Duck and chicken fans alike will gather at Chick-fil-A locations nationwide on Tuesday to show support for Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.
After a recent controversy regarding the popular A&E show, a grassroots movement has been organized to support the values that Chick-fil-A and the Robertson family stand for, according to a Facebook page for the event. On what’s now being called National Chick-Phil-A Day, supporters of both are encouraged to put on their Duck Commander or camouflage apparel and eat at Chick-fil-A.
According to the Facebook page, the effort is independent of the Chick-fil-A and Duck Dynasty brands. However, more than 37,000 Facebook users have liked the page and more than 66,000 have confirmed they will eat at a Chick-fil-A in their area on the day of the event.
With the motto “Stand for free speech. Sit for good food,” and a still-increasing number of attendees, the event is likely to generate continued coverage of Chick-fil-A and Duck Dynasty’s run-ins with the media over the issue of homosexuality.
Parker Lawson, junior pre-med biology major from Denton, said he is not going to participate in the event.
“I personally disagree with Phil Robertson’s comparisons of homosexuality to more harmful behavior; however, I support his right to voice that opinion as well as A&E’s right to fire or hire whom they please,” he said. “This Chick-Phil-A day, though, seems to confuse supporting hurtful anti-homosexual remarks and a profit-seeking business with supporting freedom of speech and religion which were never in danger. To quote Phil Robertson from that infamous interview, ‘it’s just not that logical.'”
Mason Smith, junior business management major from Midland, expressed support for the values that both Chick-Fil-A and the Robertson family hold.
“Time and time again, Chick-fil-A has impressed me with its call to wholesome values and understood liberties,” said “I am excited for the discussion on campus that is bound to start as we approach the Duck Dynasty event and the Chick-Phil-A day.”
At the end of the fall semester, ACU announced Faith Calls, an evening with Duck Dynasty’s Si, Alan and Lisa Robertson that will take place on campus April 13. Shortly after the event was announced, A&E suspended Phil Robertson from the reality show in response to his criticism of homosexuality in GQ Magazine. He was reinstated a few weeks later.
Despite the negative press the show received over the holiday season, many students say they look forward to the local event.
Mary Kate Rotenberry, freshman kinesiology major from Abilene, said she is as ready as ever to see Uncle Si.
“My view hasn’t changed about the Duck Dynasty crew coming. I think it is a great opportunity for ACU to team up with the Abilene community in order to see some great and funny Christian role models and support a fantastic organization at the same time,” said Rotenberry.
“I think it’s a good thing they are coming,” said Matt Atchley, sophomore accounting major from Keller. “They have a lot of wisdom to share.”
Some students, however, question if the Robertson family’s visit to campus lines up with ACU’s mission statement.
Rodney Johnson, junior finance pre-law major from Odessa, doubts the benefit of the family’s appearance at ACU.
“When I first heard about them coming, I really wasn’t really too excited to begin with. After reading the article about Phil Robertson’s statements, my immediate thought was, ‘Do we really want to associate ourselves with a person who would say these type of things, in any context?'” he said. “My biggest concern was whether or not ACU reevaluated our relationship with this organization. Even if Phil Robertson isn’t coming to our campus directly, his family represents those statements and that is where I find a problem.”
Caleb Orr, freshman political science major from McKinney, views the visit as a learning opportunity.
“I take issue with the event in the extent that Phil’s family fully supports Phil’s statements on a variety of issues from racism to homosexuality. All of his statements I think are very anti-intellectual and kind of contrast with the mission of ACU, preparing us [students] for leadership and intellectual achievement in the world,” Orr said. “I think the event has benefits in the respect that with this controversy, perhaps it sparks conversation among students, sparks a debate within the university about what is the Christian response to homosexuality? Is it acceptance, is it rejecting? I think that has a very good chance to be a benefit of the event.”