By Jim Bouchard
“CONGRESS (emphasis mine) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”
Free speech is not free and the 1st Amendment does not give you the right to say whatever you want…without consequences.
Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame ruffled some feathers when he was quoted in a GQ interview fundamentally condemning what is, in his view, the sinful act of homosexuality and male prostitution. Putting aside any references to incest or any other redneck allusions I might be tempted to make…
…Phil exercised his right to free speech. It was published. A&E fired him. End of story.
The 1st Amendment is there to protect against the government gagging us. There are plenty of legitimate challenges to freedom we can debate on that front.
For those waving the “free speech” banner- here’s my attempt to enlighten you:
Let’s say someone pitches a tent on your front yard and proclaims they have the right to live anywhere they’d like. Are you violating that person’s rights when you tell them to get lost? Wouldn’t it be a violation of your rights if a government agency intervened and commanded you to allow the squatter to occupy your private land?
A&E is a private company. They own the time and space on their network. They’re free to choose who they’ll air on their network- or not.
Phil Robertson is free to express himself. He did. Now he owns the consequences.
A&E is exercising their rights as well…and they’ll face consequences too. They’d likely face far worse consequences if they didn’t boot the duck man given their audience. You might choose never to watch them again in response to their treatment of Robertson. You might applaud their decision to turn their backs on profit in support of the gay and lesbian population. Legally- nobody is in the wrong here.
You can agree with Duck Man Phil or not- as of this writing, you’re still free to hold your own ideas. You might think he’s a champion of true Christian values…you might think he’s an intolerant, ignorant redneck asshole…
…but you if you think this is a free speech issue- you’re just plain wrong.
Knock It Off!