The Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the A&E cable network in support of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson after A&E suspended Robertson from his hit show for using his Christian faith to justify some disturbing and offensive anti-gay remarks.
The Westboro Baptist Church, a notorious Christian hate group, joins other Christian hate groups, such as the Family Research Council, in supporting Robertson’s controversial and demonizing characterizations of LGBT people.
A cultural firestorm has erupted since GQ published an explosive interview with the Duck Dynasty star, with many conservative Christians supporting Robertson’s condemnation of homosexuality.
Attempting to minimize the hateful nature of Robertson’s remarks, some conservative Christians complain that “the word police” targeted Robertson over remarks that were simply “politically incorrect,” arguing the network violated Robertson’s right to free speech by disciplininge the TV star. The fact is, Robertson does have a right to use his Christian faith to justify his anti-gay sentiment. By the same token, A&E has a right to discipline or even fire Robertson for expressing his religiously inspired homophobia and bigotry.
Free speech does not mean one will not be judged and held accountable for what one says: the guarantee of free speech means only that the government will not punish you for what you say. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to say whatever you want without consequence.
The existence of the Westboro Baptist Church is proof positive that freedom of speech is alive and well in this country. Conservative Christians are free to speak out in support of extremists like the Westboro baptist Church and Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, just as others are free to speak out against what they perceive to be as Christian hate speech.
For many, Robertson became a symbol of Christian hate and bigotry after he used his Christian faith to justify his anti-gay sentiment, equating homosexuality to bestiality, and comparing LGBT people with drunkards, thieves, prostitutes, and adulterers. The fact that the Westboro Baptist Church is now supporting Robertson only confirms this notion.
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