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Phil Robertson

Four months before Phil Robertson provoked a national reaction with his GQ interview, the Papa Duck made a smaller ripple in Victoria.

The "Duck Dynasty" patriarch spoke in August at a $100 Man to Man Ministries fundraiser. The Victoria Community Center was packed, and most there cheered his appearance.

One reader, though, contacted me afterward to say she found Robertson's talk to be racist and hate-filled. My blog about her reaction prompted a fascinating online discussion of race, ethnicity, gender and other issues that divide us.

That conversation picked up again Wednesday on my Facebook page after I posted the initial Associated Press story about the GQ interview. On Thursday, the A&E Network suspended Robertson from the top-rated show.

The debate rages on in our comments section. Robertson's supporters are rallying around him while his critics are saying he got what was coming.

"These 'vile and obscene comments' are exactly what Christianity teaches." one Advocate reader commented. "Unfortunately, too many Christians are in name alone because they are so out of touch with the tenants of the faith. Furthermore, what Mr. Robertson said echoes exactly what Pope Francis said with the "who am I to judge?" remark. Christians need to defend their beliefs. Homosexuality, adultery, promiscuity, etc., are all sinful things. We judge the action, not the person's soul. Hate the sin, love the sinner.

"Maybe that's why 'Duck Dynasty' is one of the highest-rated shows on TV. ... People need to hear the truth and respect these men's courage for speaking it. Seems to me like a lot of our media needs to do the same."

On the other side, another reader wrote, "So ... anyone, why is homosexuality a sin? Anyone know the reason it says that in the Bible? A straight-forward, this is why it's a sin. Not because it says it's a sin -- I want a reason. Because, I believe people are born gay. And if they are born gay, then that would not make them at fault. ...

"Please, how does homosexuality destroy a family? And I'm not talking about a straight person being married to someone who was in the closet. I'm talking about two gay people who started a family, How would that destroy them? And how dare someone say that because you are gay you will not be in Heaven. You don't know God, you just know what you've read that a human being has written and passed down. Some have taken the liberty to change that also."

It's probably fitting that so-called reality TV would prompt a skirmish in the culture war. Is anyone listening when the shouting starts?