The controversial Robertson family of "Duck Dynasty" fame has announced it will publish a branded devotional Bible this fall, spurring debates about blasphemy on the Internet.
Aptly titled the "Duck Commander Bible," the book will present a King James version of the Bible, highlighting the Robertson's core values of "faith, family, fellowship and forgiveness," Thomas Nelson publishers said in a release. The book will also feature "30 life-changing testimonials." It hits Amazon and shelves Oct. 28.
The release comes a year after the TV series was the subject of some controversy after A&E suspended patriarch Phil Robertson in response to comments he made in a GQ interview. Roberston said that homosexuals would "not inherit the kingdom of God."
Branded or "niche" Bibles aren't a new development. Amazon users have compiled lists of niche Bibles similar to the "Duck" version, and a 2006 New Yorker article dug into the issue of commercial versioning of the Bible stemming largely from market research.
Some have applauded the upcoming book. As The Blaze put it, "If you're a fan of 'Duck Dynasty' and the Bible, you'll absolutely love this." The already published "Duck Dynasty Devotional" has received mostly positive customer reviews on Amazon, many praising the book for bringing people to the Bible in the first place.
But many online responses to the news have questioned the franchise's motives, if not called the move outright blasphemy.
"This will likely be well-received by right-wing Christians," Crooks and Liars' Alan Colmes wrote. "But imagine if a liberal did his or her own Bible. There would be outrage about how God is being blasphemed."
S.D. Kelly of Christ and Pop Culture said in a piece about the upcoming release that the real problem was that some people would only buy the Bible because of its affiliation with the show, essentially culminating in hero worship.
"The tendency toward hero worship is a human quality, what could be considered a human failing, but Christians — of all humans — are supposed to be inoculated against this failing, because we are the ones who understand this truth at the most fundamental: nobody is perfect. There is only One who is perfect, only One who is worthy of worship, and it is not any of us," Kelly wrote. "Christians follow Christ, not other people."
The heavy marketing of the show is wearing thin, Kelly asserts, especially when the Robertsons blur the lines between business, faith and entertainment.
"With every new product release from the Robertson family, whether it is a coffee mug or the Holy Bible, the show seems less and less funny," Kelly wrote.