The latest celebrity to fall victim to the heavy hand of political correctness is “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Phil Robertson. Robertson has been indefinitely suspended by the A&E Network for openly questioning the LGBT lifestyle. It turns out this was an expeditious strategy on A&E’s part to have their cake and eat it too since nine of the ten episodes for next season have already been taped anyway. A&E no doubt believes the situation will blow over before Robertson’s services are needed again.
Robertson’s objections to the LGBT agenda were made on the basis of his Christian beliefs. He even quoted Scripture during the interview in which he made his “offensive” remarks. Right now there are LGBT advocates celebrating another victory, but a word of caution is in order here. Be careful of what you celebrate and the tactics you use to win your “victories.” One of the oldest maxims on record is this: What goes around comes around. In other words, take away the free speech rights of your opponents and you may eventually lose your own free speech rights. The First Amendment is a two-way street.
Direct frontal assaults on those who speak out against the LGBT agenda are nothing new. In fact, they are becoming disturbingly common. Before the Robertson brouhaha there was the firing of sports commentator, Craig James. Like Robertson, James questioned the LGBT lifestyle on the basis of his Biblical beliefs. The Robertson and James cases are making the news because they are both well-known celebrities, but the nationwide effort to silence LGBT dissenters is not limited to a few visible celebrities. Every day in America, thousands of dissenting voices are silenced by fear, fear of the bullying tactics of the LGBT community and its supporters in the media and entertainment industry.
Every time a big name celebrity is knocked off his perch for challenging the LGBT agenda, Americans who lack the ways and means of television celebrities respond predictably: They think “If the LGBT community can do that to a big celebrity, what will it do to me if I stand up for what I believe.” I suspect this reaction is precisely the point and that it represents the reaction the LGBT community seeks. If this is the case, LGBT advocates have won a major short-term victory. To challenge the LGBT agenda in contemporary America is to put yourself at risk for some pretty rough treatment. It is this tactic—the suppression of free speech, even if de facto—and not the LGBT agenda that is the subject of this column.
Although I oppose it openly and often, it is not my purpose in this column to challenge the LGBT agenda. Like Phil Robertson and Craig James, my views on the LGBT lifestyle are informed by Holy Scripture and those views will not change. On the other hand, I have had zero success in winning LGBT advocates over to my point of view. Every LGBT advocate I have talked with is as wedded to his or her views as I am. As an aside, all of those discussions took place without name calling or rancor, so I know that dialogue is possible between LGBT advocates and those who oppose that lifestyle. People do not have to agree to treat each other with respect.
Being that our views are cast in stone so to speak, the LGBT community and I will just have to agree to disagree, but how we handle this intractable disagreement is important. In a civilized, democratic society it is important to be able to disagree without resorting to such nefarious tactics as pressure, coercion, or threats. Our ability to do this says a lot about our humanity and our intellectual maturity. Right now disagreements between LGBT proponents and opponents are being badly mishandled. When either side in a socio-cultural debate seeks to suppress the free speech of the other side, it has embarked on a one-way street to disaster. I believe some LGBT advocates are now traveling down this street.
When there are deeply held convictions that divide Americans—convictions that go to the very heart of who we are—the ability to discuss and debate our differences as responsible, caring, intelligent people is essential. The minute one side adopts a strategy that seeks to silence the other side one of the most hallowed human rights guaranteed in the Constitution is summarily cast aside as irrelevant. While I am sure that in the emotion of the moment, there are LGBT advocates who are reveling in what they see as a triumph in the case of the Duck Dynasty patriarch, a word of caution is in order: Be careful of tactics that bring short-term victories but in the long run may come back to haunt you. More specifically be careful of taking away from anyone else—whether overtly or by your silence—the very right that has been the foundation of your victories to date.
I am old enough to remember when it was the LGBT community whose ox was in the ditch when it came to open public debate. This is why I find it so ironic and disturbing that LGBT advocates would use the same tactics against their opponents that were widely used against them prior to the 1960s, and in isolated cases right up to the present. In my youth, LGBT advocates spoke out only at the risk of public enmity. Yes, they had their First Amendment right of free speech, but it did not protect them from public derision, threats, and even worse. This, of course, led to the de facto suppression of their free speech. Although I have always opposed the LGBT agenda on Biblical grounds, I found the coercive tactics used by its opponents during my younger days more than a little disturbing. To see similar tactics used, one need only study the workings of the former Soviet Union where dissenting opinions were immediately and often brutally suppressed. Now we see the LGBT community either participating in suppressive tactics or at the very least standing silently by while others use those tactics.
The more astute LGBT advocates will say that Phil Robertson is welcome to his views and free to express them, but he must be prepared to accept the consequences. This argument sounds rational and reasonable, except for one thing. The same principle does not apply to the LGBT community. Every time the television is turned on, there are programs airing smut and actors making statements that Christians find offensive. The twerking by Miley Cyrus is just one example. There are many others. When networks react to these anti-Christian scenarios in the same ways that they have responded to the Phil Robertson and Craig James situations, we can have an adult conversation about the “consequences” rationale.
The Robertson situation is a sad state of affairs in a nation built—perhaps imperfectly but built nonetheless—on protecting the free-speech rights of dissenters. In America even the de facto suppression of free speech is unacceptable. Without it Dr. Martin Luther King would never have been able to lead a successful civil rights movement. The LGBT community and its supporters in the media and entertainment industry need to ponder this irrefutable truth: You cannot suppress the free speech of anyone without threatening the free speech of everyone. To support the suspension of Phil Robertson or even to remain silent about it is playing with fire. If you would like to show your support for Phil Roberston fill out our pop-up petition at www.PatriotUpdate.com.