Skip to comments.Free Association for Some: The Hypocrisy Fueling the Duck Dynasty Flap
Posted on 12/24/2013 2:40:04 PM PST by Kaslin
What if A&E had suspended a gay reality show star for coming out of the closet?
As the drama surrounding cable network A&E’s suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson enters its second week without losing steam, our analysis of the incident becomes more refined by critical thought. Where emotional reactions at first prevailed, we now see thoughtful consideration of why this episode matters so much to so many people.
Caring about Phil Robertson and his ordeal says something about those who stand with him. It reveals a solidarity informed by shared values, and similar experiences. For Christians in today’s increasingly secularized culture, there exists a persistent subversion of our religious expression. While it often takes the form of private censure, as it has in Robertson’s case, the influence of the state can be sensed bearing down on private decisions.
Perhaps that is why figures like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have mistakenly represented the suspension as a violation of Robertson’s free speech rights. As reported in City Pages, the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU sought to set the record straight in a blog post last week:
The Constitution protects you from the government violating your rights. Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty, has not been arrested or charged with a crime for his comments about gays (nor should he be), he has been [indefinitely suspended] by a private employer for making these comments.
Phil Robertson has the right to make whatever homophobic or racist comments he wants without fear of going to prison for it, however he does not have the right to have his own TV show, or to say what he wants without negative reactions from his employer or people in the community.
While this interpretation proves correct, we need not look far to see how unequally it is applied. What if, instead of Phil Robertson expressing his Christian view of homosexuality, A&E had suspended a gay reality show star for coming out of the closet and advocating for gay marriage? Would the ACLU and City Pages and their allies on the Left be so eagerly reminding us of the cable network’s freedom of association?
We know the answer. We know it because the unequal recognition of the freedom of association lies naked in the various public accommodation and anti-discrimination laws strewn throughout various levels of government. Indeed, mere days before the Duck Dynasty controversy erupted, a judge in Colorado ordered a Christian baker to serve cake for a gay wedding or face fines. Where’s the ACLU on that one? Naturally, they represented the gay couple and stood against the baker’s freedom of association. “No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are,” they said in a statement.
How is A&E’s decision to deny a business relationship with Phil Robertson because of who he is fundamentally different than that Christian baker’s decision to deny a business relationship with a gay couple because of who they are?
As we ponder that, the allure and longevity of the Duck Dynasty story becomes clear. While no rights were violated, they undoubtedly would have been in reversed circumstances. That proves just as outrageous as if Robertson’s rights were violated.
Let’s not pretend that private actions are not profoundly influenced by the legal climate in which they are taken. Would A&E have been as quick to suspend Robertson were it not for the protected legal status of sexual orientation in various public accommodation and anti-discrimination laws? Would they have been as quick to suspend the star of their most lucrative property if there were not such a well-financed, trigger-happy, and litigious homosexual coalition? How might this situation be different if the free association right which the ACLU correctly describes was universally protected without regard to political correctness?
So long as the public accommodation aspect of civil rights law persists, and particular classes are singled out for special treatment, equality under the law will prove elusive. From there emerges an importance which transcends celebrity gossip. This was never about a reality show.
The homos need something to put their perversion IN YOUR FACE -— they know you do not agree with their “lifestyle” so they must cram it down your throat with the full support of the leftist propaganda machine.
Just more of the same.
Exactly. Phil’s suspension may not be a violation of his free speech rights, but it is religious discrimination. Which is illegal. But for liberals, just as only whites can be guilty of racism, only Christians can be religious bigots.
This actually *is* about free speech.
Yes, A&E has the right to suspend Phil Robertson.
Just as WE have the right to tell A&E (and the rest of the world) that we aren’t putting up with it any more.
To pretend that this is about Robertson’s words to a magazine any more is to whistle past the graveyard. GLAAD attacked a normal, christian, religious point of view. A&E reacted to less than 5 percent of the population being angry by suspending him.
Then a large swath of the population got ticked off, and have taken it on themselves to speak out LOUDLY in favor of the religious viewpoint.
What is really interesting to me is that Robertson was suspended over his personal religious views - which is itself a violation of civil rights laws!
A&E denied him that. And you say A&E had a right to suspend him.
In other words you are denying Phil Robertson's right to free speech also
It is against the law to discriminate against someone due to their religious beliefs.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the bases of race and color, as well as national origin, sex, and religion. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
No, that is not what I said.
First, the fact that Phil’s speech was a vocalization of a specific religious viewpoint makes it more than free - it is protected under civil rights laws. So, that means A&E may have (likely) violated the law in their suspension. But, I leave that aside to make my main point...
At-will work arrangements mean that A&E has the authority to suspend him. I assume (always dangerous) that the contract between A&E and the Robertsons allows for the suspension in the case of a negative representation of A&E while being on the program.
In this case, GLAAD made an angry case of accusing Phil of such a negative representation. They are wrong, but protesting appears to be their only skill, so they got loud and in A&E’s collective face.
A&E reacted to GLAAD in a manner they hoped would be palatable for both GLAAD and the Duck Dynasty audience.
However, the best laid plans of A&E and GLAAD fell apart when the Duck Dynasty audience got ticked off in return. Neither GLAAD nor A&E thought that we docile conservatives would stand up for Phil (by standing up for ourselves).
Phil has the right to say what he said. A&E, as his employer on the show, has the right to react to that (barring adjudication of the religious speech issue).
But neither A&E nor GLAAD want the Duck Dynasty audience - a heartily conservative cross section of the country IMO - to have the right to tell A&E how badly they screwed up.
As soon as someone says they believe A&E has the right to suspend and THAT’S THE END OF THE STORY, you can know that they are actually screaming for conservatives to sit down, shut up, and acquiesce. I am saying the opposite - that it’s time for conservatives to get loud, get angry, and be in their faces whenever they try to run us over.
Free speech does not come with the right to not suffer any consequences of your actions (from non-governmental institutions). If I badmouth my employer publicly, I should expect to be fired. If I make disparaging racial remarks, I can expect the same (and I mean demeaning a race for their immutable characteristics).
A&E screwed up. They thought they could get away with it because the right doesn’t often scream their frustration. I’m glad it is happening in this case, and I sincerely hope it starts a trend that continues far into the future.
Merry Christmas, FRiend.
Forget the infamous “one percent.” In America, the two percent rules.
What need to have femboyant displays of “pride” in an aberrant behavior, save that they already recognize their depravity and are seeking psychological justification?
So he can be bullied by people who claim they cannot be 'free' without punishing those who would bully them. GLAAD and their ilk are going to find themselves without many straight allies if they keep up this incessant Mau-Mauing of straight people who simply have a difference of opinion, and dare to express it. Phil Robertson has no power to hurt any homosexual person, or cause any damage to their jobs or livelihoods. It is the homosexual activists who are doing THAT to Phil.