First there was controversy because A&E laced the show with fake censorship "bleeps", making it appear that the bearded Robertson family men were swearing, when they really weren't. Then there was the demand that A&E stop editing, "In Jesus name," out of the episode ending prayers. Some withdrew support over the years because the Robertson clan appeared to condone gambling and social drinking; indeed there are Duck Dynasty lottery scratch off tickets, and a new Duck Dynasty wine.
When A&E aired the first season of Duck Dynasty, a reality type show centered around the Robertson family from Louisiana who ran a small business making duck calls, there was no imagination that this would become the #1 cable show in America. The strong family and moral values, while still being fun-loving, was a nice change of pace for many who searched for television shows that would appeal to them and found none for a long time. But with fame comes controversy, and of course controversy, in its own right, is a profitable business for some as well.
As mentioned above, Duck Dynasty has had its share of controversy, yet managed to clinch the #1 spot for cable TV. Millions have watched. Millions have supported the idea of a clean show - no need to worry about what you'll hear while watching it.
However, the patriarch of this clan - Phil Robertson - is not one to pull any punches when speaking. Sometimes, what he says can begin to sound a bit crass to some. Recently, GQ did an interview with Phil Robertson, and there is still quite a bit of fallout as a result. The interviewer asked Robertson about his views on homosexuality. There was a fair amount of editing done by the magazine of course, just to get the best tidbits for their target audience. They edited his statements that only God judges who goes to Heaven and Hell, and that we should love everybody, for instance. In the end, Phil's .... vivid description about why homosexuality is illogical raised some eyebrows.
Not the least of which were the eyebrows of the gay Reich. Formal complaints were made, and A&E announced their continuing strong support for LGBTs and suspended Phil Robertson from the show indefinitely. He was not suspended for his crass verbiage, but because he dared, when asked, to state his conviction that homosexuality is wrong. The suspension was announced December 18 ... and by December 19, the firestorm of support for Phil Robertson had already sparked several Facebook pages (one of which has over half a million "Likes"), petitions, and celebrity denouncements against A&E.
This is the surface of a continuing story. For those who like to dig below the surface, here are a few suggested matters of substance to consider.
Did A&E know, when they first signed the show, what the Robertson's view of homosexuality is? Some would definitely think so, as they are obvious Christians. However, in the long run, in today's world, saying one is a Christian no longer pegs one's view on homosexuality. Numerous denominations have changed course on their teachings and even allow homosexual clergy. Numerous "Christian leaders" have stated support for homosexual marriage. For one who is outside the Christian life, the view must be murky. One might even think that the views against homosexuality is simply antiquated and passing out of modern society in the same way interracial marriage did, and has no true root in the Bible. For such a one, Romans 1:26-27 can not be stressed enough... "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." This scripture shows the true Biblical stance on homosexual behavior - it is "vile", "unnatural", "shameful", and erroneous. One thing is certain, if A&E did know his views from the beginning, they should not have been surprised when those views came out when he became so popular.
Second, what if controversy is the whole point? If former controversies, especially the marketing of wine, hurt the show's popularity, maybe a new controversy in which a moral and upright person is persecuted for his views - and then restored to filming when the outcry against this action is so large - will draw viewers back to the show. It's entirely dishonest, but from a marketing standpoint, it's entirely ingenious - if a bit of a gamble.
Third, what if the whole point is precisely what many Christians think - that those who share a view of Biblical Literalism are being forced out of the public eye - an attempt to silence? An earlier article spurred some to comment that anyone who espouses the view that homosexuality is wrong should "stay in the closet". Phil Robertson is certainly not the first person in modern time to be persecuted - even lose a job - over such a stance. However, if this is the point, the exact opposite is what is actually happening. The more a view is suppressed, the greater popularity it will gain - especially when that view is in line with God's word.