'Duck Dynasty' Controversy: Petition Calls for Phil Robertson's Immediate Return

Phil Robertson
Miller Mobley

With the traditional family sitcom a rarity on the networks — and faith something of a dirty word — hungry viewers arrived in droves, making the show about a Louisiana family a hit

Support for Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson continues to pour in, as Faith Driven Consumer, an organization connecting Christian consumers with faith-compatible companies, has launched the IStandWithPhil.com petition drive.

The petition calls for A&E to immediately reinstate Robertson to the hit reality show, after he was placed on indefinite suspension because of anti-gay remarks he made in a recent GQ profile.

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“Simply put, Phil Robertson is being censored and punished for quoting the Bible, and A&E’s treatment of him is punitive and highly discriminatory,” said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer. “Everyday people will not stand for this; they know bullying and violation of religious freedom when they see it. A&E’s actions are censoring faith-driven consumers and eliminating them from an entertainment choice that they have overwhelmingly supported.”

The IStandWithPhil.com online petition drive calls out the A&E network’s “intolerant, discriminatory, and punitive treatment” of the Duck Dynasty star, reading, “A&E's position, which in your own words is ‘championing’ the gay and lesbian community … excludes the views of Faith Driven Consumers and effectively censors a legitimate viewpoint held by the majority of Americans.”

The petition calls for respecting the millions of viewers of the show, and demands that the network immediately reinstate Robertson and “formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.” At press time, the petition had collected more than 4,000 signatures.

In the magazine, the reality TV star uses lewd imagery to discuss why he doesn't understand homosexuality, which he goes on to call a sin and compare to bestiality.

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"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus," Robertson says in the January issue of GQ. "That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

Robertson is asked what he finds sinful. His answer: "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

His comments have since been slammed by GLAAD, but the reality star has drawn support from Sarah Palin and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.

Robertson released his own statement in response to the controversy early Wednesday: "I myself am a product of the '60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."

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The Robertson family made The Hollywood Reporter's 2013 Rule Breakers list, which hit newsstands Wednesday.

Phil's son Willie Robertson, who's featured on the cover, tells THR of the show's success: "It's a combination of the faith, the positive and the family aspect … and it's funny."

Adds his brother Jase Robertson: "We're just kind of doing what we do, and people identify with that."