EDITORIAL: Ducking tolerance

A dynasty gets a message of bigotry from the A&E network

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The left is all in favor of free speech — until someone offers a contrary opinion. Phil Robertson of TV’s wildly popular “Duck Dynasty” offended the homosexual lobby this week with remarks about his religious faith. The A&E network show is the most-popular reality program on all of cable television, following the Robertson family of Louisiana and their business of making calls and other paraphernalia for duck hunters.

The show’s success makes the bearded Mr. Robertson, who has the appearance of ZZ Top in camouflage, an unlikely celebrity because he is a born-again Christian. A writer for GQ magazine asked him to describe sin during an interview, sparking the controversy. “Start with homosexual behavior,” said Mr. Robertson, “and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman, and those men.” Then, paraphrasing the admonition from the biblical Book of Corinthians, he continued: “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.”

He then made the fatal faux pas, declaring that a man ought to find a woman more desirable than men. “She’s got more to offer,” he said. “I mean, come on, dudes.” Taking life advice from reality-television “stars” is always risky, but the left found it convenient to pretend otherwise. Gays seized the opportunity to make an example of someone who dared say something, however theologically conventional and clumsily expressed, supportive of traditional religious values.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said, “Jump,” and the executives at A&E asked, “How high?” They suspended Mr. Robertson, saying they were “extremely disappointed” with his remarks. “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.” But we already knew that.

As a private enterprise, A&E has every right to dismiss an employee who brings unwelcome attention to the company. What’s disturbing is how readily A&E caved to the fringe special-interest groups that will never be satisfied until every Christian on television or the silver screen is bullied into either hiding his beliefs or finding another line of work.

It’s not as though homosexuals don’t have plenty of outlets for their point of view. Programs such as “Glee,” “Modern Family” and “The New Normal” promote their lifestyles so openly that the Hollywood Reporter, a trade journal, reported that 27 percent of the viewers of the shows said they were more likely to support same-sex marriage.

A&E’s executives had previously tried to get the Robertsons to forgo ending their mealtime prayers, part of the show, with the invocation of “in Jesus’ name” for fear of “offending” unbelievers. The family stuck to their duck-hunting guns and said no. The Robertsons might be tempted to find a more hospitable home for “Duck Dynasty,” if they can find a top-tier cable network that’s not so Christophobic that it would try to censor the Duck Commander and the rest of his hirsute clan.

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