The big news from this morning was the GQ interview with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. In part of a very lengthy interview, Robertson uses rather straightforward language to describe his preferences as a heterosexual male. Part of this description includes reasons he is not a homosexual male. (Think body parts.)
Frankly I find concern about that particular section to be absurd. What do people think gay men do, hold hands, give shoulder massages and kiss each other on the cheek? Salty, perhaps, but erroneous, no.
The truly problematic part for Robertson in today's culture is that he called homosexuality sinful. Such talk has become the unpardonable sin in the religion of tolerance. Here is a quote from Phil:
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers-they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right.
This led to the second huge Robertson news story of the day: his suspension by cable TV network A&E from Duck Dynasty tapings. Said the network:
We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.
I think A&E is protesting all the way to the bank. Suspend the star but not cancel the show?
How ironic a network that makes millions under the First Amendment guarantees, does not defend it for one of its biggest stars.
Said Wilson Cruz of GLAAD in response to Robertson's interview:
Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.
Whether Robertson's words are "vile and extreme" are up for debate. But, his right to say them? Is that not protected?
The once upon a time guide to TV programming, now apparently a culture shaper, TV Guide could not so much as hide its disdain even in the title of its report: Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson Spews Anti-Gay Comments in GQ Profile.
My question is where are the members of the LGBT community who still believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution? Does free speech only count during Pride weeks and Pride parades? Does the right to speak one's mind only apply to defense of privacy and not to the opposition?
There is a First Amendment. It guarantees freedom of speech. There is a protected right to speak one's mind, even when it goes against the prevailing thinking. Even when it goes against "tolerance."
Does the LGBT community believe in the First Amendment for all Americans, or only those who believe like them? There have been many people who have fought and died in defense of the Constitution, in defense of the right of the LGBT community to do exactly what Phil Robertson and many others call "sin." Many of these who fought and died believed exactly like Robertson. They died to protect the freedoms people with whom they agreed and disagreed.
Time will tell whether gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons fully support the First Amendment or merely pay it lip service. But for now, if you are out there, your voices are not being heard.