A&E is Not “Happy, Happy, Happy” with Free Speech

I’m extremely grateful for this guest post from Doug Napier, senior vice president of legal for Alliance Defending Freedom. There’s no better person to provide a thoughtfully conservative legal perspective on the Phil Robertson/A&E kerfuffle:

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A&E un-“happy, happy, happy” with free speech

by Doug Napier

With apologies to H.L. Mencken, it appears that leftism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may disagree with me.

It’s an apt description of what we now see on a nearly daily basis when leftist activists seek to censor the free market exchange of ideas—something that clearly scares the feathers off them.

Free Americans should share Mencken’s disdain for the repression of competing ideas and rally to defend the freedom to disagree, as recognized by our First Amendment. Of all the people who should understand this are the decision-makers at A&E who rely on their ability to broadcast freely every day.

As nearly every American is aware, Phil Robertson has been suspended indefinitely from the 14-million-viewer-strong A&E program “Duck Dynasty,” and the family says it is now in negotiations with the network as to what will happen with the show since they say they can’t imagine the show without him. Phil’s “infraction” was to say to GQ magazine that homosexual behavior is among other sins such as adultery and promiscuity, and that he doesn’t understand why a man would sexually desire another man over a woman.

While A&E recognized that Phil’s comments were “based on his own personal beliefs…. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks”—a clear attempt to distance themselves from his comments—it fails to see the importance of protecting Phil’s right to voice his opinions freely: “The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely,” the A&E statement said. And this comes from a network that has made millions off a show about a family that spends 30 minutes in each episode exercising free speech—and lots of it.

While tragic, this kind of swift silencing of speech is becoming standard fare. Within hours of the comments becoming public, and a predictable temper-tantrum from an organization ironically called GLAAD, A&E did what the “new tolerance” demands: It silenced someone in the name of tolerance…and probably diversity and inclusion, too. In truth, GLAAD would not have the platform it has today if not for the tolerance of those who did—and still do—ardently disagree with its views.

The primary appeal of “Duck Dynasty” is the family dynamic. The Robertsons disagree. A lot. They even argue, criticize, and poke fun at one another. The reason the friction exists is that the family is comfortable with, and encourages, the free expression of diverse opinions about everything from the best way to fish to the best way to run a country.

But whatever disputes may have ruled the day evaporate at the end of the day. The Robertson family’s abiding love, respect, and honor for one another brings them to the table together to pray, to share a meal, and to engage in a deep family fellowship that Americans long for and find irresistible to watch on their TV screens.

Even Time magazine writer Brandon Ambrosino, who doesn’t agree at all with Phil, agrees with the principles of free speech. How refreshing that a few on the left understand what is really at stake here. Yes, we disagree about the underlying issues, but at least we agree that robust dialogue should take place on this. Silencing speech does nothing but to reinforce the notion that some would “win” at all costs—even the cost of someone’s freedom.

Imagine an America in which people with diverse viewpoints on any number of issues, big and small, could come together to the social table and have an adult conversation. And if we don’t necessarily want to be at the table with them, why not just allow people to live their lives, speak their piece, and if necessary, make their peace with fellow citizens on their own terms?

The Robertson family is that America. America the way it’s supposed to be, not the intolerant, repressive, unrecognizable anti-America GLAAD is trying to create.

America’s long tradition of free and open discussion about important cultural issues is the cornerstone of a healthy society. Phil’s ouster is additional evidence of the one-sided censorship offered by cultural and political elites “outraged” by such basic and well-known teachings as the Christian view of what constitutes healthy sexual behavior.

A&E, as a media outlet, should understand better than most the free marketplace of ideas. But the network has instead offered a sacrifice on the altar of self-appointed speech police who don’t believe in that marketplace and have no tolerance for any beliefs other than their own.

So, as we write the history of America today, we can say in the spirit of Mencken that the “new Puritanism” (Impuritanism?) is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be happy, happy, happy.”

We’re sure Phil still is. Maybe A&E would be, too, if they didn’t decide to get mad like GLAAD.

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Doug Napier is senior vice president of legal for Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • http://www.lambpower.com/ Steve Dawson

    Last time I checked, A&E is a profit making media company. They are in the business of having people watch their shows so that they can sell advertising. A&E does not exist to provide a platform for anyone to express their opinion. It’s corporate mission is to make money. Please do not confuse a company that happens to have access to a cable channel with a newspaper,radio station or even an older broadcast TV station. Cable channels are not licensed by the FCC, nor do they have the obligation to operate for the public good. Quite simply, they exist to provide eyeballs for advertisers. Once we get that understood, the whole argument of any kind of free speech goes out the window. I you work for them and you could possibly interrupt their income stream, you are history.

    • Mary Kilbride

      And, if you insult the people you use to make money, then maybe and I say this hopefully, they lose that ability and get lots of time to think about their obsession with making lots of money, even at the cost of humanity.

      • Nanette

        DO you really think that many gays watch Duck Dynasty? Phil was doing an interview and WAS asked. This is not the first time Phil has spoken openly about this very subject and where he stands, which happens to be with GOD!

