Friday, December 20, 2013

My Take On Duck Dynasty, Freedom of Speech, And Religious Persecution

If you've been paying half an ounce of attention, you know that Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson (No relation to the also severely homophobic Pat Robertson) has been suspended from the amazingly popular realty show for making some offensive comments about homosexuality in America.  You probably have some high school classmate or distant relative going on an absolute crazy rant about the cancelling of the First Amendment or the blatant persecution of Christians.

To you 'Muricans out there with your panties all in a wad over this whole Phil Robertson absurdity (and it is absolute folly considering all of the bigger issues out there that should be commanding our attention.  But that's a subject for another blog.), I call bullshit.  This is not some liberal, atheist, left-wing attack on your religion or your freedom of speech.

First of all, I'm not sure how well you understand how the First Amendment of the Constitution actually works.  Phil Robertson wasn't fined...or incarcerated...nor did he suffer bodily harm at the hands of any governing body.  Therefore his freedom of speech is still intact.  The First Amendment protects your right to say almost anything (there are a few exceptions here).  It does not protect you from the social fall-out of what you say.  It doesn't protect you from embarrassment or criticism or ridicule or societal repercussions.  The really cool thing about all of the rights afforded the citizens of the United States by the Constitution is that they all come with large amounts of personal responsibility.  Sure you can say pretty much whatever the heck you want, but you must take personal responsibility for the consequences of your expressions.

Phil can own his statements, but just like he had a right to say them, people who disagree with him have a right to publicly and loudly disagree with him.  Freedom of Speech isn't some magical shield that that protects you from everyone else's constitutional right to disagree with you.

And if you think A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson form Duck Dynasty is a form of religious persecution, you might be stupid. (In fact, you most definitely are, but I'm trying not to alienate too many people.)  While Phil's statements about homosexuality may have come from his deep-seated Christian beliefs, A&E's decision to drop him have little to do with Phil's religion, nor do the anti-Phil statements flying around Facebook and other social media.

No, devout Christians of the United States, you are not being persecuted.  Religious persecution does not involve celebrities who make offensive statements being (temporarily) removed from their reality TV shows.  It is not persecution when retailers wish you a "Happy Holiday" instead of a "Merry Christmas".  Persecution is being beheaded because of your religion.  It's having your family killed in front of you.  It's having your property destroyed.  It's being jailed or publicly flogged because of your religion.

There is a huge difference in being persecuted for your faith and being "persecuted" because you are acting like a jerk.

But here's the real deal....  The executives at A&E offices are most likely laughing all the way to the bank. You are being played, Duck Dynasty fans, played like a piano...or a harp...or more appropriately, a banjo.  Your strings are being pulled, and you are dancing just the way the media puppet masters want you to dance.  This whole Phil Robertson drama is likely just an exceptionally brilliant publicity stunt for A&E to promote Duck Dynasty.

Because everyone is talking about it...I mean everyone.  People who had never even heard of Duck Dynasty or Phil Robertson are yammering away, both in support and in condemnation.  As if this show wasn't already insanely popular, Phil's controversial statements shot him straight into the glaring public spotlight.  And his rapidly growing mass of fans are rallying to his side in highly vocal numbers.  He has reached martyr status, and he isn't even dead!

How can I be sure that this is all a ploy by A&E and the Robertson family?  How about the fact that Phil Robertson wasn't canned from the show.  His contract wasn't terminated.  He was simply "suspended".  Suspension isn't a permanent thing last time I checked.  If A&E was really appalled by Phil's anti-homosexual statements, he would have been permanently removed from the show...and maybe the show would have been cancelled entirely.

Which leads me to clue #2:  The show will be going on without him.  Duck Dynasty is a show dripping with traditional family values (Seriously not a bad thing in this day and age).  How could Phil's family honestly consider continuing to film a show that has ousted a family member?  (Unless $200,000 an episode is thicker than blood.)

And Clue #3?  Well, should any of this really have surprised anyone?  Especially the network?  The producers of Duck Dynasty have drudged through hundreds of hours of footage of a man who constantly rants about how this country is on a highway to hell in a handbasket.  How could no one have seen something like this coming?  They couldn't.  So, my gut says the whole thing was orchestrated, at least to some degree.

So go ahead, consumer puppets drunk on media brainwashing.  Rush out to the nearest Walmart and stock up on your Duck Dynasty pajamas and ball caps and bobble heads as a show of solidarity with Brother Phil.....But only if it makes you "Happy, Happy, Happy."


IronGuardianStudios said...

Maybe you should wipe the liberal dust from your eyes and see the clear picture. Phil Robertson was punished for his personal beliefs because the truth in the bible offended sinners represented by a group of sinners that cried foul. This isn't the first time Christian beliefs have been ridiculed by the left. Phil Robertson didn't speak of hate. He spoke of Love. Hate the sin, not the sinner.

Keith Webb said...

Um... no. Phil Robertson was punished because his words reflect badly, in A&E's opinion, on the network for which he works. This isn't an attack on Christian beliefs; it's a punitive response to an employee that said things that might alienate a fair percentage of A&E's viewers.

Anonymous said...

You should stick to homeschooling and stop talking about subjects that you obviously know too little of to even have a comment for, let alone an entire page of bull. =)

Alice Jones Webb said...

Until you give me something concrete from the article that is "bull", I have no way of discussing it with you. I'm open to debating specifics... ;)