Applying the ‘Duck Test’ to A&E

December 20, 2013

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.

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Norm Miller

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.”

I disagree. For Christians, what Fish calls private preferences are not primarily that, but are marching orders from an immutable God whose “preferences” are the eternal truths by which this universe was created, is sustained, and will find consummation. Whereas Christians may be expressing what appears as “personal preferences,” what we really are doing is demonstrating our preference for obedience.

At issue, as you note, Ron, is not the content of Phil’s comments, per se, but the reaction by the godless left. Well, I say godless, but some have erected other gods, per Rom. 1. And though your essay is spot-on, and I am grateful for it, I think the discussion needs to be taken back another couple of pegs to demonstrate that liberals *always* import some sense of good into their schema, but do so not knowing that the source of anything good in the universe is Yahweh, the one and only, true and living God.

Properly articulating the root issue may help to expose rotten fruit for what it is — fodder for the compost pile. You have pointed us to the root issues, and I thank you.

A question: How do we know that Fish’s italicized statement above is not merely his personal preference imposed by him on others as objective truth? Wait a minute, I think relativists reject objective truth, absolutely! — Norm

    Norm Miller

    Ron: We need another essay titled, “Why the Liberals at A&E are Wrong,” and it should be written not so much from a theological viewpoint, but from an ethical/philosophical one. — Norm

Ron F. Hale

Norm,
You make some good points. Several very arrogant atheists have really influenced the elites over the last decade. For instance, Richard Dawkins portrays people of faith as having “a disease, a scourge on humanity, which … we must rid ourselves of before it does us in.” After a few calls from GLAAD, Phil Robertson was about as useless as a screen door on a submarine in the eyes of A&E.

volfan007

Ron,

As always, great stuff, Brother. It is amazing that A&E seems to be willing to shoot the “Golden Goose,” in order to appease the liberal, PC, Thought and Speech Police.

David

    Ron F. Hale

    David,
    Your comment gave me “goose bumps” …. Yes, A&E will be finding out that the Robertson family and their fans also have choices and convictions to make. Thx!

Ben Simpson

Ron,

I agree with the point of your article completely. By the way, I love it when Uncle Si says, “And that’s a fact *Jack*!”

I’ve seen “Phil was ‘fired'” referenced in other places, and you used it as well. I may have my facts wrong, but Phil was actually “suspended indefinitely.” “Fired” means that his contract was terminated, and I don’t think that’s the case. He’s simply been suspended until A&E decides that he’s not suspended. They may leave him suspended forever, which would in effect be a firing, but I don’t expect that will be the case. After things calm down, I believe they’ll end his suspension and bring him back. If they don’t, the show is over because the rest of the Robertson bunch won’t stand for it.

Brothers and sisters, be warned. If things to do not take a different direction, calling the practice of homosexuality sinful and damnable will be criminalized as hate speech in my lifetime, maybe even in Ron’s.

    Norm Miller

    Ben:
    Your last sentence is the law in Canada.

      Ben Simpson

      Norm,

      I know. Our church directly supports a NAMB missionary in Saskatchewan, Canada, and he often reads my blogs. A couple of times he has said concerning what I’ve written about homosexuality, “You can’t say that here.”

Ron F. Hale

Ben,

Thanks for commenting and our concerns about “hate speech” is valid. Some of us may be spending some time in jail together, therefore, we’ll have time to hash out the finer aspects of theology (smile). Have you noticed that the Left seem to overlook the speech of Islam? I wonder what they are afraid of?

    Ben Simpson

    Ron,

    It’s not politically correct to say anything against a Muslim, and yes, part of that reason is that they are scared of Muslims. Only evangelical Christians are in open season. What’s amazing to me is that all of these commentators, including Bill O’Reilly (who is a train wreck every time he tries to say anything theological), totally miss that much of what Phil Robertson said was merely a quote from Scripture. Unbelievable!

wingedfooted1

Leviticus 18:22 (NKJV)….
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”

It should be obvious, even to the brain dead, that we are living in an “obama-nation”.

Robert

This whole thing reminds me of one that we need to be on guard for double standards:

beware of double standards as they always give people away.

By this I mean that when you see a double standard in some setting you can be sure that someone has an agenda and they will use whatever power they have to attack, silence or eliminate the opposition.

What is the double standard here?

I can assure you that had he said in the GQ interview that he endorsed homosexual marriage or some such sentiment; he never would have been suspended. In fact there would not even be a controversy as A & E would have done absolutely nothing against him.

But speak the truth about the subject (and have the audacity to even quote the Bible) and he is suspended.

The same kind of double standard is present for example on many college campuses (i.e. do your report or presentation on something anti-Biblical and there won’t be any repercussions from the instructor or class and you will get a good grade: speak the truth and actually be Biblical and watch out there will be repercussions including getting lesser grades and being attacked in all sorts of ways).

I don’t have a blog but if I did, I would be publicly pointing out the double standard in A & E’s actions.

At this point I hope the duck dynasty people all decide to leave the show in masse: that would hurt them where it really counts, in their pocketbook. I am surprised that the Duck people (or perhaps they have) are not using this incident to use leverage on A & E because one thing nonbelievers seem to understand is losing money. For most of them money even takes precedence over the opinions of powerful lobbyists. I think the Duck guys are financially secure so they should respond by threatening to leave and eliminate A & E’s cash cow if they are not allowed to speak freely on things. Isn’t speaking freely on things supposed to be he heart of reality shows anyway?

Robert

Norm

Duck ppl can afford to produce the show themselves and sell it. That’s what the creatives behind the long defunct show Hee-Haw did. All networks turned thumbs down, but the show was a smash hit in its day and played for better than a decade as I recall.

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