        • njavi

          Not everyone believes in god , using celebrity status to criticize and demonstratize those who don’t believe is ridiculous.

          • Nanette

            You do not have to..but he did not use his status to attack anyone..he was being interviewed and he answered the question based on HIM believing God’s word and what it says..and I believe the same thing! OR should he not have answered or been whip cream it with frosting to the fact of the truth to make it agreeable with those people that can not stomach being called sinners?

          • njavi

            Come on now. He wasn’t asked “what do you think of homosexuality and why is it bad”, he went there. Just because it’s your belief doesn’t make it true and doesn’t mean I’m subject to it. Freedom of religion. Don’t use yours to discriminate. Also you can’t teach me anything about religion, you’re a woman and your bible strictly prohibited it.

          • Nanette

            YOU say..read the Bible a bit more to answer your statement about women.You are ridiculous, teach you, I think not. Stating an opinion is hardly teaching. Now Heinrich Myersen was teaching. Go to the definition of teaching. Quoting also is not teaching. You really need a better education or use correct words to impart what you really mean.

          • njavi

            1 Timothy 2: 11

            You have no power here.

          • Nanette

            LOL! I feel sorry for you, I am not seeking power…sounds like you are and do not like women! What I mean is look beyond the meaning, especially when I am neither preaching nor teaching…but you need to pray IF you are a believer, for discernment. As far as YOUR opinion, it is just that..an opinion. I know my God and He uses me in that which is good and pleasing to Him. That is who I serve, as risen Savior Christ the Lord! I have my quesses of what you are…but that is between you and God.

    • elvsd

      The point is when the gaystapo controls your network to the point where you shoot yourself in the foot there is a problem.

    • Wingnut

      So, you’re saying gay people are going to stop watching Duck Dynasty and buying the products advertised on that show? Excuse me while I wipe the coffee off the screen I just spewed, but you can’t possibly believe that for a second that the gay community formally supported Duck Dynasty before this “outrage”!

    • K Scott

      If you haven’t noticed, so far, it appears that their advertisers are behind the Robertson family, too. Under Armour has spoken out publicly and advised that they support Phil and they’ll go where ever he does… I know of two others that have said the same thing.

  • ThisIsTheEnd

    Free Speech doesn’t mean free from consequences.

    • muzjik

      Very true.
      I am sure A&E was shocked beyond belief that their outspoken, Bible-believing “redneck” reality TV star spoke out about what he believes the Bible says in an interview at which a representative of A&E was present and which they signed off on.
      OF COURSE, there had to be consequences.
      If A&E were really concerned about the public speech of Phil Robertson, they might want to think about cancelling the 32 hour Duck Dynasty marathon they have planned over Christmas week.

      • Nanette

        A&E knew about this interview which took place 3 months ago. Where are their PR people that set up these interviews, they know GQ magazine is progressive liberals. Exactly, why did this come out now, JUST before the marathon. Also, A&E has been trying to get them from praying in Jesus name. Understand this is not Phil’s first time or speaking openly about homosexuality.

      • ThisIsTheEnd

        And your point is?

        • muzjik

          I think the “point” is rather clear. Re-read the above couple of comments.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            I’ve noticed you didn’t summarize those clear points. The only thing I’m getting from the comments above is the impression that Mr Robertson has a god given right to appear on a reality tv show.

          • muzjik

            Take out your crayons and I’ll draw you a picture.
            1) A&E has knew that Robertson was a Bible-believer
            2) A& E knew that he was outspoken and says outrageous things .
            3) A&E developed a show around him, in part, because they expected people to tune in to see what outrageous things “redneck” Phil said and laugh.
            4) Robertson answered a direct question during a magazine interview.
            5) A&E had a representative at the GQ interview
            6) A&E signed off on the GQ interview.
            7) A&E caved to the demands of a small but vocal and politically powerful advocacy group who disagreed with Robertson’s answer to the direct question. A group who is not their show demographic anyway so threats of a boycott shouldn’t have mattered.
            7) If A&E really was concerned about people being exposed to the “harmful” and “offensive” things Robertson says, they would cancel their 32 hour DD marathon this week.
            8) It is disingenuous for A&E to act “surprised” that their
            outspoken, Bible-believing “redneck” reality TV star spoke out about what he believes the Bible and impose “consequences” for an interview they knew about 3 months ago.

            Does that help?

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            No, not really. So A&E think about the bottom line. Big surprise

          • muzjik

            I wonder it if you realize that isn’t really an apropos or sensible response, especially since the support of Robertson indicates A&E may have greatly misjudged the “bottom line”.
            GLAAD grossly misjudged as well since they are “reeling from the biggest backlash in years”, according a GLAAD representative, as people realize their purpose is not to protect a victimized minority but of silencing dissenting opinions.

          • ThisIsTheEnd

            And that’s A&E problem. I’m just bemused at how many commentators act as if Mr Robertson has a god given right to appear on a reality tv show.

    • Nanette

      Actually…better look at the EEOC’s regulations, which A&E are in violation of!

      • ThisIsTheEnd

        In what way does that undermine my point?

