By: Sarah Sanders Petersen, WorldNow
Whether you have joined a large portion of America by adding camouflage to your attire or not, you've most likely crossed paths with the latest statements made A&E's "Duck Dynasty" family patriarch Phil Robertson.
The controversy began after Robertson paraphrased a Bible verse regarding sin, which included homosexuality, and made other graphic remarks. It was made public in the January edition of GQ magazine, and shortly after, the network channel A&E confirmed that Robertson would be removed from the hit series indefinitely.
Since this decision, many fans, Christians and free-speech activists have defended Robertson, claiming that he should not be punished for his opinions and "belief in the Bible."
The family has released an official statement on their website, Duck Commander.
"We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil's unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
"Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family."
Outside of the family, Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal was one of the first to respond to A&E's decision.
"It's a messed-up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended," Jindal said in a statement Thursday
"Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment."
Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin also chimed in on the discussion
as she posted to Twitter and Facebook her support for the Robertson family.
Many fans have lashed out at A&E claiming they refuse to watch the program until Phil Robertson returns. Some have even gone into detail, warning others to only buy "Duck Dynasty" Christmas gifts from the "Duck Commander" brand, rather than the A&E-owned chain. A change.org petition
was created to bring Robertson back with more than 50,000 supporters, along with a Facebook group called Bring Phil Back.
But most fans seem to ask what will happen next.
Fox News opinion columnist Todd Starnes had his own idea
for the Robertson family.
"Between you and me, I think 'Duck Dynasty' ought to indefinitely suspend A&E," Starnes wrote.
"If Phil had been twerking with a duck the network probably would've given him a contract extension. But because he espoused beliefs held by many Christians, he's been silenced. Perhaps A&E could provide the nation with a list of what they believe is politically correct speech."
Blaze commentator Glenn Beck also commended Phil Robertson for his decision to share his beliefs. Beck extended an offer to the entire Robertson family to join his network. But ultimately, Beck called for the Robertsons not to let A&E's decision slide.
"May I suggest: Make your stand. You will never have a better chance. And quite honestly, you're our best shot as people," Beck said
. "If we don't get people to wake up to the fact that this is fascism, that we are not allowed to have another opinion … they're never going to wake up. And you're our best shot."
Others have not been so quick to call out the network TV station. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT equality-rights advocacy group and GLAAD, an LGBT media monitoring organization, largely influenced the suspension of Phil Robertson regarding his "homophobic" remarks
In regard to the actions of Phil Robertson, HRC president Chad Griffin released a statement that appeared in the Washington Post
"As a role model on a show that attracts millions of viewers, Phil Robertson has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans - not shame and ridicule them because of who they are," Griffin said.
Griffin also asked “for A&E to condemn Robertson's remarks and 'make clear they don't support his views,' " according to the Washington Post.
A&E recently released a statement
from Phil Robertson addressing the controversy: "I myself am a product of the '60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.
"However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."
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