A&E allegedly started Duck Dynasty thinking it would be more of a comedic spoof to mock and denigrate the South, their ways, and their unsophisticated Christian beliefs. They knew exactly what they were getting with the Robertsons all along (even while committed to the LGBTQ cause). The show took off and actually elevated “redneck” culture, consequently aiding the spread of Christianity and political conservatism. A&E enjoys the profits, sure, but NEVER wanted to be allies in the popularization of what the Robertson family believes.
They’ve recently meddled in wanting to change the signature prayer at the end of the show and were rebuffed, which was a prelude to what is now taking place. They need to control this show and are willing to sacrifice their profits. Everyone who signs petitions and such (though a free right) is actually reinforcing to A&E that this show is not just popular, but symbolic of something much larger. That much larger is the culture shaping influence of the show. We have a bonafide culture war in our midst.
If A&E is willing to sacrifice profits for their ideals, as it appears the Robertson family is as well, then the cancellation of the show is the next, and last, domino to fall. I don’t expect A&E or the Robertsons to budge, nor should they, if they are committed to their ideals. The culture war will rage on and the sphere of neutrality will be swallowed up more and more into either one of two camps (Judeo-Christian v Sexularism), thus polarizing us as a people.
Christian, our goal is not to win this war by flexing our activist muscles by leveraging our purchasing power, but by winning hearts and minds to the good news of Jesus through our faithfulness to proclaim the gospel and our willingness to flex our hearts in loving more radically those who curse and hate us. Signing petitions and boycotts are your prerogative, but don’t neglect the weightier call to proclaim the gospel and love your neighbor. Clicking like may be an appropriate engagement in the culture war, but it’s certainly no substitute for faithful proclamation and loving deeds. I could be totally wrong in minimizing the profit motive for A&E, and they may cave with enough pressure. But be sure, they would be acquiescing for your sake, not because they were converted to your convictions. They will despise and hate us all the more even in begrudgingly granting us a “victory”. In fact, take your cues from Phil Robertson himself and realize that this show was nothing more than a platform to display their Christian faith. Let’s go and do likewise.
© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.