Phil Robertson and Freedom of Religion


Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame was suspended for voicing some of his religious beliefs.  These are not new beliefs as he voiced similar beliefs back on 2010.  Of course, back then homosexual marriage had not been allowed in 18 states as it seems to be now (a judge in Utah just approved it and homosexual are now starting to marry in Utah).

Here are some reports about concerns that some have about the Phil Robertson matter (bolding mine):

December 21, 2013Bristol Palin, one-time Dancing With the Stars competitor and daughter of former Gov. Sarah Palin, is now joining those backing Phil Robertson’s right to speak out against homosexuality.

The patriarch of the Duck Dynasty TV show was put on “indefinite hiatus” by the A&E cable channel after he compared homosexuality with bestiality in an interview with GQ magazine.

“Everyone needs to leave Phil Robertson alone for expressing his beliefs,” wrote Bristol Palin in a blog post. I think it’s so hypocritical how the LGBT community expects every single flippen person to agree with their life style.   This flies in the face of what makes America great – people can have their own beliefs and own opinions and their own ways of life.

Everyone needs to treat others like God would, with love. ”

On Friday, GOP congressional candidate Ian Bayne went all in, comparing Robertson to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

“In December 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people, and in December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians,” Bayne said in an email to supporters.

“What Parks did was courageous,” he added. “What Mr. Robertson did was courageous too.”

Robertson’s anti-gay remarks in an interview with GQ comparing homosexuality to bestiality have received quite a bit of attention.

“Duck Dynasty” is an American reality television series revolving around the lives of the Robertson family of West Monroe, Louisiana, headed by Phil Robertson, 67, whose claim to fame–and fortune—are the duck calls he manufactures, tools hunters use to lure ducks within firing range.

In a recent interview for a magazine, Robertson called homosexuality a sin and compared gays to terrorists.  He also made some disparaging remarks about blacks in the South before Civil Rights, implying that life was just fine for African Americans under segregation.

As a result, the TV network that airs the show suspended Phil indefinitely.

“His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely,” A&E statement to Variety Magazine.

His family admits his remarks were “coarse,” but are based on his evangelical Christian values, and they say they won’t continue the show without him.

The Human Rights Campaign and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sent a joint letter to the president of A&E, saying, “These remarks go beyond being outlandishly inaccurate and offensive. They are dangerous and revisionist, appealing to those in our society who wish to repeat patterns of discrimination,” and calling for apologies from Robertson.

But some prominent political figures have jumped to his defense, arguing for his right to free speech—among them, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican and possible candidate for 2016 presidential elections.

“In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him–but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree,” he wrote on his  Facebook page.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, another possible 2016 White House candidate, said, “Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.”

And even comedian Jon Stewart, known for testing the limits on the other side of the political spectrum, defends Robertson’s right to say something “ignorant” and not get kicked off television for it.

I’m going to hold back my own opinion, but I will offer a few facts and questions to consider:

  • Free speech is guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution’s First Amendment.  It also means that television networks are free to air what they choose.  And frequently, they choose reality television, which is cheap to produce and gets big ratings.
  • For decades now, TV watchers have peeked into the lives of the rich and poor: Fashion designers, beauty queens, brides-to-be, polygamists and prison guards. Nowadays, we see a lot of “rednecks,” a derisive term Robertson uses himself to describe folks who often don’t have a lot of education (although Robertson was a college football player) and earn a living with their hands. For the sake of TV ratings, the trend seems to be the weirder the better: Bounty hunters, hog trackers, exterminators and alligator wrestlers are all testing not only the limits of “free speech” but good taste as well.
  • Audiences are eating it up.  Duck Dynasty’s recent Christmas show earned 9 million viewers. So why are we stunned that the patriarch of a family well-paid to make outrageous, offensive,  disparaging remarks insulted minority groups?

So what do you think?  Should Robertson be punished for speaking his mind?

No, Phil Robertson should not be punished for quoting the Bible about sins such as homosexuality.  The ‘founding fathers’ of the USA were concerned about governmental restrictions or other interference with religion and speech, and hence introduced and approved a set of amendments called the ‘Bill of Rights.’ Here is what the first amendment to the Constitution of the USA states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Notice that because it also discusses religion in the same amendment that obviously speech that involves religious beliefs is supposed to be a basic right. Yet many in the government and media do not want true freedom of speech or religion.  Some have realized that this is what the suspension of Phil Robertson is all about.

I saw one commentator basically state that, in his view, freedom of religion meant that you can think what you want, but not state it if people like him disapprove.

That being said, private companies such as A&E can suspend whoever they want for almost any reason that they want. But since it does not look like Phil Robertson was suspended for the race-related comments or poor job performance, but instead because he stated religious beliefs that seem consistent with the Bible, the suspension is of course morally wrong and in basic violation of scriptures such as Romans 1:18-32.

The following comment from a CNN report shows that Phil Robertson still has a lot of support as not all Americans approve of the homosexual agenda:

Since its Wednesday decision to “indefinitely” suspend Phil Robertson, one of the stars of its highly rated reality series, A&E has yet to publicly clarify what the future of the show might be, what they’ll do with their block of reruns, or even what it really means to be “indefinitely” suspended.

The network’s lack of communication has done nothing to stem the tide of detractors who strongly disagree with its decision to put Robertson on the bench over remarks quoted in GQ magazine, in which he called homosexuality a sin, citing the Bible. A petition demanding that Robertson be reinstated and the network issue an apology was steadily climbing toward 100,000 signatures Friday.

A separate petition at a website called makes a similar appeal. Hosted by the online community Faith Driven Consumers, the website helps its members spend their money with companies that fall in line with their spiritual beliefs. The petition on had surpassed 130,000 signatures by Friday evening.

Those who’ve signed the petition are asking for their “views (to) be treated with equality and respect in America’s rich rainbow of diversity,” and for the “network to immediately reinstate Mr. Robertson to ‘Duck Dynasty,’ and to formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.”

“While the LGBT community may be offended by his opposing viewpoint,” that webstite continues, “your rash, discriminatory, and unfair treatment toward Mr. Robertson — a recognized symbol of the faith community — is a slap in the face to Faith Driven Consumers and everyday Americans alike.”

Phil Robertson may end up ‘benefiting from all of this, but it also shows that it is getting more difficult to state religious beliefs in the USA.

The Bible warns of time that standing for moral principles will be difficult. Notice:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21)

The time is sadly here now when many call good evil and evil good.

The Bible teaches that a famine of the word is coming (Amos 8:11-12; cf. Romans 10:14-15). The time will come when the government will stifle the message of the Continuing Church of God, probably in the name of “tolerance” and/or calling parts of the message “hate speech” (they may also cite national security and other such concerns)–and perhaps they will simply have internet service providers and/or internet hosting companies do it on its behalf. What happened to Phil Robertson is not even really a foretaste about how bad it will get. But it does show how bad things are heading in the USA.

For now Phil Robertson has many supporters. Yet, more and more direct and indirect pressures to not speak out on moral issues is coming.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change?
God Created Marriage Some falsely claim that God did not create marriage and that fornication is fine. What does the Bible really teach?
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There is also a YouTube video on this, titled Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
Why Marriage? Soon Obsolete? This is a booklet from Herbert Armstrong on this important topic.
Here’s the Plain Truth About OLD TESTAMENT POLYGAMY by Herbert Armstrong. He explains various passages in the Old Testament and New about why polygamy is not God’s way.
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. A video of possible interest may be Will Will USA Spying Help the Beast Power?
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.

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