The TV network A&E’s best ratings come from the reality show Duck Dynasty, which follows the Robertson family and their duck hunting business in Louisiana. They are a devout Christian family, and the patriarch, Phil Robertson, has, in the past, taken exception to A&E’s editing out the name of Jesus in the family’s prayers and putting in fake censoring beeps to suggest that they use profanity.
Recently, Phil gave an interview in GQ magazine citing a bible verse that condemns homosexual behavior, and stating his views that homosexual behavior is a sin. For his views, which are what most Christian religions hold to be true, he was put on indefinite suspension by A&E, or in other words, fired.
Many people are claiming this is a violation of free speech, but let’s be clear. A&E is not a government organization, and they are free to determine the tone of their own channel. If they want to have a religiously-neutral pro-homosexuality channel, they can.
To me, the real issue is the tolerant gay and lesbian community’s intolerant response to the remarks. Phil’s actual words, while blunt, were critical of a behavior, and not of a group of people, and yet Wilson Cruz, the GLAAD spokesman, called for all of the Robertson’s sponsors to “reexamine their ties” to Robertson because of his “public disdain” for their lifestyle . In other words, people who want to be treated with tolerance and respect because of their views want this man to lose his livelihood because they disagree with each other.
How is this tolerance? How can anyone expect to have a diverse and tolerant society when people are going to be fired for simply stating their opinion? A tolerant response is to give a reasoned and thoughtful rebuttal, not to call the other guy a liar and try to ruin him financially. To get tolerance, you should first give it.