      • Kullervo

        Which section of the regulations? Citation, please.

      • Donalbain

        He is almost certainly not an employee of A&E

    • jcol1

      You are so right depending what sense is made of it.
      The consequence for Jesus trying to point us to a better way of life was an agonizing crucifixion. The consequence of Martin Luther King speaking for the cause of equality was death by being shot and killed by someone who felt differently. The consequence of Abraham Lincoln speaking and insisting on preserving the union and abolishing slavery wound up to be death, in like manner. Therefore, freely speaking for what is good and right is a very dangerous proposition, to say the least!
      Unfortunately, when the truth is uttered, the opposition to it always decides that someone must go!
      According to the God of Abraham, Joseph, and Isaac, as well as Jesus, Man was made for woman and woman for man!
      Now, how long do I have to live before I will be meeting our Maker face to face due to someone who feels that a consequence is due?
      The USA is no different from any other culture, it rose, it thrived, and before long, it will fall! God will see to it, in some manner, due to our enormous transgressions against Him and his intentions for us.
      Hmm, although I was “Born in the USA , I know, according to the dark side in our fair land, I too must go!
      Merry Christmas!

      • njavi

        Those who don’t believe in your god are under no obligation to live by those standards of man and woman. If your god is wrathful of that, then a just god is nonexistent. Sad that in a country of religious feeedom, so many only want their religion to be free and right

        • jcol1

          You have made your choice! I hope someday you will stop shaking your fist of defiance at He who is the sole authority over all that exists and who is actually the only source of what is actually just.
          I suspect that you also demonstrated your defiance in your earthy father’s home as well, failing the task and challenges set before you and resenting every ounce of discipline you received for being obstinate Some of that discipline might not have been just, because humans do error. However, God is not in that boat. He is the sole authority as to what is actually just and what is not.
          I too have tendencies that I must contain, we all do, that is part of the our tests in life, to see in what manner we will handle our challenges, how we will exercise our free will. Some of us will exercise that will by loving, honoring and voluntarily complying to our Creator Father’s intentions, while others will despise Him and do as they please, shaking a fist of defiance at every one of his decrees. That is very unfortunate, and unless that person is set apart, it affects the human society as a whole.
          When God sorts out those who will stand by His side, only the repentant among those who love Him, who try their utmost to be willfully compliant will be chosen. This is so among us as well, No man wants an unfaithful, ungrateful, noncompliant comrade in his ranks when facing a supreme challenge. The rebellious will not have made the team because they want to go by there own rules!

          • njavi

            This is a crackpot answer. I’m glad that your god will wholeheartedly accept murderers, and every other “sinner” you bible describes if they repent. But a good person who lives a life trying to help others, and uses their free will to question the existence of a higher power, is destined to an eternity in hell. If there is a God, why would he punish someone who seeks the truth on their own instead of only through the scare tactics and fairy tales passed down through generations? And if he does exist, and disowns someone like that, he is clearly not a just and loving being. Religious propaganda and scare tactics do nothing to show it is true, and definitely don’t prove it to be right, especially morally.

          • jcol1

            Oh njavi,
            You are not putting yourself in God’s shoes, and even if you tried, they will most certainly not fit.
            I could come up with a thousand analogies but you most certainly would reject them all because you would desire not to understand and not to accept your intended destiny.
            You, me, the murder, the thief, all people at one point or another have gone against God’s will and regardless of the act or acts, they put us all in the same boat containing our disobedience. sin is sin, regardless of what sin it is it muddies our feet so to speak and the father does not want a muddy carpet in his home. He therefore forgives and provides us a pair of slippers so that we will not bring our filth in. He has every right to expect us to comply. If we refuse than we are actually depriving ourselves of His companionship and the opportunity to abide with Him.
            If the Lord’s Spirit has not entered into your being to reside with your spirit it is only because you reject Him and what he requires of you. None of us and no force in existence will be able to help you realize that lost relationship, only you can do that. You are not a puppet on a string, God wants you to abide in Him by your own free will or else it is not and better of a relationship than a puppet master has with his toy.
            You were not born with this attitude, you chose it, God is not rejecting you, you are rejecting Him and his will for you! My prayers are with you in that someday you will find the real desire to let Him into your heart, to put on the slippers, and walk out from under your dark shadow of defiance.
            Have a pleasant New Year and may you come to actually know, accept, and abide in the Lord one day, while the slippers are still available. By the way, the ones he has set out for you came at a very high price!
            You need not reply The rest is up to you, between you and your Creator. now, i’ll go to try and repair the crack in my pot. please try and do the same.

          • njavi

            I think you mistake what I say. I do not reject God. Instead I look for a reason, evidence, as to whether or not there is a God to accept. By the same logic that you said that I was not born with this knowledge, I chose it… Well, I could say the same thing for you. A belief in God is not an innate knowledge from birth, it is taught through books and stories. Every civilization has had their beliefs and they all differ, so why is this one correct? Because they killed off many others in the Crusades or the inquisition? My views are no more wrong nor right than yours, it’s personal opinion. We cannot bring factual evidence into a faith based belief.
            I find it insulting that you claim i have a dark shadow of disbelief. my family tends to say the same. And they also say i’m one of the nicest most caring people they know. Why? Because I chose to be. Not because i do it to be in a “Heaven” or hope to be rewarded by a “God”. I do it because it’s the right thing to do.

