Bobby Jindal, Phil Robertson and Bestiality


by Robert Mann

Duck Dynasty Phil RobertsonDoes Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E hit show “Duck Dynasty,” have a constitutional right to say any dumb or bigoted thing he wants?

Of course, he does.

Does the First Amendment prohibit A&E from removing Robertson from the network’s show if he should say something outrageous about the relationship between homosexuality and bestiality?

Of course, it doesn’t.

The First Amendment protects citizens from government punishment for their speech. It doesn’t mean that whenever you or I say something stupid or bigoted there must never be consequences.

That, it seems, is news to Gov. Bobby Jindal. Based on his statement today in defense of Robertson, if I were Jindal’s parents, I’d ask Brown University for a refund.

For those of you not familiar with this controversy, A&E suspended Robertson from the show after his quotes about homosexuality appeared in an interview with GQ magazine. In the interview Robertson said

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. . . . Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”


Next, Robertson paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Robertson is clearly entitled to his views on homosexuality. I suspect had he just said, “Homosexual behavior is not consistent with my Biblical beliefs,” few people would have noticed. He’s an Evangelical Christian, living in one of the most conservative regions of the country. Who would expect him to embrace gay marriage?

But that’s not what Robertson said. Instead, he compared homosexuality to sex with animals.

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