GOP Candidate Explains Why He Compared Duck Dynasty Star To Rosa Parks

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The congressional candidate who compared ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson to Rosa Parks for ranting about non-Christian cultures and arguing that blacks weren’t mistreated in the Jim Crow era of the United States is standing by his defense.

“To me, not knowing him, it is clear that he wanted to expose the, what I call, persecution of people who are open Christians. What better way to do it than in an open interview not on your television show so A&E can’t argue some breach of contract,” Republican Ian Bayne told TPM in a phone interview Friday.

“So having seen that I believe and I thought it was complimentary to Rosa Parks because I see Rosa Parks as a courageous person that stood up in the face of a system that was bad and said hey, enough is enough,” Bayne said.

In a fundraising email, Bayne, who is running in the Republican primary to defeat Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), had called Robertson the “Rosa Parks of our generation.”

The tempest in a duck blind began with a profile in GQ where Robertson said he did not believe African Americans were mistreated during Jim Crow. “Not once,” Robertson said. “Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash.”

Robertson also said non-Christian cultures are plagued with problems. “I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero,” Robertson said.

Bayne said the comparison was not perfect but definitely a strong one.

“He may not be as courageous as her in that he really has nothing to lose,” Bayne said. “His lifestyle will continue regardless, but I think it’s courageous to do that because no one else is doing that. He’s throwing away a No. 1 show because of his beliefs.”

Bayne said he had not seen the portion of the interview where Robertson said that he did not think African Americans were mistreated during the Jim Crow era, until after he sent the fundraising email.

“I gotta tell you this, I did not see that part when I wrote it,” Bayne continued. “I did subsequently see it. Whatever article I read on that I didn’t see the bottom part.”

TPM then asked Bayne if he regretted linking Robertson to Rosa Parks.

“No, not at all,” Bayne said.

Bayne said he believed Robertson’s comments were spurred by a fear that the country is on its way to outright persecution of Christians.

“I don’t believe it’s gotten to the point yet,” Bayne said. “But I do believe that Phil believes and I believe that we will wake up in an America where if you walk around with the bible you could be arrested. Yes, I believe that. I really truly believe that. And maybe now you understand where I’m coming from.”

Photo credit: Ian Bayne for Congress.

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