Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bible-thumping backwoods bigot

I'm happy to see A&E step up and suspend/fire Phil Robertson from that train wreck of a show Duck Dynasty. I don't watch the show (I gave it a ride for a couple of episodes and didn't care for it), but it was of no surprise that this backwoods bigot would cite the bible as his end-all be-all way of thinking. 

His remarks in GQ magazine comparing homosexuality to beastiality and how African-American slaves were happier when they were slaves is not surprising either, because the bible endorses this exact line of thinking. It's absolutely pathetic that people think this way and is the No. 1 reason why the bible and religion should be erased from the face of the earth. 

While I couldn't care less about Duck Dynasty, when I saw people on Facebook and in news stories reacting in favor of this bigot and hiding behind his right to free speech I thought I would say something.

People think the First Amendment and its cornerstone of free speech means you can say anything in any circumstance anywhere and not have any repercussions. This is grossly ignorant and enormously incorrect.

Yes, the First Amendment guarantees all American citizens the right to speak and say whatever they want -- though there are exceptions/restrictions such as things that could affect public safety, like screaming fire in a crowded movie theater, and obscenity) without fear of retribution or risk of being silenced by the (state or federal) government.

But here's the rub: This freedom doesn't extend to the consequences a person may face (for what he/she says) from private persons, private employers and other private entities.

If you say something you believe in but it sounds like intolerance or hatred toward others -- you have every right to say it; the government can't stop you or retaliate -- but you can face repercussions from family, employers, customers, viewers, etc.

Freedom of speech doesn't exist in a vacuum. Duck Dynasty's Robertson has every constitutional right to his views and to speak them. But he must also face the consequences of having such views when he speaks about them when he works in an industry driven by image and perception. A contract of employment is not covered by the First Amendment.

And for those like Sarah Palin who have flown to this guy's aid with your support, would you still back him if you removed "homosexual" from his statement and replaced it with the N-word? Or if he had a similar remark about glandular obese people or those who are mentally challenged? There's no difference. ZERO. I applaud A&E.

Intolerance and backwoods bigotry is repulsive and you should be ashamed if you support him. And the First Amendment tells me I can say that about you.

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