Monday, December 23, 2013
Charlie Brown and Duck Dynasty Winners
Last week, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" aired on ABC.
It first aired on television in 1965 and has aired every year since.
America has become more sophisticated and prefers more edgy, suggestive and explicit programs now, right?
The media and the entertainment industry would lead one to think so, but when given the choice, the American people say otherwise.
Remember "The Bible" miniseries that aired this past year? It set viewer records on cable television, beating the old networks every night it aired, with audiences reaching 11 million viewers.
A number of reality shows are failing, people are tired of the same old lines and format. And the contrived "reality." It's anything but "reality."
While American Idol, Simon Cowel's X Factor and others are consistently loosing viewers, people are turning to programs that reflect more traditional values and principles.
Charlie Brown beat Simon Cowel's X Factor last week in the ratings. Charlie drew 6.41 million viewers, while Cowel drew 6.22 million viewers. And for Cowel's X Factor, it was the show's finale to see who won the season and would possibly be the next American pop star.
"Good Grief". With Charlie Brown, we all know how it ends, but we want to see it again and again, even though some of us have seen it every year for the past 48 years.
Why is Charlie Brown so enduring?
When reality shows are dropping like a rock in ratings, why is Duck Dynasty arguably the most popular show on television---cable, no less, with up to 12 million viewers per episode?
A&E Network, who carries the Duck Dynasty show, found out just how much America likes the show when they "indefinitely suspended" Phil Robertson, the Robertson family dad and star of the show, for not affirming homosexual behavior and expressing his biblical beliefs.
Although the Robertson's are very open about their faith in God on the show, it was not in one of the episodes, but in an interview with GQ Magazine that Phil Robertson shared honestly what he believed about homosexual behavior, quoting the Bible as the source and reason for his beliefs.
A&E jerked him from the show, while the press labeled him as a bigot and hater.
That was last week.
Over the weekend, America pushed back---way back.
And I just read what Robertson told his Sunday School class at church yesterday.
I talked about the suspension of Phil Robertson from the show last week on my live radio program. It was last week's lead story in the news. And it is continuing.
The media immediately labeled Robertson as a hater and a bigot. He is neither. His words in the GQ Magazine interview to be released next month, were coarse, but honest. He said he believed homosexual behavior was wrong---it is sin, and said his beliefs are based on biblical teaching.
He also shared his personal testimony of how God saved him from a life of sin and brokenness.
A number of leaders, including Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, home of the Robertson family, denounced A&E's action as an assault on freedom of religion. Sarah Palin and others publicly shared his sentiments.
I told our radio audience that I felt this episode was a bit different than the other attacks on religious freedom we have been witnessing over the past few of years.
On the surface, it appeared the same. Someone says something that the homosexual activists disagree with or that fails to affirm the behavior---- they attack the character of the person labeling them as a bigot, hater, etc.---the media piles on, the person is boycotted or shunned---the person loses their job or their business.
People are becoming fed up with the political correctness that is choking our culture. I told our radio audience I felt in my spirit, this may have a bigger push back than expected.
What we have witnessed over the weekend is not merely about Charlie Brown or Duck Dynasty. It's about much more than that.
Cracker Barrel food chain was the first to announce that they were pulling all the Duck Dynasty products from their stores and restaurants across the country. That was on Friday.
Their public statement said, "We are removing selected products" from the store chain "that might offend some of our guests." The products are duck calls, t-shirts, bill caps, etc, with the Robertson family image or that of the father, Phil Robertson.
They said, "We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture."
If they really practiced those ideals, they would not have joined in the march to destroy Robertson for his biblical beliefs.
They received hundreds of thousands of calls and email messages.
Yesterday afternoon, they had a great awakening and posted this on Facebook: "Our intent was to avoid offending, but that's just what we've done. You told us we made a mistake. And you weren't shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings."
Craker Barrel went on to say, "Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores."
Mike Huckabee summed up the feelings of millions of Americans, including my own, with his post on Facebook yesterday: "I have no respect for a company that bows to the slightest pressure from the politically correct."
This is not about Duck Dynasty. Nor is it about Charlie Brown. Or even about A&E Network.
Americans are fed up with the insanity and nonsense of political correctness. And relativism. And the calculated attempt to destroy our religious freedom---even the freedom to believe certain biblical truth.
Many are tired of seeing the culture "conditioned" to accept the growing attack on freedom as "equality" and "fairness" as Christians are silenced and biblical principles and virtues are marginalized in a nation built on those very Truths and principles.
Millions of Americans are sick of secular progressivism, socialism, Obamacare, redistribution of wealth, the denial of American exceptionalism, the redefinition of marriage and family, normalizing that which is not and all the rest of it.
The Robertson family said yesterday they believe that A&E Network was in on the interview with GQ and knew that the interviewer would try to get Phil to say certain things to use against him so they could exercise control over him. The religious beliefs has been an ongoing conflict with the network.
Yesterday, Phil Robertson spoke to his Sunday School class at his church in West Monroe, Louisiana. They allowed the American division of London's Daily Mail newspaper to have exclusive access.
Robertson told his fellow church members that he is not surprised at the uproar this has created. He said he is not backing down because he is not a hateful person and he holds deep biblical beliefs.
He said, "I have been immoral, drunk, high. I ran with the wicked people for 28 years and I have run with the Jesus people since and the contrast is astounding."
I recommend you read the story linked above.
I mentioned last Thursday on the radio that I believe this may be a tipping point, perhaps not "the" tipping point, but "a" tipping point in America's culture.
Robertson's story is the Christmas story. "I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see..."
Watch this Duck Dynasty issue play out and you'll see what America is really thinking.
The value of the Duck Dynasty brand is worth about $400 million. For that reason, I personally believe, like Cracker Barrel, A&E Network will find a way to put this behind them and put Phil back on the show.
However, this may well have opened the door and turned on the microphone for a completely different dialog in our culture.
America watches Charlie Brown again and again and again, because he is transparent. He reflects the values and innocence we all desire. There is simplicity, virtue, integrity and true reality in the little character. Charles Schultz, the creator, was a deeply committed Christian. Those virtues are reflected in the characters of Charlie Brown.
On this Christmas week, click the link above. Watch 2 minutes of Charlie Brown admitting he doesn't really "feel like Christmas," but....
Click the other video on the link above and listen to Vince Guaraldi's famous instrumental Charlie Brown theme song or the song "Christmastime Is Here," then you'll be reminded why more people watch Charlie than Simon
The Roman soldiers discovered it is impossible to kill the Truth. The cultural soldiers of our day will, at some point, discover the same reality.
Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Blessed. Be Free.