Saturday, December 21, 2013

Freedom of Religion/Speech Hanging On

In the past week we’ve heard stories about a five year old playing army at school and being suspended for pointing his hand in a way that was emulating a soldier with a weapon shooting at the enemy. We’ve also heard of a school that edited out references to  Jesus in the song “Silent Night”. The children were not allowed to say certain words during the song lest it offend non believers. Then there is the one that has generated the biggest headlines. Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson saying that he doesn’t believe that God sanctions the gay lifestyle.

His comments appear in the January issue of Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ). You can read the entire story at

I warn you up front that if you read this article, it’s laced with foul language including the “f” word on several occasions, but not by Robertson. It’s all by the writer. You also have to be careful not to take the writers words as part of what Phil Robertson believes or says. If you want Phil’s words, read the quotes. The writer put his own interpretation into things said and the environment they are in for the interview.

I have never watched the Duck Dynasty television program so I know virtually nothing of what it’s all about other than what I’ve read lately. I always thought that it was a hunting program and while I have hunted and enjoyed hunting, watching on television as people sit in a blind and whisper their tips and what they are seeing has never been a big thrill for me.

The quote that has been the center of the controversy is: “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. 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 man. It’s just not logical.”

I want to look at the first five words of this quote. “It seems like, TO ME”. In the fourth and fifth words he is making it clear that it is HIS opinion. He gets his opinion from his belief in God and what the bible says. Others may get a different opinion but this is his opinion and he states that it is in his first five words.

There is another quote in the article: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

There isn’t one place in the article with all of the quotes by Phil Robertson or even the others in the family where they condemn homosexuals or anyone else to hell.

So the gay group GLAAD came out with their quote the day that the article was published. "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."

Someone please tell me where are the lies? Is the lie where he says “we just love em”?  Was his description of a gay mans activities wrong? If his description of their activities is correct, shouldn’t GLAAD be embarrassed for calling their own activities “vile and extreme?  If we compare the truthfulness between Robertsons quote and GLAADs quote, the lie appears to be coming from GLAAD. Their quote is “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.” 

Louisiana has a constitutional ban on gay marriages. I believe it’s up to 34 states now where the people have voted against gay marriages. Some are being overturned by the courts, but the people have voted against it. So if we’re going to start calling things lies or truths, I believe that GLAAD has stated the lies, not Robertson.

GLAAD immediately called on A&E (the cable network carrying Duck Dynasty) to condemn Robertsons remarks. Later that same day, A&E complied and then expressed their own opinion of the issue.

“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.”

A&E then went a step further and suspended Robertson indefinitely. As I understand it, A&E is less than truthful in their statement as they say that Robertson’s beliefs are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. From all that I’ve read, they pray on the show, they give Christian values on the show. So their views are reflected in the series.

One more quote for you.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That is from the Constitution. It says that Congress shall make no law, and so far they haven’t made a law against the free exercise of religion nor abridging freedom of speech. However, it seems that A&E is perfectly willing to prevent freedom of speech and freedom of religion and most importantly using your freedom of speech to share your beliefs of your religion or your views on other topics, but in condemning Robertson for expressing his views, they offer a differing view. In other words, they are suspending Robertson giving their views in announcing the suspension for Robertson expressing his views that they admit they don’t agree with.

John Podesta, on the very same day that the GQ article was published with Robertsons quote, said that “Republicans are a cult worthy of Jonestown”. He apologized for stating his beliefs and all is well with him.

Robertson has not apologized for his views and I’m glad (no pun intended) of that. So far, he has stood up for himself. Something we rarely see any longer.

I still have no intention of watching Duck Dynasty. But I’m glad it’s out there. If they are stating Christian values, that is something I wish my children would watch rather than the crap that’s out there on television and in movie theaters.

I hope that the Robertsons find a way to resolve this without it turning into a huge battle or angry words in public. So far, they don’t seem to be throwing darts back at their detractors. It appears as though they are being the one set of adults in the room.

By the way, when I was a child, westerns were big on television. We used to play cowboys and Indians in the back yard with mock fights and shootouts and we even had our own toy holsters and toy guns. I also remember in grade school doing a Christmas program where we sang Silent Night and Coming round the mountain. Nobody edited it out and they even said “Merry Christmas” to each other at the end of the program and nobody got offended.

With the backlash that GLAAD is getting from this, which is the first time that I can think of that happening, I’m glad this happened and maybe it will be the catalyst for everyone minding their own business and allowing others to have their own beliefs without being scorned or scolded by others. I’d rather have the Robertsons as role models for my kids than GLAAD or A&E and if that offends any of you, then feel free to fill out the complaint box. You can find it on any liberal website you look at.

You’re welcome to comment.