A Christian group has launched an online petition and website, IStandWithPhil.com, to bring Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson back to the show in the wake of anti-gay comments that were published in GQ this week.
A&E placed Robertson on indefinite hiatus Wednesday after he explicitly outlined why he doesn't understand homosexuality and likened LGBT people to sinners and people who practice bestiality. The petition calls for the network to reinstate him immediately and to apologize to viewers of the show who share Robertson's beliefs.
"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, who created the petition. As of early Thursday afternoon, it had amassed nearly 13,000 signatures.
In an open letter to A&E that accompanies the petition, Stone writes: "Mr. Robertson's comments in GQ Magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family — a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today's world as a whole."
On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also released a statement defending Robertson. "The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with," Jindal said. "I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."
Robertson has also released his own statement addressing his remarks. "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," he said. "However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me."
Duck Dynasty is currently the No. 1 rated unscripted series in television history.
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