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First Amendment Duck
December 20, 2013 - John Stack
These days, you can’t get away from the Duck Dynasty crew. Walk into a Walmart and you are bombarded by Duck Dynasty stuff. Duck Dynasty towels, Duck Dynasty pillows, Duck Dynasty shampoo and even Elvis-on-velvet portraits proclaiming “I believe in Phil”. But, this last week it has hit a new crescendo. Patriarch Phil gave an interview to GQ where he… went off the reservation with his comments about blacks, homosexuals and any religion other than Christianity. A&E network where the show is played suspended Phil indefinitely. And the floodgates of ignorance opened wide again. “He’s the Rosa Parks of our generation” – Ian Bayne GOP congressional candidate. “Free speech is an endangered species” – Sarah Palin. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment- Louisiana Gov Bobby Jindal. Wow. I wonder what he said. Is this what he said? ” I’m a God fearing man, and my Christian beliefs are that homosexuality is a sin”. Boy, if that’s what he said, I can’t imagine them suspending him. Its not like he compared gays bestiality. What, he did? Hmmm. Well, its not like he also mocked the plight of blacks, which would be really dumb rednekedness. Scuse me, what? He did that too? Hmmm. Well he at least recognizes that all religions co-exist peacefully here..Hold on. He put down Japanese religion, Communists and Muslims? But back to my story.
Of course Fox news is all over this, as well as many conservative talking heads. Bayne even claims “In December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians". Lets step back and look at that. “A stand against persecution of Christians”. 78% of Americans self identify as Christians. There are nearly the same number of Born Again Christian Democrats as Republicans. I’m pressed to understand how the weakest 20% is persecuting the strongest 80 percent. Who is it that is persecuting the Christians? It doesn’t even seem logically possible or coherent. Its like me worrying that my 8 year old son is persecuting the rest of the family.
Rosa Parks. A young unassuming black woman who took a stand against oppressive racism by refusing to give up her seat for a white man. In a time where blacks were often treated like less than human. Where lynching because of your color was not uncommon. Now, a rich white conservative is somehow the current embodiment of Rosa Parks? He didn’t even stand UP for Christianity. All he did was voice his views. If Bayne is elected, we really are going to Hell in a handbasket.
A classmate from my hometown of Mohawk posted on Facebook “First they try to take our guns, now our freedom of speech!”. I wasn’t sure how A&E wanted to take his guns, but I also didn’t understand how anyone’s 1st Amendment rights were violated. Was he arrested for Christianity or for saying anything? Now, if there was a guy hired for PAT Robertson’s Christian Coalition talked to GQ saying how horrible Pat Robertson was, how Christianity was a hoax and evil and they would all burn as infidels, would Pat Robertson fire him? Would all these right wing nuts come to this guy’s defense in saying he was being persecuted for his beliefs? There is a better chance of me piloting the next trip to the International Space Station than that happening.
Lets be honest. This isn’t about the first amendment, either the freedom of religion or the freedom of speech. It is about being upset that a Christian has been suspended – rightfully so- because of his rude, crude disgusting remarks about blacks, non-christains, gays and many others and trying to blame “the left” for suppressing speech and religion. What they mean is “freedom just for Christian religions” (actually Brian Fischer of American Family Associations says this bluntly) and first Amendment rights only for those who we agree with. Phil Robinson was suspended by his employer for exactly what the US is founded upon – free enterprise. He hurt his company’s bottom line, and the company did what they could to stop the bleeding. If anything, the right should be cheering A&E’s decision, not blasting it.
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