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I confess I have never watched “Duck Dynasty.”
I don’t watch much TV at all. I lived and worked in and covered Hollywood for a long time, so I know it just doesn’t have that much to offer.
Broadly speaking, from my firsthand experience, Hollywood is a moral cesspool – its denizens mostly unable to distinguish right from wrong. So when the A&E Network suspends indefinitely one of its most popular stars – Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” – because of an interview in which he articulated, in the jargon of the popular culture, his mainstream, Judeo-Christian biblical beliefs, it should surprise no one.
In fact, I strongly suspect the entire “Duck Dynasty” empire was constructed with just this kind of planned implosion from the beginning.
The planning meetings probably went something like this:
Pitch: “Hey, I got a hot idea for a new reality show. It’s based on the lives of the Robertson family – the white trash who made a fortune with their business, Duck Commander, which makes products for duck hunters. The Robertson brothers Phil, Si and Phil’s sons all wear long beards and quote the Bible.”
Review: “Well, who wants to listen to these guys quote the Bible?”
Pitch: “Hello! Everyone in America outside of New York and L.A.!”
Review: “Yeah, but what if these guys start offending people with their talk about sin and immorality?”
Pitch: “So we make a bundle exploiting them, and then we unceremoniously dump them – making an example of them in the process.”
Review: “I like it. When do we start shooting?”
Does that sound about right?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Phil was dumped for one reason: He violated the unpardonable sin in Hollywood – calling homosexuality sin.
Now that’s not what he was accused of doing, mind you. A&E suggested it was because Phil compared homosexuality with bestiality, offending the “LGBT community.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Believers don’t think it’s cruel to warn against sin. Rather, it is the highest form of love for the sinners. For if they do not turn away from the sin, they will spend eternity in hell.
In other words, Phil Robertson wasn’t hating sinners. In love, he was extending them an opportunity for grace and forgiveness.
He also didn’t do something that has become quite common in the entertainment industry – condemn individuals in the most vile and personal way. Think about how Miley Cyrus went after Michele Bachmann on “Saturday Night Live” maliciously and by name. Think about others have maliciously and slanderously attacked Sarah Palin. It happens every day in Hollywood. It’s all considered fair game. Very seldom does anyone lose their livelihood over it.
But Phil Robertson did not do that. He didn’t call out people by name. He simply – in street language – held up a biblical standard of behavior as an ideal.
This is a dangerous precedent. In fact, I’d say Old Phil would have a pretty legitimate shot at a First Amendment lawsuit because his own religious liberties have been violated by the actions of A&E. I mean, it’s not exactly possible the network didn’t know his beliefs until this week.
But it’s also indicative of what’s happening to lesser-known Americans from coast to coast – from wedding cake makers to wedding photographers and others who simply decide to exercise their religious liberty by not participating in “same-sex marriage.” What’s happening to them is they are being prosecuted, driven out of business, fined and harassed.
Does anyone in America care about these real victims? These are not imaginary people. They are not victims in some abstract sense – like people who got their feelings hurt. These are people who are losing their livelihoods and reputations and who are being shunned and excommunicated by the prevailing orthodoxy of the tyrannical cult of secular humanism – all in the name of “tolerance.”
Have we gotten to the point in America today where even the wealthy and famous can be fired and banished for their belief in the Bible?