            If there is a higher power, I would hope to be judged solely on the merits of my actions, not by blind faith. If the blind faith is a deciding factor in my afterlife – then my free will is not only compromised, but the merits of my life are insignificant. I wouldn’t want any part of a belief that counts that against me. I choose not to believe in a book because I have studied many books, and none fit 100% to the model it professes. The bible is no different. There are many issues in the bible that I’m sure even you are not in full support of. I will not ‘settle’ my life with one (of the many) religion[s] that i have disagreements with, it would be unfair to myself to live that way. I hope your god can understand that.

  • Jeremy Forbing

    Robertson equated 9 million Americans’ sexuality to bestiality. So he is dealing with economic consequences from his employer. Not sure A&E handled it well, but I didn’t see you defending Martin Bashir’s right to make his much less direct comments on Sarah Palin either when his network fired him.

    • elvsd

      A man says that crap down a woman throat and that is “much less direct”? Whatever!!!!

    • mcrognale

      The difference between Phil and Bashir? Phil was quoting God’s word. He didn’t equate homosexuality with bestiality. In God’s eyes each is grounds for eternal damnation. Of course the sinner can repent, ask His forgiveness and be assured of salvation. Bashir advocated the most vile and disgusting thing imaginable solely because he hates Sarah. There is no moral eqivalence between Phil and Bashir.

      • Jeremy Forbing

        So it is about taking sides. Free speech isn’t for everyone, just those who side with you politically and share your narrow interpretation of some brief passages in the New Testament. Got it.

        • NebrDan

          I think you two are wasting your time on dear Jeremy seems he is only hear say!!!! You support gladd don’t you and only your right count right!!! Oh and Merry Christmas Jeremy if I hurt your feelings well to bad!

          • mcrognale

            Not really. This side of death there is always hope for the Jeremy’s of this world. If by my posts I can at least cause him to think for a moment, then it was worth it.

        • muzjik

          Obviously you don’t “get it”.
          Martin Bashir, who considers himself a Christian BTW, did not make “less direct comments”. He said someone should defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth because of her political views.
          Robertson was asked flat-out “what do you think sin is?” by his interviewer and he answered, listing a variety of things, from the Bible, including homosexuality, bestiality, men sleeping with a variety of women, lying, slander, greed….

          How in the world are these two “sides” of a free-speech issue?

          Go read the interview, Jeremy. Then you will see how much you have misrepresented the whole thing here.

          • K Scott

            The BIG difference is that Bashir was a PROFESSIONAL reporter/interviewer and did his rant on TV, aka – while working on HIS JOB, and Robertson is NOT A PROFESSIONAL did his as an interview on his time where someone was specifically asking him his opinion. Robertson is not a news professional nor a journalist nor anything like that. He’s just Phil; an ordinary backwoods man who makes duck-calls for a living and who’s family appears on a reality show about about their lives. Bashir is paid to report about various subjects. Phil is paid to be himself; what else do you expect from a backwoods guy, frickin’ William F Buckley? Come on.

        • Nanette

          Bashir was directly attacking a person..and saying what someone should do to her! If you want, think for one minute..I am sure if a Muslim were to speak out against homosexuality, you would say nothing. Consider this..and they believe gays should be beheaded! What the problem is, homosexuals do not want anyone , even God to point out the “act” is an abomination against God and a sin..because it is not a natural act.!

          • njavi

            Homosexuality is actually common in nature. Many species of animal partake in that act. If they don’t believe in your god don’t subject them to his rules. Dont judge, right?

      • njavi

        Its not a sin if you don’t believe in god.

    • muzjik

      Actually, Jeremy, he did not equate the two. Which leads me to believe you are repeating someone else’s talking points rather than offering an opinion based on your reading of the interview. Shame on you for not thinking for yourself.
      The attempt to equate this with Martin Bashir’s on-the-job, on-TV suggestion about how a woman who disagrees with him politically should be treated just reinforces my opinion that you are acting as someone’s puppet here.

    • jenny

      Re-read what Robertson said… do not put words in his mouth…..

      • Gary D. Wiggins

        the world of television has changed for the worse with it’s tolerance of gay’s on tv to influence the children of today.

        • Nanette

          Sadly, the very people gay’s wanted to be tolerant..now are very intolerant of anyone or group that do not agree with their life style.

    • Nanette

      I read his exact comment…and that is not what he said or meant. WHAT he was getting at is that, “what next” not that homosexuals would engage in bestiality as a progression…but society has become so perverted..that society will except that as well.!!

      • Gary D. Wiggins

        exactly my point and thank you.

    • Anthony Michael Piccone

      There is a big difference between LISTING a series of sins and equating them – you all were either looking for a fight where there was none in the beginning or are now trying to justify yourselves by interpretation of what the man said, BTW PHIL quoted the saying, it is God’s position not his original thought.

