The whole "Duck Dynasty" craze was created by a partnership of two of the biggest media companies in the world — Disney and Hearst, which own A&E. It began, as I long suspected, when the A&E executives in New York developed a TV show that is supposed to get Americans laughing at redneck Christians and their "backward" beliefs. It turns out Americans love the show, identify with their "backward" beliefs and have made it the most popular cable program in history. A&E, of course, benefited too.
But when "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson demonstrated he was one of the most courageous Christians in the country — and would dare to say things most pastors feared to say about sin — it started getting out of hand.
A&E — and its partners at Hearst (a company I both worked for many years ago and unsuccessfully sued recently) and Disney (a company that bears little resemblance to the one founded by Walt) — began getting uncomfortable with its creation, particularly the strong Christian views held by the cast and reflected in the show.
When Robertson was suspended from the show for espousing these beliefs in an interview with GQ Magazine — an interview in which an A&E executive was present the whole time — "Duck" fans rose up in protest.
As Robertson notes, he was "hung out to dry." He says it's all an effort to bring the Robertson family back in line. After all, why did A&E go out of its way to publicize and promote the published interview? A&E arranged the interview, sat in on it as it was being conducted — and then condemned it.
Does that make sense?
Meanwhile, the Robertson clan has behaved professionally and admirably throughout the ordeal. In a statement issued last week, it said, "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."
As I have said, it's the duty of believers to confront sin when they see it. Anything short of that reflects hatred of the sinner. The way Christians demonstrate their love for nonbelievers is by confronting them with their sins so they can repent and experience the grace God offers in everlasting life.
So now A&E is in the position of suspending Robertson for expressing his faith — a strong faith the executives knew about and exploited to gain an audience of 12 million. It's ironic that this controversy involving the faith of followers of Jesus would explode when it did — just days before Christmas.
The Word of God is unambiguous about the definition of sin. This was the point Robertson made in the interview with GQ — the one that got him in so much trouble. It was this sin that Jesus came into the world to forgive. He did not come into the world to condemn it but to save it.
Most everyone knows the words of John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." But the words that follow in John 3:17-21 are sometimes forgotten or overlooked, or given short shrift:
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
Robertson knows this. And that's what got him suspended by A&E — his duty to articulate this message to the world.
Merry Christmas, A&E.
To find out more about Joseph Farah and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.