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The decision by A&E to take Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson off the air for comments he made on homosexuality and his faith has sparked a nationwide debate.
Meanwhile, the Robertson family is standing behind their patriarch, which means duck season could soon be coming to an end for A&E.
"While some of Phil's unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible," the family said in a statement released late Thursday night. "We have had a successful working relationship with A&E, but as a family we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm."
The reality TV show featuring the Robertson family's redneck charm and duck calls is one of the most popular in cable history, averaging 14 million viewers per episode--and its viewers aren't abandoning the Robertsons now.
More than a 100,000 people have signed a petition on I-Stand-With-Phil.com. And on Facebook, more than a million fans have signed on to a page boycotting A&E until Phil Robertson is returned to the show.
The social media site is coming under fire as well. The administrator for one of the pages supporting Duck Dynasty says Facebook locked him out for eight hours before telling him it was just an "accident."
"He was basing his comments ... on biblical verse ... and these are views that a lot of people hold." Matthew Belloni, executive editor of Hollywood Reporter, said.
Meanwhile, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told CNN that Robertson did what any Christian should do.
"All throughout that article--and by the way, the GQ article was very clear on this—his concern was to help people to know their need for Christ, and to believe in Christ and to find salvation in Christ," Mohler said.
"And when he was talking about that list of sins he wasn't comparing one thing to another," he continued. "He was doing what the Bible does repeatedly, and that was put out a list of sins that includes all of us so that we know of our need for Christ."
Even Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal weighed in, saying, "The left is tolerant of every viewpoint except those who disagree with them."
Season five of Duck Dynasty is set to debut Jan. 15. Filming has already finished, and Phil Robertson is featured in all 10 episodes. It's still unclear how A&E will proceed.
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