The Freedom to Speak Against Michael Sam’s Homosexual Kiss

Talk show host, Amy Kushnir, believes she is being persecuted for defending “traditional values.” During a recent appearance on Fox News (video below) she explained why she walked off of the set of her own show. If you watch the clip from her show The Broadcast,  you will see that she did so in retaliation for the questions her co-hosts asked her concerning why she was troubled by ESPN’s airing of the kiss between Michael Sam and his boyfriend Vito Cammisano.

Kushnir asserted that the “controversial” kiss should not have been broadcast, and that parents should be allowed to decide if their children should see such a thing. At one point, she proclaims, “It’s being pushed in faces. I don’t want to see that.”  She does receive support from one of her co-hosts, Suzie Humphreys. Humphreys expresses her anger that “people don’t have the right to express the way they feel if it offends somebody else,” and then “I don’t have to be penalized for my own opinions.” However, it is clear the other two hosts were doing nothing more than calmly asking Kushnir to back up her statements.

Unfortunately, both Kushnir and Humphreys are missing the point entirely. They, as well as every citizen of the United States, have the right to express their opinions regardless of how unpopular and provocative they may be. In the 90s, the Southern Baptists had the right to boycott Disney, and more recently, same-sex marriage supporters had the right to boycott Chick-fil-A. Nonetheless, no one is guaranteed protection from the repercussions of their pronounced views. Both the expression and consequences of our words are both equally precious components of our freedom of speech.

So Whose Freedoms are Really Being Threatened?
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So Whose Freedoms are Really Being Threatened?

When I think about the freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution, I am always reminded of this photograph which was taken by Todd Robertson for the Gainesville Times during the 1980s. The irony of the black officers and the curious white child, preaches its own sermon, but that is for another day. For our purposes here, I believe the photo is a striking depiction of the freedom of speech, the right to assemble, and for that matter, the freedom of religion (They claim to be a Christian organization).

As appalling and revolting as the Klan may be, it has the right to exist, and its members have the right to express their opinions. And when they do so, they are protected (and defended if need be) by the United States government. This, like love, is a many-splendored thing, and is American as apple pie.

It should also be pointed out that the officers in the picture were not there to stifle the speech of the Klan, or that of the even larger gathering of counter-protesters. They were present to protect both sides from violence. This same protection must be available for Kushnir and anyone else who stands up for traditional values (and yes, I am comparing racism and anti LGBT prejudice).

I always have, and always will, defend the rights of all to exercise free speech. However, I will not stand in the way of the fallout spawned by these sentiments. Unless, of course, they are threats of violence and rape as Kushnir said she was receiving on this Fox News clip:

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The Truth Behind the Facade of Persecution
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The Truth Behind the Facade of Persecution

If truth be told, the vast majority of the negative feedback Kushner and others have received are not violent in nature. They have been issued from individuals who are simply demanding that all citizens be granted the same rights that Kushner has always enjoyed. Their ultimatum is that all deserve “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The crux of the problem lies with the Christian majority still not used to their “traditional values” being challenged. Moreover, their privilege has blinded them to the fact that most of the time, the minority (be they LGBT, atheist, or otherwise) have remained silent in their presence. It is they who are often not free to, as Humphreys put it, “have the right to express the way they feel” without being penalized for them. This is why the minority is called “militant” when they simply speak up.

Personally, regardless of the fact that I am a white male, who shares many values that are considered traditional, more times than not, I bite my tongue when the topic of god(s) or religion are brought up. Usually these statements are made as if they are indeed fact, and the one making them are clueless that a dissenting opinion exists. At each moment, I have to “censor” myself and determine if I want to calmly voice my viewpoint, which will be perceived as combative, or to smile and keep the peace.

Kushnir’s Hypocrisy Exposed
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Kushnir’s Hypocrisy Exposed

While our society continues to have these discussions, it is imperative that both sides be honest about their motivations. On her talk show, Kushnir claimed ESPN was also not the place for heterosexuals to receive supportive kisses from their loved ones either. She quipped that she would tell them to “get a room.” I don’t think anyone believes this to be true. There is no doubt that Kushnir’s children have seen hundreds of heterosexual kisses on ESPN. Jim Buzinski put together this compilation of kiss photos for Outsports. Here are three examples:

Did Kushnir run to switch channels in an attempt to protect her children from this kiss shared at the end of Super Bowl XLVI?

Or, what if her kids saw a scene like this? Tom Brady is touching Gisele’s butt for god sakes!

Surely, this last one is horrible. It is even interracial! I’m sure Kushnir has no problem with interracial couples, but it was not too long ago that interracial marriage was considered against traditional family values. It was even illegal in the US until 1967.

So let’s be honest. Kushnir was only offended because Sam’s kiss was homosexual, and it is taboo to her because of her traditional “Christian” values. There is no valid reason to be opposed to same sex marriage otherwise. Any other excuses created are nothing but lies. Let me reiterate, Kushnir has the right to say what she believes, but she is not invulnerable to the consequences. She is not being persecuted for expressing them in public, and allowing for the rights of LGBT individuals does not threaten her freedoms.

The Final Nail in Kushnir’s Hypocrite Coffin
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The Final Nail in Kushnir’s Hypocrite Coffin

Here’s one final thing that exposes the phony “protect the children” talking points Kushnir has been shoveling since she walked of her show’s set. It is a clip from her show back in February:

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Surely, there were a few kids who happened to be watching that episode of The Broadcast. It is a morning talk show. How could Kushnir even pretend to be concerned about children seeing Michael Sam’s kiss due to its erotic nature? That kiss was so benign and unsexual. It was sweet and supportive. Contrast it with the way Kushnir is performing with those with half-naked Chippendale’s dancers. She goes flush and even lets them lift her into the air. Come on Kushnir, be honest. Perhaps if you, and others who share your view, are at least honest with your motivations, we can accomplish something in our discussions. It may also help if all of us realized that homosexuality is not just a way to have sex, it is a way to love.

Brother Richard