  • elvsd

    The point of the article is that the gaystapo is trying to stop people from making a living with their media blizt and money. Forget the Robertsons. The were rich before the show. They’ll survive. Think about the baker and the photographer that are being put out of business because of the gaystapo. Our the teacher that was fired because of his facebook post. Or the administrator who was fired because she signed a petition to let the people of Maryland vote on Same sex marriage. GLAAD is a fascist organization. And so are you kif you support their tactics.

    • Esther O’Reilly

      Very well put.

  • TyPrice

    This is not a free speech issue of government censorship! This is a private company saying not in my house brother! Huge difference!http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/blog/index.php/2013/12/duck-dynasty-star-invoked-the-bible-thats-the-problem/

    • K Scott

      But isn’t it though? If it were really about an employer dealing with an employee, then where is the warnings or retraining, etc? This then, could be anyone else, not just a reality star and the forum could be Facebook or some other Social Media account not just GQ. Just saying.

      • njavi

        Contractually he violated terms with his statements. No work has the obligation to retrain or warn.

        • Disk2Legacy

          Then he was set up. Phil Robertson is NOT going to lie just to make a buck. As you would.

          • JT Rager

            Phil Robertson didn’t have to say ANYTHING in response to that question. Even if he decided not to say “homosexuality is a sin”, he wouldn’t necessarily be lying. Especially since many people don’t believe in the concept of sin anyway.

          • njavi

            You don’t know me, why would I? He had as much freedom to not say anything but he chose to use his celebrity status to express personal views. If I just wanted to make a buck, I would start a phony religion and demand tithes. But that’s already been done too many times…

      • TyPrice

        An employer can fire you for any reason! But when your a communication company and your brand is contradicting everything you stand for then that is an immediate termination as you saw!

    • Disk2Legacy

      This is a FREE SPEECH issue. Yes the company had the right to fire Phil Robertson. He was not in A&E’s house. He was in GQ’s house and they asked the question. Phil was set up in my opinion. A&E knows Phil and how he thinks, it shows in every episode of their show. They knew what questions were going to be asked. They also know that Phil Robertson has more integrity than most Americans today have. Glaad on the other hand has NO integrity and DOES NOT believe in Free Speech. They went after Phil because they got their feelings hurt. I say SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH IT whiners. Remember the phrase “sticks and stones can break my bones but words WILL NEVER hurt me”.

      • John Jacobjinglehiemerschmidt

        It is NOT a free speech issue. The Bill of Rights does not apply, and has never applied, to the private sector.

        If IHOP fired me for asking a customer whether she wanted her soup as a fucking appetizer or brought out with her goddamn meal, you hypocrites wouldn’t be lining up to defend me, and you damn sure wouldn’t be trying to bring the Constitution into it. This is a civil matter regarding a contractual agreement.

        • muzjik

          Faulty analogy (and intelligent people know how to make their point without profanity, BTW)
          Robertson did not personally insult a customer. A waitress is hired to provide polite and friendly service at mealtime. Your behavior example would, of course, violate the terms of her employment.
          Robertson was “hired”, in part, to say outrageous things on a TV reality show to bring viewers in to laugh at the “redneck”. A& E also knew up front that he is a Bible-believer. He was asked a question about his personal beliefs about sin and he answered according to his religious beliefs.
          He did not insult an individual or threaten them.
          A&E acted only because a small but vocal and politically powerful group has decided that people are not allowed to express opinions that differ from them and demanded A&E silence him.
          I sincerely doubt that his “contractual agreement” required him to never share his religious beliefs ( he wouldn’t have signed it) or avoid interviews (especially those at which an A&E representative was present). But perhaps you have some special knowledge of what portion of his contract was violated.

          • Daniel Webb

            Perhaps you have special knowledge that he didn’t violate part of his contract and was fired for that reason? Rest assured, if A&E didn’t have contractual grounds to fire Phil Robertson then there would be a lawsuit against A&E right now–not a bunch of grass roots petitions.

          • Kullervo

            A lawsuit based on what cause of action?

          • Daniel Webb

            Unlawful termination. The robertsons likely have no case and that’s why they haven’t filed one. The contract probably had a morals clause that Phil violated.

          • Kullervo

            How would it have been an unlawful termination?

            “Unlawful termination” is not some kind of common-law action. If you want to sure for being fired, you need a statute that says that both (1) the way or the reason you were fired is unlawful and (2) you can personally enforce it in court.

          • Daniel Webb

            Yeh…I know that. Not sure why you’re arguing a point that I’m not trying to make. I’m saying that he wasn’t fired for an unlawful reason (discrimination on basis of religion.)

          • buckofama2010

            a morals clause that requires him to NOT cite the BIBLE????? a MORALS clause that requires him to support perverts??? WOW, we really have lost it haven’t we???

          • Daniel Webb

            Huh? You’re confusing a morals clause with your own morals. A morals clause is just a term for a behavioral standard that an organization wants its contractually obligated employees to follow.

