Thursday, December 19, 2013

Duck Dynasty: Not So Ducky As Patriarch Canned


This is not the article I had intended to write. Far from it. I am not a fan of so-called "reality" TV. I have enough "reality" in my own life already thank you very much. However, were I to watch this type of programming, I somehow don't see myself watching a show like "Duck Dynasty", and yet here I am writing about it, or rather, writing about one its cast members, the head of the family clan, Phil Robertson. And the reason I'm doing that is what just happened to Mr. Robertson. It seems that the show's producers, A&E, recently fired ("indefinite hiatus" was the official language) because Mr. Robertson made a few comments that the folks in the corner offices over at A&E Network didn't like regarding gays, which he equated with immoral behavior. The comments were made in a personal interview with GQ's Drew Magery (you can read the full interview I provided below).

The 67 year old and former self-admitted Louisiana hellion and family patriarch, Phil Robertson expressed a personal opinion that he didn't like or condone homosexual behavior, not because of some unaddressed bigotry or hatred, but because it conflicted with his upbringing and his personal faith (he considers himself a born again "bible thumper"). Mr. Robertson stated that he thought homosexual behavior was a "sin" and violated the laws of God. He also stated that he thought blacks were better off before the Civil Rights Movement and the advent of the government welfare state. But it was for his remarks about gays which got him canned by A&E.

Folks, I'm as straight an arrow, but I take no issue with anyone regarding their religious beliefs (provided they're not try to forcefully convert or make me comply in some way with their faith or kill me), or to their sexuality. To use a perhaps inappropriate cliché, I have and have had many friends who are gay or bisexual. While it's not my cup of tea, it doesn't change who they are as my friends or as people in general, and who they chose to love or how they chose to love is, frankly, none of my damn business. However, Mr. Robertson has every right to express his opinion without fear of retribution (like losing his job) or censure. He was on his own time and clearly speaking for himself.

To quote that famous line from the movie "Cool Hand Luke", "what we have here is a failure to communicate", and I might add, a failure to simply accept what someone says at face value and leave it alone. I don't agree with what everyone says, and I'm sure many don't agree with everything I say (although I can't imagine why), the fact is that in our society, everyone has the right to their opinion---and their own beliefs---and the right to express them so long as none are threatened or harmed. And we, as fellow citizens have the duty to defend those rights regardless of where we agree with them or not. For when one of us lose that right, be it popular or not, we all will so lose that same right.

Here's the link to the full interview:

What the Duck?
http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson?currentPage=1
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