian views and who further align and support publicly the groups that oppose our Christian views. The world will act as the world does. Is it too much to ask the Christians in this situation to stand for their Christian beliefs and their family member in Christ?

  • Ian Shaw

    Matt, I would argue that the message is the same, regardless of how it’s represented. That’s like saying that that you would not open a gift if it was wrapped in newspaper compared to fancy wrapping paper even though it’s the same gift inside.

    Are there more loving ways to present what he said, sure. However, to the hearts hearts that are hardened, it won’t make a difference if you were to hand out puppies and rainbows with it, because they are predisposed to agree with the message and feel that people hate them.

  • Larry Geiger

    “To be sure, Robertson’s manner of expression was unhelpfully crude and explicit.” Wrong. Truth is truth. It must be said.

    • Andrew Orlovsky

      It looks like Phil was baited here and asks a question like “Why are you sexually attracted to women and not men?” or “Do you understand why gay men are attracted to each other?” Answering those questions without sounding a little crude are impossible. This was not an interview, GQ was simply trying to quote mine Phil and then write an article smearing him. Remember Jon Stewart and Matt Slick. We don’t know the context of his statements at all. Probably every honest hetereosexual can be smeared as a homophobe if the “interviewer” asks the “right” questions. Lets face it, not matter how liberal they are, I’m sure there is not a single hetereosexual man or women that doesn’t find homosexual “intercourse” between two men to be horrifyingly disgusting. Anyone who denies that is lying.

  • Esther O'Reilly

    I love this post Denny, but I wish you could see the disconnect between the right-thinking sentiments you’re articulating in support of Robertson and your piece on Ambrosino. I’m quite certain Robertson would qualify as a homophobe to be ostracized in Ambrosino’s eyes. And if Ambrosino read what you’ve written here, he would probably say that you’re a paranoid reactionary just like Robertson. You’ve gone way beyond Ambrosino’s line of “niceness,” and let me stress again, that’s a GOOD thing. But you need to reconcile yourself to that fact instead of continuing to hope, vainly, that some sub-group of the Christian left will like those of us who are firmly opposed to homosexuality in the culture. They won’t. So let it go and leave them behind.

  • Ian Shaw

    So Chris Boussard, an analyst at ESPN (pretty good one at that) can say that Christianity and homosexuality is not compatible on ESPN (at his job, on his employers dime on live broadcast tv) and not get suspended, and yet, Mr. Robertson makes a statement outside his workplace on homosexuality and he essentially gets fired for it. I see some inconsistency here.

    • Lauren Bertrand

      Ian, Chris Broussard (quite understandably) didn’t say anything about how great blacks had it during Jim Crow South. That’s one aspect that Evangelicals very conveniently seem to shrug aside.

  • James Stanton

    As to Marty Duren’s comments: The First Amendment prevents (to some extent) the government from suppression of speech. This does not mean you have the right to potentially injure your private employer through your public comments without the possibility of reprimand.

    It’s as much free speech to express disapproval with offending speech as it is to voice such speech. The ire rightly belongs with A&E.

    • Denny Burk

      Yeah, I don’t believe that this is over yet. With this decision, A&E has called down the full fury of the LGBT activists. It remains to be seen how A&E will respond once that pressure is brought to bear–once they take on a pariah status in the entertainment industry. I’m not inerrant in my predictions, but this isn’t over yet. It’s probably just beginning.

      • buddyglass

        Possibly. Kudos for putting yourself out there with a prediction, even if its not the one I might have made. My feeling is still that, at the end of the day, money talks and A&E will do whatever is best for its bottom line. To me it seems like that probably means Robertson stays on the show, but I don’t have access to their market research so it’s tough to say for sure.

          • buddyglass

            Thing is, there are activists on both sides. The questions are who has more and how motivated are they? Seems like A&E has been able to de-fang the anti-Robertson movement by profusely affirming its commitment to diversity and emphasizing its disagreement with Robertson’s views. Given the rest of the its programming it would be hard to mistake the network for being “anti-gay”. So while organizations like GLAAD may issue official statements expressing disagreement, I don’t see their decision to let Robert return generating a huge national protest.

            Contrast this with what would happen if they kicked Robertson off the show. For one, the rest of his family seems unwilling to continue without him. They may be contractually obligated in some way, but they could always break that contract and just deal with the ensuing lawsuit. Or they could honor the contract and decline to re-up whenever it ends. Either way, A&E stands to lose its most popular show.

            Now if what I just wrote is an accurate description of the situation, which I’m willing to admit may not be the case, and the options are in fact “lose the show” or “deal with some scolding from gay rights groups” then then I can’t imagine them kicking him off.

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