          • muzjik

            I thought it would take at least a week before I could respond to this but it was only 5 days…
            Now that A&E backtracked today of the suspention, it appears Robertson wasn’t in violation of his contract after all.
            Lawsuits obviously weren’t needed since A&E initiated “discussions” with the whole Robertson family….and caved.

          • Daniel Webb

            Uh, A&E choosing to let him come back in no way negates that it was legal for them to let him go in the first place. Which was my point.

          • John Jacobjinglehiemerschmidt

            You missed my points entirely.

            The people who are defending this “free speech” wouldn’t defend profanity as “free speech.” That was one point.

            I mention that it’s a contractual agreement only to point out to the slower among you that it’s between A&E and Robertson. It isn’t constitutional. That was the second point.

            Hang in there, muzjik. You’ll get it one day.

          • muzjik

            I didn’t miss your point at all…which was to use a faulty analogy.
            If you’d like to try again, be my guest.

          • John Jacobjinglehiemerschmidt

            So now you’re in a position to tell me my intentions? No, I think this train stops right about …here.

          • muzjik

            Translation of John’s comment: “I can’t think of hard things so I’ll just run away.”

      • JT Rager

        Free speech only refers to government censorship. The government has nothing to do with how A&E treats their employees.

        Phil is allowed to say what he wants but he does not have a constitutionally protected right to be on a reality show if his actions reflect poorly on the network that hires him.

        That doesn’t mean you can’t criticize A&E. If you think they treated Phil poorly, then call them out for that. You are allowed to criticize A&E for being asshats to Phil, and I’m allowed to support A&E for not being homophobic. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and everyone is subject to the consequences of their opinion. You are false if you think free speech is being violated. Phil Robertson still has the same amount of rights as before.

        • Disk2Legacy

          You go ahead and believe that Mr. Rager. We Americans are being censored everytime some one gets their panties in a wad.

          • njavi

            spewing christian propaganda is probably the least censored thing in history.

          • John Jacobjinglehiemerschmidt

            It’s not about what Mr. Rager “believes” or doesn’t. THIS IS NOT A FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUE. The First Amendment protects US citizens from the government. Nothing else. NOTHING. ELSE.

          • JT Rager

            A company such as A&E is not legally obligated to associate with an employee that is representing them in a way they don’t want to be represented.

            I’m not saying that they aren’t punishing him for espousing his opinions. I’m saying it’s not a free speech issue.

          • JT Rager

            A&E is not obligated to associate with speech they don’t agree with.

            I’m not saying they didn’t punish him for espousing his opinions. I’m saying it’s not a free speech issue.

          • Kullervo

            Is it censorship if someone doesn’t invite you to parties anymore if you say obnoxious things at parties?

        • buckofama2010

          Funny how leftists always say this but at the same time they claim some PRIVATE business owner MUST make a cake for a kweer wedding. Leftists always try to have it both ways on their twisted sick agenda.

          • JT Rager

            You are equivocating. Phil Robertson is an employee of A&E, while the bakeries serve the general public’s customers. If you serve the general public, you must serve all of it, not just the demographics that you agree with. If A&E somehow managed to restrict black/gay/straight/tall/Christian/atheist/ginger viewers and only those viewers from watching their channel, then I’d have a problem.

            Do you think businesses should restrict black people from entering their restaurants as they did before the Civil Rights movement? If you think they shouldn’t be allowed to and you want to be consistent then you should probably say that cake makers shouldn’t be allow to refuse customer service based on who they are either.

      • TyPrice

        He is an A&E Brand. That is what this is all about! No one cares what some douche bag says and a major one like him!

    • muzjik

      This is not a Constitutional free speech issue but it IS a religious speech discrimination issue. Robertson was answering a direct question during an interview at which an A&E representative was present. But because a small but vocal and politically powerful group disagreed with his answer, he was “permanently suspended” (fired) from his job.
      That should be chilling for anyone.

      • njavi

        He wasnt forced to say anything. He had every right to say what he said, and A&E had every right to suspend him. The only people being discriminated against are homosexuals and those who aren’t sharing his religious views.

        Instead of arguing against A&E, people should be calling for tolerance and equal rights. Quit using religion to turn against people, and start caring for others, isnt that the point?

      • TyPrice

        Incorrect my post stands. His answer was incredibly wrong as well! This guy is a douche bag and it’s incredible the people are rallying around his comments mistakingly thinking it is a free speech issue with A&E.

    • Nanette

      He did not “speak” out his opinion when ASKED in their “house”!

  • njavi

    First amendment means the gov won’t fine him or throw him in jail for his comments? Did that happen? No so his rights are not violated.
    What he did say violated a contract he had agreed upon. He contractual agreed not to make comments like that to any media. Isnt lying something his god disagrees with? Cause breaking a contract he gave his word on is pretty close.
    And what if someone doesn’t believe in god. Why do you still subject them under your rules?
    What if you go to work and say these things? Your boss can fire you legally. This is no different.

    • Nanette

      And were did you get that misinformation?? I have been to many sites as well as heard all kind of commentaries on this..have not heard that one!

