Apparently free speech only works if it is in agreement with the liberal media. Just ask Phil Robertson.
The patriarch of what has been called Louisiana’s “first family” got himself in a hotbed recently. Phil Robertson is one of the stars of “Duck Dynasty”, a wildly popular semi-reality show on the A&E network centered around his family and the business he built years ago. This past Wednesday, he was suspended by the network because of statements he made in an interview with GQ magazine.
In a statement, A&E said they were disappointed to have read Robertson’s statements in the magazines and made it clear that they were strictly Robertson’s beliefs and not necessarily reflected in the series. They went on to say that his views definitely did not reflect the feelings of the network and pointed out that they had always supported the LGBT culture. They said that the term of Robertson’s suspension was indefinite.
Former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin issued a statement saying that the action on the part of the cable network concerning Phil Robertson was a direct assault on free speech.
On Wednesday night, Palin posted a picture of a meeting she had with the stars of the show on her Facebook profile. She said in her statement that the action was an act of intolerance and that free speech is rapidly becoming an endangered species.
The firestorm came about when Phil Robertson told the GQ writer that society had changed in such a way that the lines were not clear anymore between what was right and what was “sinful”. The reporter then asked him what he considered to be “sinful.” Robertson replied that one could start with homosexual activity and then go from there to bestiality and promiscuity. He quoted a scripture in I Corinthians which speaks out against homosexual offenders among other things such as adultery, prostitution, greed, drunkenness, lying, and swindling. The scripture goes on to say that none engaged in these lifestyles can inherit the kingdom of God.
If that wasn’t enough, Robertson also made some statements about race relations in Louisiana when he was a child.
Robertson told the magazine that while growing up, he had never personally observed the mistreatment of African-Americans. He even said that he had worked alongside them and felt like he was one of them because his family was considered “white trash.” He said they were a happy people and never complained about the Caucasian race. He alluded to the current “entitlement” culture as being responsible for the belief among some African-Americans that they are mistreated.
Okay, so maybe Robertson went a little too far with that last statement. While this writer would not totally disagree with the founder of the Louisiana duck calling empire, he also would acknowledge that there was a time when the African-American generation was treated very unfairly. One cannot forget that they were once barred from sitting in the same area, eating at the same restuarants, even using the same bathroom as white people. But that time is past. It no longer exists. In fact, in many ways the pendulum has swung the other direction.
But this article is not about Robertson’s statements on race relations. That statement was barely a ripple in the pond compared to the controversy stirred up by the statements against homosexuality. Facebook pages sprung up all over the place supporting a boycott of A&E. Many called it an attack on free speech.
And they were right. It is an attack. A very one-sided, unfair attack. It would appear that free speech only works if one is a liberal. Or a member of the media. And not even all of the media is afforded this luxury.
But why does it come as a surprise? The conservative Christian community has been under attack by the liberals and Hollywood media for a long time now. Their beliefs are maligned on late night talk shows and made fun of regularly by the press. Watch any sitcom and the buffoon is usually the conservative Christian. This has been going on for a long time now. How is it that a show called “Modern Family” can have a gay couple on prominent display and nobody bats an eye? But Phil Robertson makes a statement about his personal beliefs and all Hell breaks loose!
And of course, nobody wants to talk about the statements he made at the end of the interview about loving all humanity. Nobody wants to mention that he said that he felt it was ultimately God’s place to judge others and not his. No, we can’t talk about those statements. It is never right to give a fair, balanced look at anything. Let’s attack a man for his personal beliefs and only look at part of the picture.
It is the hope of this writer that Robertson resist public pressure and not back down on his statements. He needs to stand firm in his convictions and not let public opinion sway him. They are statements he made based on his Christian beliefs and conservative principles. To back down would be to give in to those who oppose him.
And the Christian community needs to stand behind him. It appears that is what they are doing but do whatever is necessary to make it clear that their segment of society has a voice as well. Boycott the network. Write letters. Put it out on social media. Blog it.
And finally, his family needs to stand behind him. Willie, Jase, and Jep need to acknowledge that this is their father. There would be no success without his hard work all those years ago. They need to tell the cable network executives that if their father is suspended, then they are stepping away as well.
No more. It is time to be heard. Stand behind a good man. GQ asked him a question. Let all of conservative Christianity help him give the answer.
Free speech is not just for the liberals. Or the Media.
Editorial by Rick Hope