Cracker Barrel has become the first sponsor to cut bait with “Duck Dynasty” … but not entirely.

The Southern-themed food chain reacted to Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments by removing “selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests” from their stores and restaurants…

C.B. offers this explanation … “We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture.”

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Cracker Barrel execs have cracked after just one day … lifting their ban on Phil Robertson’s merchandise … and it’s the ultimate hypocrisy.

A CB rep now says the company had no choice but to cave after “Duck Dynasty” fans blasted them via email, phone and social media…

Cracker Barrel now says, “You told us we made a mistake and you weren’t shy about it … you flat out told us we were wrong.”

And this is precious … They say, “We apologize for offending you.”

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A Change.org petition demanding that Robertson be reinstated and the network issue an apology was steadily climbing toward 100,000 signatures Friday.

A separate petition at a website called IStandWithPhil.com makes a similar appeal. Hosted by the online community Faith Driven Consumers, the website helps its members spend their money with companies that fall in line with their spiritual beliefs. The petition on IStandWithPhil.com had surpassed 130,000 signatures by Friday evening…

“While the LGBT community may be offended by his opposing viewpoint,” that webstite continues, “your rash, discriminatory, and unfair treatment toward Mr. Robertson — a recognized symbol of the faith community — is a slap in the face to Faith Driven Consumers and everyday Americans alike.”

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A source close to the family, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline: ‘You have to ask yourself, why this interview happened and why it ever became public. Someone from A&E was there and was aware of the kind of answers Phil was giving.

‘But despite that, they didn’t ever try to stop it or control it. Instead, they let it hit the headlines and then released a statement condemning it…

‘We believe they were also uncomfortable with the family’s insistence that there would be a strong religious presence in the show. They knew Phil was the driving force behind this and we think they have used this situation to bring him in line so they could steer the show back down the path they originally intended for it.

‘But they may have underestimated how united the family are and how committed they are to their beliefs. They also didn’t realize how much support Phil would get from the public, so things have backfired on them.’

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We’re told A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc felt she could not in good conscience ask gay employees to kill themselves for a show when he disrespected them by calling them sinners.

Our sources say … gay employees involved in the production — and there are a number of them — were outraged by Phil’s comments to GQ and wanted Dubuc to give him the ax.

We’re told Dubuc felt this way … If Phil had made similar comments about African Americans or Jews … there would have been a public outcry for his head. She felt it was just plain wrong not to have the same sense of indignation when the comments were directed at gays.

Our sources say GLAAD was heavily involved in lobbying the network to 86 Phil, and they had an impact.

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“Duck Dynasty” will NOT go homeless if A&E decides to pull the plug … TMZ has learned, at least two other networks are salivating at the chance to pick up the popular reality show.

The owner of the popular Christian-affiliated Hunt Channel — a guy named Merrill Sport — tells TMZ, he’d pick up DD in a heart beat … and would beam the show straight to its most loyal viewers: sportsmen and Christians.

He says, “We believe in the 2nd amendment and freedom of speech … A&E needs to put on their big boy pants, and if they don’t like the programming, they need to either let [DD] go or shut up and pay them.”

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[O]ther Bible experts said the Scripture Robertson cited isn’t quite clear about homosexuality.

“A lot of people misread this text because it’s so complicated,” said O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky…

Liberals say that some parts of the Bible offered particular truths for a specific times and places but those times and places, as well as human understanding of sexuality, have progressed dramatically.

“The Bible may be divinely inspired, but its authors were human and saw, as St. Paul puts it, through a glass darkly,” said Jim Naughton, a Christian gay rights activist and communications consultant. “On the subject of homosexuality, the Bible doesn’t mean what Phil Robertson thinks it means.”

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“(Evangelicals) are very upset at A&E for pulling the plug,” said Brody, who’s the chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network. “You don’t mess with Duck Dynasty and evangelical Christians.”

Brody told Megyn Kelly that of the 85 million evangelicals currently in the United States, only a quarter of them vote, leaving the door open for liberal groups to take advantage at the polls.

“This is a gay rights lobby that’s a well-oiled machine,” Brody said. “They have the money and they have the passion. Are evangelicals going to match the passion? At this point, they haven’t, but Duck Dynasty might change that.”

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Having grown up living in a trailer — but having never, ever watched “Duck Dynasty” — I feel uniquely qualified to say this: Enough with the trailer-trash TV shows

Growing up, my brothers and I (even my baby sister) worked with Dad; he was a pipeline welder. Many of those guys were the salt of the earth, but others could barely read or write. And some of their views, their language, their morals were, to be kind, coarse. What we wanted, and what my parents wanted for us, was to rise above that. So we went to college.

And now I turn on the TV and see that the vulgarity, the racism, the sexism, the crudeness I encountered as a youth is not only being broadcast but celebrated?

No thanks.

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The appeal of the show comes from the surprising normalcy and likability of the family. The men might dress like the cast of Easy Rider, hunt almost daily, and make millions in their business, but the show emphasizes the Real America part of their lives rather than only focusing on the cast as developing celebrities. The conflicts on the show emerge from issues average Americans face: helping your parents with their will, teaching your kids to drive, losing weight for your high school reunion, sibling rivalry among brothers, and struggling to find the right Christmas present for your wife. Ask any fan why they love the show, and you’re likely to hear, “The Robertsons remind me of my own family.”

This is the odd thing about current reactions to the show from those who don’t typically watch it. While the Duggars preach and Sarah Palin shoots in the wilds of Alaska, their actions seem calculated to make a political or religious point. By comparison, the Robertson’s Christian faith is just one component of the show. Like many Americans, the lives of the Robertsons revolve around their church, kids’ activities, work and family get-togethers. Because of their honesty about struggles with alcoholism, drugs and overcoming poverty, the Robertsons demonstrate that it is possible to have a close, traditional family unit in modern times without relying on government handouts.

The threat of the Robertsons isn’t in Phil’s politically incorrect comments. The threat is that this family has figured out how right-wing politics and Evangelical Christianity can influence pop culture without being the punch line or the bad guy.

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There are two Americas, one of which is better than the other. And it’s instructive who’s sticking up for the worse America.

The conservative politicians who are complaining that Phil Robertson’s firing flies in the face of “free speech” are generally smart enough to understand that Robertson doesn’t actually have a legal right to be on A&E. When Sarah Palin and her cohorts talk about the importance of “free speech,” they mean something much more specific: That the sorts of things that Robertson said are not the sorts of things a private employer should want to fire someone for saying. That they are, or ought to be, within the bounds of social acceptability.

But they’re wrong. The other America—the America I live in—has this one right. Racist and anti-gay comments and comments disparaging of religious minorities are rude and unacceptable and might cost you your job. It’s not OK to say that gay people are “full of murder.”

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If Robertson were the hapless hick he was intended to be, he probably could quote controversial Bible passages without getting the boot. But viewers like him, and GLAAD can’t allow Americans to like a homophobe. He is in the rare position of being an entertainer who was fired for being too popular.

It’s more than that, though. Phil Robertson was fired because the overlords of liberal media can’t handle the idea that a professional funny man might come out of the back woods of Louisiana with a long, unkempt beard and a shotgun. It’s ridiculous to them to suppose that he could be deserving of the same license that they extend to the much-ballyhooed “creative class.” In dozens of denunciations on Robertson’s “coarse, offensive” remarks on sexuality, almost nobody notes the obviously relevant fact that Robertson is a humorist.

This controversy is as much about anti-redneck prejudice as it is about anti-Christian prejudice. America shouldn’t stand for an entertainment industry that permits and perpetuates this kind of bigotry.

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Via Right Sightings.