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.

(4) comments

Danska

I disagree with your politically correct interpretation of events surrounding the A&E dismissal of Phil Robertson. In the first place, there are no negative racial comments in the GQ interview. Secondly, this incident is not as simple as reaping consequences for your speech. I may have different views than those expressed by Robertson but I see the A&E action as one more attack on Christian values and an attempt at thought control by suppressing speech. There is no doubt in my mind that the network would not take the same action should another performer bash Christians, religion in general or any number of other subjects or individuals considered odious to the progressive and arrogant media. I have never watched Duck Dynasty and have no opinion of the show or the family, but any one of the family members must be free to express their religion based beliefs off the screen without fear of being persecuted – that’s why this once great nation was founded. Perhaps Mr. Robertson should take advantage of our civil rights laws which include prohibitions against religious discrimination and sue the A&E network. For me, I don’t spend much time watching A&E as it is but after this I will not watch it at all. Bah Humbug! I wish the network a big lump of coal for 2014 and hopefully the executives that made this stupid decision will need to pick up and sell aluminum cans to make ends meet.

Middleman

Danska, that's what the constitution says. There is no "political interpretation" by GE here. The government is NOT limiting his speech. Rather, AE is firing Robertson. I agree with your other points but the truth is, it's not a constitutional issue. Sorry.

The Uncle

This article is very correct. As stated Phil and others have the right to say what they said... and they said it. Everyone else has their right to agree or disagree. The tv show is a job, Plil's job and they are free to fire him if there is a disagreement of opinion. Any other network is free to hire him as well if he wishes to continue being on tv. It's all about freedom, and no one should be told what they HAVE to do. A&E made a decision based on what they think they SHOULD do and that's the big difference.

I don't believe Phil SHOULD have lost his job over it, but the network has ratings to protect, that's how they get paid and they feared loss of revenue with the backlash over his words. Nothing he said was actually nearly as offensive as it's made out to be... he just simply stated he believes homosexuality is sin based on his beliefs after directly being asked that question.

I do agree that Christianity is under attack daily. That is obvious, as is many races, creeds and belief systems. I also believe any laws being passed or created that specifically address any particular race, creed or belief system is not the right answer to fix the problem as it creates a favoritism, a biased stance on one side or the other and starts the divisions we see today.

A marriage certificate is a legal binding document seen in the eyes of our secular world and has nothing to do with whether God sees is correct or not... it's paperwork for taxes (the rules of Rome). The ceremony you can have on your freedom of religion and be seen in the eyes of God as correct. Yes I am Christian, but a government document stating marriage means nothing to me.

You can't force anyone to accept God, through persecution of words, or by installing laws to force people to follow your religious beliefs. A person receives Jesus, when they see him as their savior. A person can only save themselves, so leave them be and simply spread the good word... you are, in fact, free to do so in this country.

pantman

Those that work for companies that don't care what you say is great, but these days most of them will fire you, if you give them some bad publicity. If you are retired or unemployed no one can fire you, but you can be banned for expressing your thoughts in a Blog, so watch what you say and you'll do fine.

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