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Candidate for Congress compares ‘Duck Dynasty’ star to Rosa Parks

Ian Bayne

Ian Bayne

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Updated: December 21, 2013 12:45PM

Aurora political candidate Ian Bayne joined other conservatives rallying behind the star of the A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty” Friday in a post on his campaign website praising the controversial TV personality.

A Republican candidate for Congress in the 11th District, Bayne called Phil Robertson the “Rosa Parks of our generation.” The 11th District includes parts of Naperville, Aurora and Joliet, among other towns.

A&E announced Wednesday what it called a “hiatus” for Robertson, 67, after he disparaged gays in the January edition of GQ magazine. He also said that, growing up in Louisiana before the Civil Rights movement, he never saw mistreatment of blacks.

The post on Bayne’s site compares the iconic act of Parks — an African-American woman who defied customs of the day when she refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white person — and Robertson’s comments in the magazine interview.

“In December 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people, and in December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians,” the post reads, adding that Parks inspired people across America. “What Parks did was courageous. What Mr. Robertson did was courageous, too.”

Contacted shortly after the posting went up, Bayne said he made the online comments to shed light on modern-day oppression of the faithful. “It was intended to be thought-provoking about the state of being a Christian in society,” he said, emphasizing that he published the statements out of sincerity. “She had more to lose than he did, but I believe it was similar. … Both of them took a stand, put it all on the line.”

Bayne believes the Duck Dynasty star knew that talking to GQ would result in the current controversy. Robertson’s suspension has triggered calls for an A&E boycott and drawn the ire of political pundits Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Robertson’s statements also have brought robust condemnation from advocates for gay rights and racial equality.

According to Bayne, the exposure of Robertson’s situation is an “eye opener for many who may have been previously in disbelief that the Bible is fast becoming considered hate speech by the media and society.”

Bayne is running in the Republican primary in the 11th District against Darlene Senger, now serving in the Illinois General Assembly, Lisle resident Craig Robbins, former Naperville business owner and current Hinsdale resident Bert Miller, and Channahon’s Chris Balkema. The 11th District is represented in Congress by Bill Foster (D-Naperville), who will be running for re-election.

In an email responding to a request for comment, Foster called Parks “one of the most courageous leaders of the Civil Rights movement.”

“My father was a civil rights lawyer who wrote much of the enforcement language behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it was reflecting on his work that led me to a career in public service,” Foster said. “The Civil Rights movement was about fighting for basic equality for all Americans, a struggle which Mr. Robertson’s comments remind us is still ongoing today.”

Associated Press contributed to this story

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