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Phil Robertson has right to his faith without condemnation: Mitchell

This undated image released by A E shows Phil Robertsfrom popular series 'Duck Dynasty.' Robertswas suspended last week for disparaging

This undated image released by A&E shows Phil Robertson from the popular series "Duck Dynasty." Robertson was suspended last week for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people. (AP Photo/A&E, Zach Dilgard)

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Updated: January 25, 2014 6:09AM



I haven’t seen “Duck Dynasty.”

But I’m fascinated by the controversy involving one member of the cast who has conservative politicians and the show’s fans in an uproar.

Last week, A&E announced it was suspending Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the reality-TV family, because he made disparaging remarks about gays in an interview with GQ Magazine.

I won’t repeat Robertson’s remarks because they are offensive.

But Robertson pointed to biblical teachings to explain why he believes homosexuality is a sin. He also said he had not personally seen any black people being mistreated in his neck of the woods during the Jim Crow era.

After gay rights groups complained about the anti-gay comments, A&E Networks removed Robertson from the show. The network also issued a news release assuring the public that Robertson’s bigotry is his own.

The NAACP jumped in later, condemning Robertson for saying he picked cotton along-side black people who were happy.

“Phil’s personal views in no way reflect those of A&E networks who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT Community,” according to FOX News.

For those of you who don’t know anything about Duck Dynasty, the reality-TV show follows the lives of the Robertson family in West Monroe, La. The family became wealthy from making duck calls. According to Wikipedia, the Robertson men are known for their long beards and their religious views. The show is so popular, 11.8 million viewers watched the fourth season premier. Super broadcaster Barbara Walters, chose the clan as one of her most fascinating people of 2013.

After word got out about Robertson’s suspension, conservative politicians, including former Alaska governor Sara Palin, jumped into the fray — framing A&E’s suspension as an attack on Christian values.

“Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us,” she said.

The Robertson clan has issued a statement saying they couldn’t imagine the show going forward without Phil.

I suspect over the holidays, the hoopla will die down and the reality show will be back for another season.

Still, I can understand why Christians are beginning to feel like they are under attack.

Today, God-loving people are even reluctant to say “Merry Christmas” because they are afraid of offending someone.

For that same reason, many of us have taken “Christ” out of Christmas and substituted the phrase “Happy Holidays.”

It is even becoming routine for non-believers to raise a stink over nativity scenes.

Yet when a black person complains about the white Santa Clauses that are everywhere despite our diverse population, the complaint is ridiculed.

Robertson won’t shy away from what he believes, and I have to admire him for that.

In a statement to FOX411, Robertson said his mission is to go forth and tell people about Christ and what the bible teaches.

“Part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together,” he said.

Frankly, Robertson would have done better saving his views on homosexuality for the Wednesday night bible study.

Whatever religious message he had has now been hijacked by politics.

Still, it is worth noting that Robertson wasn’t accused of using racial or gay slurs, which is usually the case when a network pulls the plug.

For instance, it wasn’t long before the lights dimmed on celebrity chef Paula Deen after it was revealed she used the “N-word.”

Robertson’ swift punishment is not only a testament to the power of LGBT activists, but to a growing intolerance in this country of people who do not agree with the gay rights movement.

I may not believe as Robertson believes.

But he has a right to live out his faith without condemnation.

Email: marym@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MaryMitchellCST



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