Applying the ‘Duck Test’ to A&E

by Ron Hale

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck,
and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

That’s the “duck test.” Reasonable and logical. How does it apply to Phil Robertson and the firestorm that his interview created for Duck Dynasty? We’ll get to that.

I have never watched an entire episode of Duck Dynasty and that’s a fact Mack!  However, I have watched snippets of the show here and there, read articles, seen T-shirts and caps, and have recognized the show’s popularity. Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning from the sky, an interview with GQ magazine is released and Phil Robertson is fired from A&E network faster than green grass through a goose.

Many Americans are scratching their heads and are asking – why did A&E react so swiftly, especially since Robertson was asked a direct question in another medium and gave a direct answer to the person interviewing him?

We are seeing and sensing the giant tectonic plates of two differing world-views collide and the friction is creating a social media earthquake. James Kurth, a political scientist writing for the Washington Times in 1994 contended that a major clash was brewing within Western civilization – between those who adhere to a Judeo-Christian framework and those who favor postmodernism and multiculturalism.[1]  Paul Kurtz, a contemporary humanist, urges us to “weed out permanently the idea of God.” [2]

In his book, How Now Shall We Live, Chuck Colson reminds us that in 1997, a Boy Scout troop was denied the use of a public facility at the National Zoo, which is owned by the Smithsonian. Why? Because the Smithsonian ruled that the Boy Scouts organization is “biased” when it requires that its members believe in God. [3]

Writing for USA Today, Steve Deace (12-19-2013) reminds us of recent court cases where the government has compelled a Christian baker to make wedding cakes for homosexuals, compelled a Christian photographer to photograph a homosexual union in a state that doesn’t even recognize them, and tell a Christian company it has to provide birth control to its employees in violation of its owner’s moral conscience.

The New Chattering Class of America has done a startling job of infiltrating and now controlling the keyboard and microphone of board rooms, political centers, editorial rooms, courtrooms, and leadership in movies, music, theater, television, and left-leaning religious groups.  They preach tolerance and diversity – but only if you agree with their agenda and ideology.  If you disagree with their objectives, then they will use every power available to restrict your “free speech” in order to shut you up or shut you down.

Stanley Fish, a leading postmodernist scholar at Duke University, author of the article, “There’s No Such Thing As Free Speech: and It’s A Good Thing, Too,” argues that all statements of principle are really just expressions of personal preferences, and therefore, an appeal to principle is no more than a power play, an attempt to impose one’s private preferences on others in the guise of “objective truths.” And if the game is about power, the only thing you worry about is coming out on top. “Someone is always going to be restricted next,” Fish writes, “and it is your job to make sure that the someone is not you.” [4]

Phil Robertson is a straightforward kind of guy that answers direct questions in a direct way and he doesn’t “duck” the hard ones. So here is the question: Was he fired from the show due to his particular worldview that is impacted by his biblical values?

Well, let’s do the “duck test” If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

© Ron F. Hale, December 20, 2013


[1] Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, How Now Shall We Live? (Wheaton: Tyndale Publishers, Inc., 1999), 19.

[2] Carl F. H. Henry, Christian Countermoves In A Decadent Culture, (Portland, Multnomah Press, 1986), 11.

[3] Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, How Now Shall We Live? (Wheaton: Tyndale Publishers, Inc.,1999), 22..

[4] Ibid. 24-25.