Honestly, I had never even heard of Duck Dynasty until last week when someone gave a DVD of the show as a White Elephant gift where I work. Then, the very next day, all hell breaks loose because the redneck star of the show, Phil Robertson, who is vocally pro-God and pro-guns, said in an interview with GQ that he thinks same-sex couples are sinful and might lead to beastiality (he made the implication there without stating directly what he meant: "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there").
Was anyone, other the execs at A&E, surprised he felt this way?
The man is living in a very traditional, nearly pre-modern world, so of course he holds traditionally conservative positions in line with his fundamentalist faith. Robertson is pro-God and pro-guns, as well as harboring a dislike for modern technology (he proudly admits that he does not own a cellphone or a computer).
The people at Duck Dynasty and A&E surely knew his beliefs when they created the show four seasons ago, before it became the most watched non-fiction television show in cable history. Still, on December 18, 2013, A&E announced that it was suspending Phil Robertson from the show indefinitely due to comments he made in the GQ interview.
What happened to freedom of speech?
There is actually an opportunity here to have a real national conversation on values and beliefs, but A&E has crushed it by censoring their star and distancing themselves from him and his beliefs.
Why couldn't A&E just make the usual disclaimers, "the views and opinions of Phil Robertson do not reflect the views and opinions of A&E or its staff." Done. THEN we could have a discussion on why people who live in the south tend to be so much more socially conservative than the coastal states. Or we could be discussing the Political Correctness Police who seem intolerant of those who are not liberal progressives.
As stated in The Atlantic:
Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance, and acceptance is not the same thing as an endorsement. The message A&E’s decision sends is that there is zero tolerance on television for Christians who are conscientious objectors to homosexuality. More than that, it implicitly suggests that the campaign for tolerance has advanced to a campaign to pressure 45 percent of Americans to recant their beliefs and endorse a lifestyle to which they are opposed, conscience be damned.
We stand at a crossroads. The country must decide. Is the endgame here to be that orthodox Christians will henceforth have no voice within their own culture? If so, does this mean we have become a nation of bullies, forcing conformity while calling it tolerance?I agree with these sentiments. While I think Robertson's beliefs are archaic and promote inequality, I fully defend his right to believe and say what he feels in his heart.
When we begin trying to force everyone to believe the same things, we are entering into a kind tyranny.