      • njavi

        I uess you are right, just because I read something somewhere doesn’t make it true. Same goes for the bible then doesn’t it?

        • Nanette

          Maybe in your opinion…not in mine. I have read the Bible, and I KNOW it is the word of God! You do not have to, that is your choice, but I have this suspicion you have never read the Bible.

          • njavi

            I grew up Christian and have read the bible numerous times, thanks for judging me. I still hold true to many Christian values, but don’t use that belief to cauee any discrimination or oppression of others

        • Nanette

          Just post where you read that one!

          • njavi

            Read up on reality tv contracts and something they have called a morality clause. I have no problem him standing up for his beliefs, but he didn’t need to publicly chastise people who dont share them. Thats the problem

  • Carrie Geren Scoggins

    THE HATE SPEECH LAWS WERE OVERTURNED IN THE FEDERAL SUPREME COURT, UPHOLDING OUR “LEGAL RIGHTS TO DEBATE THE ISSUES.”
    CARRIE GEREN SCOGGINS POLITICAL NEWSLETTER BIBLE PROPHECY TIMES EDITION UPDATE: THE HATE SPEECH LAWS OVERTURNED, OUR LEGAL RIGHTS TO “DEBATE THE ISSUES UPHELD,” THERE IS NO FREEDOM FROM RELIGION, WE HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO ADHERE TO CORE VALUES:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6pJiW3iiLo&list=PLRxsMy-rzJoXdQpluYCJGjTjIIHcmEymy&index=1
    THE HATE SPEECH LAWS WERE OVERTURNED IN THE FEDERAL SUPREME COURT, UPHOLDING OUR “LEGAL RIGHTS TO DEBATE THE ISSUES.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6pJiW3iiLo&feature=share&list=PLRxsMy-rzJoXdQpluYCJGjTjIIHcmEymy
    CARRIE GEREN SCOGGINS POLITICAL NEWSLETTER BIBLE PROPHECY TIMES EDITION UPDATE: THE HATE SPEECH LAWS OVERTURNED, OUR LEGAL RIGHTS TO “DEBATE THE ISSUES UPHELD,” THERE IS NO FREEDOM FROM RELIGION, WE HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO ADHERE TO CORE VALUES:
    CHRISTIANS AND THE LAW, HATE SPEECH LAWS
    OVERTURNED IN FEDERAL SUPREME COURT UPHOLD THE
    “LEGAL RIGHT TO DEBATE THE ISSUE,” THE LEGAL
    RIGHT TO ADHERE TO “CORE VALUES,” UPHELD BY THE
    FEDERAL SUPREME COURT SO THAT CHRISTIANS CAN
    PREACH-TEACH-AND CONDUCT THEIR MINISTRIES AND
    GROUPS IN ADHERING TO THEIR RELIGIOUS CORE VALUES,
    AND LEGISLATION PREVENTING CHURCHES FROM BEING
    SUED FOR DISCRIMINATION BY ANY PROTECTED CLASS,
    PROTECTS CHRISTIANS FROM BEING CENSORED,
    ARRESTED, OR BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.
    THERE IS NO FREEDOM FROM RELIGION, THE
    FEDERAL SUPREME COURT DID NOT FIND A
    FREEDOM FROM RELIGION, TOLERANCE FROM
    THOSE THAT OPPOSE YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND
    VIEWPOINTS IS EXPECTED, RATHER THAN
    CENSORSHIP. WE HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO
    DEBATE THE ISSUE, AND OPPOSE OTHER PEOPLES
    VIEWPOINTS EVEN IF THEY FIND IT OFFENSIVE, AS
    THIS IS RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE. CHRISTIANS HAVE
    PROTECTED CLASS STATUS ON A FEDERAL LEVEL,
    PROTECTING THEM FROM DISCRIMINATION.

    • Dorfl

      I just checked your comment history. Have you actually posted this exact text to six different places?

  • ThisIsTheEnd

    I didn’t realise appearing on a reality TV show was evangelising for the kingdom of god

    • Kullervo

      If you’re a Christian, shouldn’t everything you do be “evangelising for the kingdom of god?”

      • ThisIsTheEnd

        I’m sure Jesus is thrilled that Christians are spreading the word by appearing on reality tv shows. Thrilled.

  • Daniel Webb

    Was Robertson censured? Was he told he couldn’t believe homosexuals go to hell? He is still free to express his beliefs–but A&E doesn’t have to approve or allow him to do it in his capacity as a (former) representative of the organization.

    I can say a lie about someone but that doesn’t prevent me from being sued for slander. I can say I think women and Jews are inferior to white Christian men but that doesn’t prevent me from dealing with the repercussions…especially when my comments are degrading who a person (like a homosexual) fundamentally is.

    • muzjik

      I think you did not read the interview.
      He did not degrade homosexuals. He included homosexual behavior in a Biblical list of sinful behavior which also included adultery, general sleeping around, slander, greed, lying, etc.

