“Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks”

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They said the gay rights movement wouldn’t harm those who didn’t go along with it.

A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in a recent profile in GQ.

[From ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks]

Related: “So It Begins: On Phil Robertson’s Suspension From Duck Dynasty

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37 Responses to “ “Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks” ”

  1. If you want businesses to have free-association rights not to contract with homosexuals, why would you object to a business exercising free-association rights not to contract with someone for a similar reason?

  2. You’ve made a false equivalence.

    It’s one thing to contract with homosexuals. I have no opposition to that at all, in general. It’s another thing to be forced to join in celebrating gay “marriage.” The difference is this: the former is a way of being humans with fellow humanscelebrating beliefs and behaviors that run contrary to one’s convictions and conscience.

  3. If Phil Robertson’s words run contrary to A&E’s convictions and conscience, why should they continue to do business with him? (Should they be compelled to do business with him?)

  4. So… what did A&E do that was wrong? Why is this a bad thing?

    Oh… and BTW, can you quote someone who said “the gay rights movement wouldn’t harm those who didn’t go along with it”? I can recall people saying that it wouldn’t infringe on the rights of those who didn’t go along with it, but that’s not the same thing.

    I mean, Phil Robertson doesn’t have the right to employment with A&E. Right?

  5. A&E didn’t do anything legally wrong as far as I can tell. I’ve come to expect businesses like A&E to only care about their reputation, their ratings and their bottom line rather than care about people like Phil and letting one man’s opinion stand as one man’s opinion.

    So the bad thing, Ray, is that A&E decided to care more about A&E rather than care about Phil. A&E is behaving like the priest in the parable of the good Samaritan – better to cross to the other side of the road rather than be a good neighbor.

  6. What would being a good neighbor look like for A&E?

    Explain to GLAAD and others that you don’t agree with what Phil said but that you value him nonetheless and would like to keep him on the show. They take that same approach with other employees, right?

    Who could possibly get upset with that response, and if they did get upset – so what?

  7. Ray, I didn’t say this was a rights issue. I said it was an issue of harm. But if you don’t know anyone who has said, “the gay rights movement wouldn’t harm those who didn’t go along with it,” that’s not my problem to go searching around the web to solve, like a dog on a leash being told to go find the rabbit. You could find it yourself easily enough just by looking.

  8. SteveK –

    Explain to GLAAD and others that you don’t agree with what Phil said but that you value him nonetheless and would like to keep him on the show.

    If it’s a matter of “A&E’s convictions and conscience”, maybe they wouldn’t “like to keep him on the show”. From the linked article, it doesn’t sound like they do…

    They take that same approach with other employees, right?

    Like who?

    Who could possibly get upset with that response, and if they did get upset – so what?

    Who indeed? (BTW, here’s the picture that used to be on that page.)

    Again, if bakers and florists have the right not to do business with people undertaking or commemorating a same-sex marriage, then A&E has similar rights not to do business with those who “run contrary to” A&E’s “convictions and conscience”. How could it be otherwise?

    Tom Gilson –

    Ray, I didn’t say this was a rights issue. I said it was an issue of harm.

    I’m sure Phil Robertson will notice a dip in his available funds, sure. I think it unlikely that he’ll starve, though. In any case, that is different from “being faced with fines and jail time for [his] beliefs.”

    Being unpopular is unpleasant, I agree. People might even refuse to associate with you.

    You could find it yourself easily enough just by looking.

    Well, not with that phrasing, I’m afraid.

  9. Ray,
    What Tom said in #13 is the difference maker.

    Putting someone on leave isn’t the same thing as deciding not to work with them. Anyway, I have no problem with A&E deciding to not work with Phil. The problem I have is in how that decision is carried out in public. The battle has just intensified (quoting Tom), and it didn’t need to happen.

  10. SteveK –

    The problem I have is in how that decision is carried out in public.

    If they disagreed enough to put him on hiatus, it should have been a quiet hiatus, and they should have just circumspectly edited him out of future episodes? It’s a show that is… presented to the public. How exactly should it be handled “privately”?

  11. If it’s simply about why I’ve designated this circumstance to be the place “where it begins,” that’s easy. See the second paragraph after the video here.

    If you were asking something else, then I’ll need you to re-ask it so I can understand what you were after.

  12. See, here’s my confusion. You see this as the latest example of a Christian being punished for their beliefs, right?

    But the other example you bring out is the baker. (Who, BTW, didn’t face jail but “administrative remedies” – read the decision for yourself. It’s unusually straightforward for a legal document.) Who did not want to do business with someone for the message it would send.

