Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has become a symbol of Christian hate and bigotry after using his Christian faith to justify vile anti-gay bigotry, equating homosexuality to bestiality, and comparing LGBT people with drunkards, thieves, prostitutes, and adulterers.
After drawing instant condemnation from gay rights groups and others, conservative Christians jumped to Robertson’s defense, outraged that the A&E cable network placed the popular reality show star on indefinite hiatus Wednesday.
Appearing on Fox News a conservative radio host even went so far as to make the absurd claim that Robertson should not have been suspended for homophobic remarks because he was just doing what Martin Luther King Jr. would have done.
Conservative pundit Monica Crowley complained that “the word police” had targeted Robertson over remarks that were simply “politically incorrect,” but she at least had the good sense to conced the network had the right to discipline the TV star. A fact many conservatives are apparently unable or unwilling to recognize.
The fact is, Robertson does have a right to express his hatred, ignorance and bigotry, and to use his Christian faith to justify such vile sentiment. By the same token, A&E and the general public have a right to reject and scorn Robertson for expressing his religiously inspired hatred, ignorance and bigotry.
Free speech does not mean you will not be judged and held accountable for what you say: 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.
Equating homosexuality to bestiality, and comparing all gays and lesbians to “adulterers” and “the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers” is hate speech, plain and simple. As such, Robertson, and his brand of Christian hate and bigotry, should be condemned in the strongest terms by all reasonable and decent people.
The fact that so many conservative Christians are defending Robertson only reveals the moral and intellectual depravity that springs from religious superstition. The depravity of the conservative Christian is a potent demonstration of the thesis so eloquently defended by the late Christopher Hitchens, the thesis that religion does indeed poison everything.
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