The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. has joined LGBT group GLAAD in blasting "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson over his controversial comments about homosexuality, race relations and morality.
Jackson entered the fray via a statement he released Tuesday in which he said Robertson's comments are worse than those made by the white bus driver to Rosa Parks in the historic incident which turned her into an iconic civil rights figure, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law," he said in the release. "Robertson's statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was 'white privilege.'"
Jackson's statement, according to a report from The Raw Story, appears to be in response to a recent e-mail sent out by Illinois Republican congressional candidate Ian Bayne to his supporters declaring that Robertson is the "Rosa Parks of our generation."
"In December 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people," wrote Bayne. "[A]nd in December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians."
"What Parks did was courageous. What Mr. Robertson did was courageous too," added Bayne.
Jackson is now demanding that A&E and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store meet with his human rights group, the Rainbow Push Coalition, GLAAD and the National Organization for Women to urge the channel to keep Robertson suspended indefinitely from "Duck Dynasty" for calling homosexuality a sin.
Since the suspension, however, A&E has been flooded with criticism by hundreds of thousands of fans including prominent political and religious figures in support of conservative values and free speech, demanding that Phil Robertson be returned to the show. The Robertson family has also publicly declared that they are not interested in continuing with the show without their patriarch at the helm.
"It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended," noted Bobby Jindal, governor of Robertson's home state of Louisiana, in a press release after the suspension was announced a week ago.
"As Christians, we believe that Jesus is lord over sexuality, and he says that sexuality is expressed rightly only in the marriage of a man and a woman. That's not new. We also think we're all sinners, and that God calls us all to repentance. That's not new either," explained Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
A Facebook page started last Wednesday night called Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty also currently has more than 1.8 million likes and there are several similar Facebook pages with thousands of likes.
Sources close to A&E disclosed in a recent Radar Online report that the network is privately reeling from the fallout from Phil Robertson's suspension.
"Network bosses now recognize they should have just taken the show off the air for two weeks, since reruns were just airing anyway. The fallout wouldn't have been strong and everyone could have just moved on," said the Radar source.
"Now, it's a stand-off between the family and the network, who is going to blink first? There is no way Phil is going to apologize for his comments because he doesn't think what he said is hateful or prejudice, it's his religious beliefs," continued the source.
"[The] network is hopeful that cooler heads will prevail and a solution that is suitable for both parties can be reached. A&E isn't going to walk away from Duck Dynasty, they can't afford to do it. It's just a matter of getting both sides to agree on how to move forward," explained the source.