    What I don’t grasp is why you’re not taking this Robertson situation and running with it. Why are you not saying, “If A&E has the right to censure Robertson, refusing to do business with him – why does not Masterpiece Cakeshop have the right to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding?”

    If – as you allege – Masterpiece Cakeshop should be able to refuse doing business it finds against its conscience, why would you turn around and begrudge A&E the same freedom?

  13. Ray,

    How exactly should it be handled “privately”?

    I would have preferred that A&E not stoke the fire, but they chose to do it anyway. A&E isn’t required to explain everything to the media. There is no “right to know” why an employee was put on leave or why they were terminated.

    If your company’s CEO was fired because he had a drug problem or because he had an affair or because he was racist, would they be required to put those details in the press release? No. The reason companies don’t do that is because they respect the person, their family and their friends.

  14. First, Ray, the problem was absolutely not that they “did not want to do business with someone for the message it would send.” They were doing business with them; they just didn’t want to celebrate a gay “wedding.”

    Second, the baker’s situation was one of being forced by the government to participate in, support, and help with the celebration of something to which he was religiously opposed. Their religious freedoms were abrogated in that.

    Third, A&E could make any decision they wanted without abrogating their own religious freedom. I do not begrudge them their freedom to do so. The premise of your question there is a false one, and once again you’ve read things into my writings that I have not placed there. (Would you please try to stop doing that?)

    However,

    Fourth, I think A&E made the wrong decision for the wrong reasons. And I’m saying so.

  15. @Ray Ingles:

    But the other example you bring out is the baker. (Who, BTW, didn’t face jail but “administrative remedies” – read the decision for yourself. It’s unusually straightforward for a legal document.) Who did not want to do business with someone for the message it would send.

    Somehow, I just knew someone would pull this crap.

    Look, the situations are not comparable. For one, in the OP, there is a contract that is terminated; in the situation you mention, a business is being forced to the equivalent of drafting a contract for a service whose performance violates their consciousness — and I stress this; it is *not* the fact that the consumers are a homossexual couple that is the base of the objection, but rather the specific service that is being contracted. If you do not see the differences, the problem is solely yours.

  16. it is *not* the fact that the consumers are a homossexual couple that is the base of the objection, but rather the specific service that is being contracted.

    Agreed. I wonder…if the customer purchasing the cake was heterosexual, yet the business owners were being asked to do the same thing (make a cake for a same sex ‘wedding’), could the same legal judgement be made?

    I’m no lawyer but I don’t see how a judge can order a company to make a product they don’t choose to make. Very heavy handed. Imagine a judge ordering a gun company to start making guns for the military even though they didn’t want to make that product.

  17. Tom Gilson –

    First, Ray, the problem was absolutely not that they “did not want to do business with someone for the message it would send.” They were doing business with them; they just didn’t want to celebrate a gay “wedding.”

    Not wanting to do a particular type of business with someone is, well, still not wanting to do business with them. And it was very explicitly for “the message it would send” – to wit, expressing support or at least acceptance of same-sex weddings. In short, I don’t see the relevance of the distinction you’re drawing here.

    Second, the baker’s situation was one of being forced by the government to participate in, support, and help with the celebration of something to which he was religiously opposed. Their religious freedoms were abrogated in that.

    That may be, though as I noted the legal opinion makes a fairly straightforward case for why the balance of rights was struck the way it was. Frankly, I think “public accommodation” laws can be abused, and I’m on the fence about that particular case.

    Third, A&E could make any decision they wanted without abrogating their own religious freedom. I do not begrudge them their freedom to do so.

    Then I don’t understand why you’re not phrasing this more along the lines of Voltaire: ‘I don’t agree with who you’ve chosen to snub, but I will defend your right to snub them. Because if I want the right to snub people, I have to grant that right to others.’

    It’s not that “The battle has just intensified”, it’s an opportunity to show people what you mean. You can say, ‘if you agree with A&E suspending Robertson because they don’t want to endorse his message, then how can you begrudge us the right to refuse to contribute to the celebration of same-sex marriages’?

    Fourth, I think A&E made the wrong decision for the wrong reasons. And I’m saying so.

    Can you link to where you say that explicitly? It’s not clear to me what the actual objection is. Were the remarks not anti-gay, or should anti-gay remarks be celebrated, or what?

  18. G. Rodrigues –

    it is *not* the fact that the consumers are a homossexual couple that is the base of the objection, but rather the specific service that is being contracted. If you do not see the differences, the problem is solely yours.

