Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
For something so short and to the point, that little sentence is one of the most misunderstood set of words ever put to paper.
Every time someone says something and gets themselves in hot water people start screaming about the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.
It’s not a free speech issue.
It wasn’t when the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines faced backlash after saying she was ashamed that George W. Bush was from Texas and it’s not with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson facing criticism for comments about gays and blacks in a interview with GQ magazine.
The right to free speech means that you can speak your mind.
It doesn’t mean that you’re free from the consequences of those words.
People don’t like what he had to say — much like people disliked what Maines had to say back in 2003.
The same rules that let Robertson talk about homosexuality allows people to express their opinions about his position, allows A&E to make a business decision for its brand and allows people the right to sound off on the network’s decision.
The First Amendment protects Robertson’s speech from government interference.
However, it affords him no such protection from A&E.