- S.E. Cupp has gotten to know the family featured in A&E's "Duck Dynasty" series
- She says they are a Christian family that celebrates their religion and Scripture
- She disagrees with Phil Robertson's views on gays but says they're not a surprise
- Cupp says A&E's suspension of Robertson from show is an ungracious act
I had the pleasure of getting to know the Robertsons -- the duck call mogul stars of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" -- over the past couple of years. I've hunted ducks with Phil, the patriarch, and enjoyed Miss Kaye's home cooking. They are good, kindhearted, compassionate and generous people.
The brouhaha over Phil Robertson's comments to a GQ reporter is disconcerting, not because I disagree with his views on homosexuality -- and I do, demonstrably -- but because his views are neither surprising nor unique.
"Duck Dynasty" is a show about a Christian family. They pray at the end of every episode. They go to church, or school as Phil likes to call it. Phil's son Allen is an evangelical pastor. Phil quotes Scripture regularly on the show (and in real life.) They do not hide their Christianity, but rather they celebrate it.
That Phil would therefore express a biblically literal interpretation of homosexuality may offend some, but it shouldn't surprise anyone.
A&E has the right to its decision, but suspending Phil for his beliefs, even if expressed crudely, seems ungracious. The Robertsons' Christian values are, in large part, exactly why the show is so popular. Millions of viewers have made it the top reality show of all time because they reject the moral bankruptcy of other reality families. Indeed, the Robertsons' Christianity has been very profitable for A&E.
The outrage over Phil's intolerance also seems blindly hypocritical. Many of his most indignant critics, including prominent voices in the media, are the very same people who are overtly intolerant and dismissive of Christians, regularly condemning them as idiots, fanatics and loons.
A colleague of mine -- someone I like very much -- once said that parents who taught their children the creation story should be charged with child abuse. Another colleague of mine likened a Christian community in Florida to Jonestown. I've heard many others openly wish that anti-abortion Christians had been aborted. This is the kind of tolerance to which Phil Robertson should aspire?
A&E need not endorse Phil's comments, nor must we embrace them. But it's unfortunate that an otherwise kind and giving family has been maligned for expressing personal views shared by many.
Reject those views, but do not reject this family.