Will This Be My Last Duck Robertson Post? Probably Not
Bill Quick

I’ve been trying for clarity on my stance on this, both in my own mind, and in the message I’m trying to put forth.  Let me give it one more shot.

As an atheist, a libertarian, and a strong supporter of gay rights,  I disagree with Phil Robertson’s views on homosexuality.

But he has an unalienable right to hold and express those views, and that unalienable right is further protected from state infringement by the United States Constitution.


The company employing him has a balancing right of free association, and the right to decide whether or not it wishes to employ him under conditions of at-will employment, if they feel he is damaging their brand, or pushing a message with which they don’t wish to be associated.

How to balance this?

First, we don’t wish to disturb either side’s rights here.  We don’t wish to have the state infringe on Robertson’s First Amendment rights, nor do we want the state infringing on an employer’s right to freedom of association. 

Conservatives would be equally up in arms if folks were trying to force a religious company not to fire an employee who was preaching atheism in a way that company found damaginig to its brand, or in messages the company didn’t wish to be associated with.


For me, this is not a question of rights.  Because if it is, Robertson loses every time.  His rights to free expression have not been infringed by the state, so the constitutional argument about rights is irrelevant.  The governing right is the one that affects his employer’s right to fire him, and from my point of view, there should be no question they have that right.

Nor does it matter why they exercise that right:  Whether of their own volition, or because of progressive pressure coming from a hatred of Christianity and those who preach its message, the right itself is still inviolate.

The real question is whether A&E should fire Robertson, and my position is that they should not.  Their hands are not clean here.  They created the show.  They knew who, and what, the Robertson family was.  They hired them anyway, put them on the air, and made a ton of money off them.  Yet now they profess to be shocked at the leader of the family publicly espousing a fairly vanilla Christian opinion about homosexuality.

Which makes them hypocrites of the first water, and, as we all know, if progressives have any list of cardinal secular sins, hypocrisy is near the top of the list.

So, in summary:

Phil Robertson has the right to espouse an opinion I find reprehensible, and A&E has the right to fire him for expressing it.  But if they do so, that makes them hypocritical assholes, so they really shouldn’t do it.  Though they can.

Clear enough, yet?

UPDATE:  Any lawyers out there want to take a crack at explaining Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964‘s impact on this case, if any?


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Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Will This Be My Last Duck Robertson Post? Probably Not — 5 Comments

  1. Can I nitpick and point out that “a fairly vanilla Christian opinion about homosexuality” is not actually theologically correct? That is, many Christians may feel that way about homosexuality, but what Phil actually talked about was homosexual *behavior*.

    It’s easy to say there’s no difference, but it’s not true. Remember the Catholic catechism[1], which calls for celibacy for those not married, and lumps homosexual in with heterosexuals here. A gay person who’s not having sex isn’t committing a sin. As far as I can tell, Phil was talking about action, not orientation.

    [1] Never watched the show myself, don’t know his religious affiliation, but I’m guessing it’s not Catholic. I bring the Catechism up, though, because it’s the rule I’m aware of. I don’t know what the, say, Methodist, or Adventist or whatever formal position is.

    • Huh. That as a bit of a mess, re-reading it. I simply meant that Phil was talking about, as far as I can tell, homosexual activity, not orientation, and it’s important because (at least as far as the catholics are concerned) one is a sin and the other isn’t. If someone wants to attack him, they should attack him for what he said, not what they think he said. (that’s probably a useful rule at any time!)

      • Rick,
        Yah, all that is sort of true. But….

        Vanilla Christianity like most of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions have major ‘hang-ups’ regarding sex.
        The hate the sin, love the sinner is common; but then so is the “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman (man) lustfully has already committed adultery with her (him) in his heart.”
        It follows that Platonic duality crap. The division of man into body and soul—deny the body to grow the soul—shit.
        Most folks don’t take a close look at their religion, except as a source for validation of their prejudices. