Christian Consumer Group Says It Will Monitor A&E’s Public Service Campaign
(CNSNews.com) -- Chris Stone, founder of the group that created the IStandWithPhil petition signed by over 265,000 people in support of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, says his group “remains uncertain of A&E’s true intent” and will continue to monitor the cable channel until it clarifies “what they mean by tolerance, inclusion and mutual respect.”
“As they’re asking us to invite them into our homes, we’re wondering if they’re willing to invite us into theirs,” Stone, the founder of Faith Driven Consumer (FDC) told CNSNews.com.
A&E suspended Robertston from the popular show on Dec. 18th after he said in an interview with GQ magazine that homosexual behavior was both sinful and unnatural.
However, after a social media backlash over Twitter’s 12-hour suspension of the petition on Dec. 23rd and threats by Robertson’s family members that they would not appear on the hit show without him, A&E backed down and ended Robertson's suspension Dec. 27th.
At the same time, A&E also announced that it was launching a “national public service campaign promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found on Duck Dynasty.” But Stone says FDC will be watching.
“It remains to be seen what their public service campaign will be about,” Stone said. “Originally they made a statement that they were firmly committed to the position of the LGBT community and that they embraced that as their own. So unless they have had a significant change, we would only assume that their campaign would be to promote their version of tolerance and mutual respect.
“What we have asked simply is that they also include their embrace and acknowledgment of the worldview held by millions of their viewers, and include that in their rainbow of diversity. At this point in time, we have no idea what they’re going to do. They have not consulted with us or to our knowledge other groups that are within our worldview, so to speak."
Stone, a certified brand strategist, pointed out that A&E faces a “conundrum.”
“Their worldview, their culture aligns much more with what I would call America’s cultural left….The conundrum comes in when their largest franchise, Duck Dynasty, the worldview of the personalities in that show is in natural conflict with who they are…. There’s no natural affinity between the audience of Duck Dynasty and the brand A&E. The affinity is with the Robertsons and Duck Dynasty itself.
“The reason they did the about face was they were in danger of losing their big moneymaker…. They had no choice but to risk their largest producer or put it back on.”
He also pointed out that tolerance has too often been a one-way street.
“Those who have used the words ‘tolerance,’ and ‘inclusion’ and ‘mutual respect’ are now realizing that if you use those words, you’ve got to include everybody...What they really meant was our agenda needs to be pushed forward and anybody who stands in the way needs to be shouted down and called names.
“Now they’re being forced to recognize and deal with those people [whose] beliefs are deeply held and based in a religious heritage that is thousands of years old.”
Stone said FDC launched the online petition because “our core purpose is to prove a voice and a resource for faith driven consumers, and this was a classic opportunity for them to be heard and noticed.”
FDC also produces a five-star rating system that ranks companies on their compatibility with a biblical worldview.
“This is not a list of the Hobby Lobbies and Chick-fil-A’s.” he told CNSNews.com. “These are not Christian companies, These are simply companies whose actions do not put them in conflict with a biblical worldview. This is a list of mainstream brands, all of which are imperfect.”
“We’re not about boycott, we’re about buycott,” Stone added. “We’re about doing business where we’re welcomed.”