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.