The entirety of the lunatic right with the possible exception of Bill O’Reilly, have jumped to the defense of suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson: the National Organization of Marriage (NOM), Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Bryan Fischer, Bobby Jindal – and of course, the Family Research Council, (FRC) which complained about “the totalitarian tactics of the Left.”
Because A&E is somehow the “Left” now.
Breitbart happily lists all those upset at A&E’s decision; NOM has generated a petition that says Robertson did nothing “hateful”; Ralph Reed wants men to grow ugly beards in support of ugly Christians; but Bryan Fischer with typical hyperbole said Robertson’s suspension is a “turning point in history.”
Right. I’d like to take you seriously Bryan, but I just can’t.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal actually released an official statement (he’s the Robertson clan’s governor after all) bringing in the First Amendment,
Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.
And Rush Limbaugh gets applause while Martin Bashir loses his job. Y’all forget that down there in Loosiana, Bobby?
Ted Cruz (R-TX) actually more than touched on the First Amendment when he claimed on Facebook that Robertson actually has a First Amendment right to be on reality TV – does that mean we can all line up to claim our Reality TV shows?:
If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson. Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job. In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him—but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree.
Cruz cited Robertson’s “explanation” about being a child of the 60s. But does saying you’re a product of the 60s suddenly make racism okay? Does it make anti-Semitism okay to say you are a child of an earlier generation? Does everything become okay because you were brought up that way? That defense didn’t work with quarterback Michael Vick got caught dog-fighting. Nor did the claim that dog-fighting is a cultural thing.
Free speech may not be freedom from speech, but free speech does not deprive others of the freedom to be offended by that speech, as Sarah Palin demonstrated on behalf of all these right wing hypocrites when she threw a hissy fit over Martin Bashir exercising his First Amendment rights. Funny how morally relativistic the so-called Religious Right is, isn’t it?
Whatever happened to the old Christian concept of a monolithic, unchanging morality that opposed moral relativism, the supposed product of Paganism? All these defenses of Robertson seem highly relativistic to me. It’s okay because he’s a Christian, but the First Amendment went right out the window when Martin Bashir criticized Sarah Palin. Yet it’s okay for Robertson to insult not just one person, but gays, lesbians, and African Americans, all at once. And the insults just keep coming, with Republican Ian Bayne of Illinois, who is trying to unseat Rep. Bill Foster, announcing that “Phil Robertson, star of the A&E series ‘Duck Dynasty,’ [is] the ‘Rosa Parks’ of our generation.”
Rosa Parks wanted ALL people to be treated like people. Phil Robertson wants to treat some of them like animals. How is that in any way the same thing?
The lone wolf here was Bill O’Reilly, who cited Luke 6:37 to say Robertson was “being judgmental” which put him at loggerheads with Laura Ingraham. But O’Reilly said,
It’s not about the Bible, or believing or not believing in the Bible,” he explained. “It’s singling out a group, could be any group, and saying to that group ‘Hey, you’re not worthy. You’re not worthy in the eyes of the Lord, or in the eyes of God, you’re not worthy because of who you are.’ So once you get that personal, once you get down into that kind of a realm, problems arise.
Bryan Fischer more than makes up for O’Reilly by claiming that Robertson’s suspension is somehow “the mark of the beast.”
All this fuss about Phil Robertson comes down to the Religious Right’s insistence that they have a right to say nobody else has rights, which kind of makes a mockery out of the whole First Amendment. They don’t want equal treatment; they want privileged treatment. Persecution, from their perspective, is depriving them of those extra rights. They’re special. Even though the Constitution says we’re all equal before the law.
The Phil Robertson imbroglio is a clear signal to everybody exactly what the Religious Right thinks about the First Amendment. Many will refuse to see it, including the mainstream media, which seems determined, as Muse wrote here the other day, to “ignore rampant Republican fueled racism.”
It is to be hoped that Duck Dynasty will, as they threaten, take their toys and go home. A&E can pretend to respectability again and I’m sure Rupert Murdoch can find them a hating home on his network. Maybe Sarah Palin can appear on the show and take a few stray shots after having somebody explain to her which end of the gun is which, and how to load it.
There they can all lament being persecuted by being forbidden to strip other people of their First Amendment rights, brothers and sisters in hypocrisy while wiping their backsides with Jesus’ words to love your enemies and turn the other cheek. They’ll just be turning the wrong cheek.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.