Many conservatives vocally support Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson who A&E suspended after he made comments about homosexuals and blacks. While it is not clear why a man on a reality show about duck people should be fired for his ignorant political comments, most of the arguments in support of him are based on nonsense.
His comments about homosexuals can be summed up as homosexuality, or homosexual behavior, is sinful. This claim is both ignorant and derogatory.
Ignorant - There is not a solid philosophical justification for the belief that homosexuality is unethical. It doesn't make sense to think this. It is based on a lack of knowledge about homosexuality or ethics. AKA: ignorance. A belief being based on the Bible doesn't exclude it from being hateful or ignorant. Simply saying an idea is based on a religious text is not a reasonable defense.
Derogatory - He doesn't appear to be ranting in hate against homosexuals or blacks. However, if a characteristic of a human being, like sexual orientation, is considered sinful, what does that say about that person? It puts such people in very low esteem for a basic characteristic of who they are. This is an opinion that declares a group of people lesser - homosexuals are inherently sinful, while straights can possibly act out their sexual desires in a non-sinful manner.
Politicians, pundits, and citizens have made a variety of nonsensical complaints about Mr. Robertson's suspension and possible firing.
This is not a free speech issue. Organizations firing their public faces when those persons make the organization look bad is completely legitimate. Mr. Robertson can still speak about these issues to whomever he likes.
This is not an equal rights issue. If anyone is a public figure for an organization, they can be fired for saying things that makes the organization look bad.
This has nothing to do with religious freedoms. Religious freedom is one's right to practice or believe in their religion, and this is not what's at stake here. Holding a belief that results from one's religion is not the same as a religious belief. If he would have said, "I take Jesus Christ as my lord and savior and believe in the holy trinity" - then no problem. That is a core religious belief. But he didn't say that, he drew from his religion other beliefs. For a religious person, possibly every ethical belief will be based on their religion, no matter how offensive, hateful, or stupid it is(or intelligent)! Thus, if any belief that is drawn from a religion must be protected under religious freedom, then no matter how offensive a statement, someone cannot be fired from their public position as long as they think the belief is supported by their religion. That is of course ridiculous. And discriminates against the non-religious, who hold ethical beliefs as well, but not based on a religion. Just because an opinion is based on a religion does not mean anyone else has to respect, or not be offended by, or not be embarrassed by the opinion.
This is not about Christianity. Sure, his beliefs may have come from his religion, but that is not the point here. Wherever such stupid beliefs come from, they should be attacked, and organizations like A&E should be embarrassed about them.
There is potential harm done.
If A&E perceives harm done to their organization, they have the complete right to fire him.
There is also societal harm done if such statements go unattacked. If it goes unattacked, it is legitimized. And the more legitimized it is: A) the more people who will believe the belief, and B) the more likely people will take actions based on their hateful or ignorant belief. This leads to actual harm done to people.
Ultimately, this is why defenders of Mr. Robertson don't just look stupid, but do harm. His comments are dangerous for our society. Such comments should be attacked and disputed in public, rather than defended. If people do want to criticize A&E's actions, they need to do so more intelligently.
About A&E potential actions - This is a business decision for A&E. They have to calculate the revenue they get from his show with the long term revenue lost from the bad public relations. He doesn't need to be fired; people watch him for his quirky personality and activities, not his ethical beliefs. However, his ideas need to be comprehensively attacked.