bureaucracybusters

FREEDOM OF SPEECH ISN’T FREE

In Bureaucracy, Business, Entertainment, Social commentary on December 19, 2013 at 1:10 am

There are several reasons to not watch “Duck Dynasty”:

  • You might be opposed to duck hunting–and the fact that the family of Phil Robertson has grown wealthy by selling duck-calling products.
  • Or you may be disgusted at the sight of long hair and beards, which the males in the Robertson family wear with abandon.
  • Or you might be turned off by the sight of so many shotguns and rifles, which the family loves to display.

These are perfectly legitimate reasons to switch channels when this A&E “reality series” comes on.

But there’s one reason that shouldn’t apply: Blacklisting Phil Robertson, the family patriarch, because he expressed his opinion during a Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ) interview.

GQ itself best summed up the image and values of the Robertsons: “a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase-spouting duck hunters.”

Duck Dynasty Promo.jpg

So when A&E signed them up in 2012, the network should have known what it was promoting–and that the words “politically correct” didn’t apply.

Thus, the network shouldn’t have been surprised when Robertson, asked during an interview for his views on homosexuality, frankly stated them.

At 67, he is an unabashed Christian fundamentalist and a proud member (along with the rest of his family) of the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ.

Phil Robertson

“It seems like to me, a vagina–as a man–would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” said Robertson, a Louisiana native.  “That’s just me.  I’m just thinking.  There’s more there.  She’s got more to offer.

“I mean, come on, dudes!  You know what I’m saying?  But hey, sin: It’s not logical my nam.  It’s just not logical.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine.  Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.

“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers–they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

The First Amendment to the Constitution declares, in part:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech….”

Thus, the most important legislative body in the nation is strictly forbidden from interferring with the rights of Americans to express their opinions.

Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers didn’t have the foresight to imagine wealthy conglomerates such as A&E usurping powers that were denied to Congress.

Thus, when the issue of GQ hit the newsstand–and the Internet–A&E quickly announced that it was indefinitely suspending Phil Robertson from appearing on the “Duck Dynasty” series.

“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty.

“His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

The network stated that the rest of the family (who almost certainly share his views, but haven’t done so publicly) would remain on the program.

Of course, the homosexual/lesbian/transgender community were outraged by Robertson’s views–which were precisely those of an Old Testatment-quoting patriarch.

And they have every right to be upset.  They have long been and continue to be targets of abuse–much of it violent.  And no doubt they see Robertson’s views as justifying further such abuse aimed at them.

And they weren’t shy about expressing their views about Robertson–and his beliefs.  According to a statement released by GLAAD (formerly Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation):

“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe.

“He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans–and Americans–who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.

“Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

From a First Amendment perspective, so far, so good–two diametrically opposing opinions on a vital social issue.  May the best argument win.

But according to A&E, there can be only one prevailing view on homosexuality–whatever view the network’s topmost officials decide is correct at any given moment.

This is the liberal version of the 1950s “Red Scare” reign of Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.  Anyone accused of being a “Communist,” a “Comsymp” or “fellow traveler” could suddenly find himself out of work.

This was especially so in the area of television–where simply being labeled “controversial” could earn you a pink slip.

Love him or loathe him, Robertson has never hidden his views from anyone.

A&E surely knew what it was getting when it signed him and his Louisiana family up for this “reality series” which brings in huge profits from its 14 million viewers.

Only when those profits are threatened by the public statement of views that A&E officials surely knew long ago has the network tried to distance itself from its ratings-winner.

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