Let us be clear: Phil Robertson’s comments about gay Americans in “Gentleman’s Quarterly” were, as matter of fact, profoundly insulting to a large group of citizens who do not deserve to be insulted and have every reason to feel attacked and offended.
That does not mean that the position Phil Robertson holds, which is an unfortunate ancient remnant of traditional religion-based morality that will only be addressed by time, education, patience and dialogue, should be suppressed, declared taboo, or made the basis of job-related sanctions when it is part of the reality of those in his culture, and he is the star of a reality show based on that culture.
Thus the principles of tolerance, diversity, freedom of thought, expression and religious belief can and should be properly defended by raising objections to A&E’s quick capitulation to the pressures of political correctness.
That does not mean that it is appropriate, considerate, reasonable or smart for public officials like Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to declare their support for Robertson himself and his retrograde and destructive beliefs. Calling an entire group of law-abiding Americans “sinners” because one’s religion has chosen to ignore the advances in knowledge of the past century is not the mark of “a great citizen,” to quote Jindal. It is the mark of a sadly misled and ignorant citizen, who nonetheless is representative of another large group of Americans who have the right to express their outmoded views without sanctions even if they are dead, dead wrong.
Cheering on Phil Robertson can only be interpreted as cheering his denigration of gays. The leaders of a national party should not be denigrating anyone. Standing up for the free exchange of ideas? Absolutely. Insisting that those who hold on to the long-held beliefs of their chosen religion are not marginalized by the media? Yes. But applauding when a reality star calls all gay Americans sinners?
Graphic: Greenwich Roundup