    But there isn’t an exemption for specific services. That was specifically brought up in the case and addressed. Guess I’ll have to actually quote from the ruling:
    If Respondents’ argument was correct, it would allow a business that served all races to nonetheless refuse to serve an interracial couple because of the business owner’s bias against interracial marriage. That argument, however, was rejected 30 years ago in Bob Jones Univ. v. U.S., 461 U.S. 574 (1983). In Bob Jones, the Supreme Court held that the IRS properly revoked the university’s tax – exempt status because the university denied admission to interracial couples even though it otherwise admitted all races. According to the Court, its prior decisions “firmly establish that discrimination on the basis of racial affiliation and association is a form of racial discrimination.”

  19. Ray,
    I skimmed the ruling, mostly read the pages citing all the facts of the case.

    RE #26
    Not the same comparison. The university wasn’t being asked to make a *new product* for blacks, they were being asked to serve them existing products.

    The bakery is being asked to make a new product, one they don’t want to make. Birthday cakes are not wedding cakes are not muffins – even though they all come from the same basic ingredients and are made in an oven. The government is forcing a company to make a product they don’t want to make.

    What’s next, Ray, making this company bake the worlds largest and tallest stack of pancakes just because someone comes in and wants them to do that? Cakes, pancakes…it’s all the same.

  20. Ray,

    Then I don’t understand why you’re not phrasing this more along the lines of Voltaire: ‘I don’t agree with who you’ve chosen to snub, but I will defend your right to snub them. Because if I want the right to snub people, I have to grant that right to others.’

    I’m not phrasing it that way because A&E’s right to snub is not in jeopardy and doesn’t need defending.

    The case I’m making is on the other thread, not this one. It is that Christian speech is being suppressed. As it is. That’s the wrong move that A&E is making.

    You can say, ‘if you agree with A&E suspending Robertson because they don’t want to endorse his message, then how can you begrudge us the right to refuse to contribute to the celebration of same-sex marriages’?

    A lot of people are saying that. I haven’t chosen to say it. I don’t have time to link to them right now, but you could find it if you looked.

  21. You say,

    But there isn’t an exemption for specific services. That was specifically brought up in the case and addressed. Guess I’ll have to actually quote from the ruling:

    Has it even begun to occur to you, Ray, that we disagree with that ruling??????????

  22. From the ruling: “Respondents refused to bake any cake for
    Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like.”

    Here the business owners are out of line, I think. If they wanted a generic cake, and had sold them to other customers then they would have to sell them a cake here. But maybe not…I know people can be refused service under certain circumstances. If a guy wanted to buy a gun to shoot his neighbor I’m sure you could refuse to sell him a gun.

    What if a lady told you she wanted a generic cake so she could celebrate the murder of her husband? Would you have the right to refuse service based on what the cake was being used for?

  23. Or the same gay couple who wanted to buy a generic cake from this same business to throw in the face of Obama when he came to town.

    The judges would have a tough time deciding that one. 🙂

  24. True that — except that assault & battery is clearly illegal, and assaulting the President even more so. It might be worth your finding another analogy instead of that one…

  25. Tom Gilson –

    Has it even begun to occur to you, Ray, that we disagree with that ruling??????????

    Of course! But I assume there’s a bit more principled argument involved than “me no likey!” And, of course, there are legal realities and precedents to take into account.

    So, is it that the ruling is incorrect based on the laws (including case law) that exist? Or is it that the decision accurately reflects current law, but that laws themselves need to be changed? Those are two distinct positions that immediately lead to different arguments and strategies.

  26. Ray, I’m not a lawyer. I’m operating on the level of principle here, not case law. For a baker to be forced by the government to bake a cake is questionable in itself. To be forced by law to bake a cake and decorate it with a message the baker disagrees with is outrageous. When the objection is a religious objection, only tyranny could require it by force of law.

    You can study the case law for yourself.

  27. Tom Gilson –

    For a baker to be forced by the government to bake a cake is questionable in itself. To be forced by law to bake a cake and decorate it with a message the baker disagrees with is outrageous.

    Yeah, well, the law is a big series of compromises and balances. The public-accommodation laws are there for good reasons. But even with them, there are religious exceptions. If I ran a hotel or a banquet hall, I’d have almost certainly have to grit my teeth and allow a creationist convention or award ceremony.

    Sometimes the law requires unfortunate consequences that are nevertheless deemed better than the alternatives. (Many actually guilty people go free because the police can’t just barge into people’s homes and look around for evidence.) You can be upset with how the balance has been struck here, but that’s not the same thing as proposing a balance that’s fair and works better than the existing one.

  28. Phil Robertson is to be warmly commended. USA needs an army of good people like him, to combat the scourge of same sex ‘marriage’, and all the other horrors which USA is being dragged into.
    HJR