Editorial: Ducking away from reality — ‘Duck Dynasty’ flap prevents serious debate that’s needed
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Dec 26, 2013 | 2325 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This undated image released by A&E shows Phil Robertson from the popular series "Duck Dynasty." Robertson was suspended last week for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people. Photo: A&E, Zach Dilgard/The Associated Press
This undated image released by A&E shows Phil Robertson from the popular series "Duck Dynasty." Robertson was suspended last week for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people. Photo: A&E, Zach Dilgard/The Associated Press
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Phil Robertson’s suspension from the A&E program Duck Dynasty for his remarks about homosexuality is not a constitutional issue. Robertson’s freedom of speech has not been abridged. He was merely briefly suspended from the show.

However, we wonder how executives at A&E would not be aware of what Robertson might say if asked about religious matters, given his life story and the many faith-based speeches he’s given in recent years.

Although A&E was perfectly within its rights to suspend Robertson, it seems the matter might have been resolved with a disclaimer allowing the company to distance itself from what Phil said.

However, as author Larry Alex Taunton points out in a recent article in The Atlantic (“The Genuine Conflict Being Ignored in the Duck Dynasty Debate”), what all the brouhaha really does is prevent us from taking this opportunity to seriously debate “how to reconcile sexual tolerance and religious tolerance.”

That said, the plan by Alabama Sen. Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga, to introduce in the Legislature a resolution of support for Robertson does nothing to aid this reconciliation.

As mega-church pastor Rick Warren has pointed out, our culture has come to accept the idea that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle you must fear or hate them, and to love someone you must agree with everything they say or do.

Warren points out that both are lies.

Yet, rather than discuss why the disagreement exists and how the disagreement can be reconciled, we pass resolutions that only deepen the divisions. As a result, both sides focus on “winning” instead of understanding. Each side becomes guilty of trying to force a point of view on an unwilling audience. And each side is intolerant of the opinions of others.

Rather than introduce resolutions of support for one side or the other, legislators might better serve the public if they dealt with such disagreements the way Sheldon the scientist and his traditional Christian mother deal with their differences on the TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

They disagree. They do not accept the other’s point of view. Yet they continue to love each other, and neither suggests that God will condemn the other to hell for believing what they do.

Maybe, if we had more of that and fewer legislative resolutions, the world would be a better place.
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