      • Daniel Webb

        I did read the interview. You miss the point. Homosexuality is not a “behavior”. It’s a sexual orientation that is just a fundamentally basic to who a person is as their skin color. He degraded them in the interview and as further evidence he degraded them in a YouTube video that’s been picking up steam which was filmed about three years ago. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5QjaYScgeDs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D5QjaYScgeDs

  • Heinrich Myersen

    One thing the Duck Dynasty guy said that is getting no attention in pop culture is his comment about the Nazis. He suggested that German society under Hitler was evil because it wasn’t Christian. It’s amazing how persistent this mistake/lie is. It’s shockingly common even after all these years. I would guess that more than 80 percent of American Christians today think that Germany was overwhelmingly atheist, pagan, or whatever during the 1930s and 1940s.

    The reality, of course, is that German society then was about 90 percent Christian–that’s a higher ratio than the United States today. Yes, before and during WWII Christianity was prominent, popular and thoroughly endorsed by the leaders of Germany. The SS wore belts that said “God is Great”, yet Christians in all their “holier than thou” mentality, seem to have overlooked this. The evidence for this is abundant and clear.

    Regardless of whatever implications should or shouldn’t stem from this, it’s reality. History is important. We need it, even with all its blanks, biases, and lies. So when something is this obvious we need to accept it and get over it. When it comes to our shared past, we need less confusion and distortion, not more.

  • JT Rager

    Free speech has nothing to do with it. Criticize A&E for treating Phil like a “dick” if you will, say you disagree with him. But don’t say they are violating free speech, because they aren’t.

  • Heinrich Myersen

    Also hypocritical of Right-Wing Christians on this site, is that people are quick to yell “FREEDOM OF SPEECH!” for Robertson, but when ABC’s Martin Bashir called Sarah Palin out for dumb comments she made, conservatives flipped until he was fired. Likewise, the same people supporting Robertson are the same people who drove the Dixie Chicks out of business for saying they were “embarrassed that G.W.B was from Texas”. People burned their albums, set fire to their image, and ran them out of the country music industry. Very hypocritical of these folks to only apply “freedom of speech” only when it fits their bigoted beliefs.

  • Kullervo

    As a number of people have pointed out, the Constitutional guarantee of free speech applies only to government action. But that doesn’t mean there’s no discussion to be had here about these issues.

    On the one hand, cultural pressures, norms and social opprobrium are powerful and essential tools for softly controlling peoples’ behavior, including their speech: just because we don’t want the government to throw people in jail for expressing an opinion doesn’t mean that we (as private citizens) are obligated to support and facilitate every possible expression of every possible opinion in every possible circumstance. For example, rudeness is a violation of social norms, and it can carry very real social consequences. Not only is there no way around that, but it’s the way we want things to be. In order for human beings to have any kind of society at all, there have to be social norms that tell people what kind of behavior is appropriate, and social mechanisms for enforcing those norms. If you say obnoxious things, people will stop being your friend. If you are constantly rude, your employer can fire you (even if “don’t be rude” is not a contractual obligation).

    But it gets tricker with situations like Phil Robertson’s for two reasons:

    1) Unlike many conventional social norms, the norms that Robertson is being sanctioned for are not universally held–there is not even a broad consensus. Plenty of Americans think and say that homosexual acts are sinful. It’s not like, say, loudly and aggressively berating a five-year-old, which the vast majority of us can agree is socially unacceptable. So the people and companies who are applying social sanctions to Robertson are not merely enforcing a broadly agreed-upon social norm that Robertson has breached; rather they are trying to create and/or expand a norm that they want to be broadly agreed-upon, and to the extent that the sanctions they apply are effective, they shift the norm that much more in the direction that they want. This is an effort to create a norm, not to enforce an existing one.

    2) The opinion that Robertson expressed and is being sanctioned for is a religious belief (and not even a fringe belief of a fringe religion, but a religious belief that is held by the majority of the adherents of the largest religion in the world). Social sanctions are being leveled against Robertson for saying out loud what everybody knows his religion teaches. That has big ramifications. The message is clear: keep your religious beliefs to yourself, or you will suffer consequences. Lots of people think that should be a social norm, but again, it is not a broadly agreed-upon one. To the extent that the sanctions are effective, that norm becomes more powerful. So there’s a reason to be troubled by this, even if it’s not a Constitutional law reason.

    And that’s my larger point: just because nobody is violating the Constitution doesn’t mean what they are doing is okay and that we have to accept they are doing. There is lots more at stake than just Constitutional law.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    A&E doesn’t grant free speech, the Constitution does. A&E doesn’t have the ability to deny free speech and certainly hasn’t done so with their recent action.

    Given the consequences for Paula Deen and other celebrities who’ve misspoken lately, Phil seems to have been treated like the rest. I’m missing the problem.

    • Kullervo

      The fact that it isn’t a Constitutional law problem doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. Where do people get the idea legality and morality are the same thing?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        I’m missing your point. Say in my bar, spitting on the floor is prohibited, but you allow it in your bar. Do my patrons have any beef?

        Perhaps so, but it’s not a legal or constitutional one.

        Phil can speak his mind, and he did. A&E can like it or not, and it doesn’t. Where’s the problem?

  • Esther O’Reilly

    Nice summing up.


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