Thank You, A&E


Dear A&E:

We Christians have been bashing you for the past week. It’s certainly not in line with James 1:9, which tells Christians, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (violations of which, Phil Robertson would agree, is sin). Corporately, Christians tend to be very prickly, and you’ve been the recipient of our ire. So, with Christmas approaching, let me–just one solitary Christian from Indiana–take a more positive approach.

Thank you–I repeat, THANK YOU–for airing Duck Dynasty for the past TWO YEARS. You permitted Christian values and beliefs to be broadcast to millions of people. I hope other Christians have commended you for this, but perhaps their voices are drowned out by the angry voices crying, “Persecution! Censorship!” But I greatly appreciate your willingness to invest in a show which lets Christians be Christians.

Duck Dynasty is a huge success now, but at the beginning, it was a gamble in which you were investing millions of dollars. I’m sure many corporate voices cautioned, “A show about a group of bearded conservative Christians?” Yet you took the chance, and we appreciate it. I’ve heard many people talk about the way the Robertsons are able to freely express their faith. You enabled that to happen. Thank you.

After two years of airing Duck Dynasty, A&E earned the benefit of the doubt. But instead of giving you the benefit of the doubt, we immediately hurled invective and righteous indignation at you. As Christians, we should have stepped back and considered things from your perspective.

You, as a business, also have values which apply to all of your shows. Your main purpose is to earn money–we understand that. One of your employees, in an entirely different medium, offended an important demographic and violated a corporate value. He endangered your investment. Companies have every right to take action in such circumstances.

In fact, Christians believe in accountability, in policing ourselves. Sort of. Yes, we too often give celebrity preachers and entertainers a pass when they violate Christian values, forgoing the discipline Scripture requires. But you, a secular company, took strong action even though you knew it would hurt you where it counts–the bottom line. You exist to make money, and Phil Robertson was making you lots of money. Yet you suspended him anyway. I don’t agree with the reason you suspended him. But I respect that you did it.

I apologize that Christians are giving you so much grief right now. If you’re looking for Jesus in the flood of criticism coming at you, you won’t find Him. We are behaving badly.

Like I said, after taking a chance on Duck Dynasty, and after permitting Christianity to be on bold display for two years, you deserved better from the Christian community. You had earned better. I hope our harsh reaction won’t make you wary of airing more programs which involve Christians. But if you avoid anything involving Christianity in the future, I understand. And I remain thankful for these two years of Duck Dynasty.

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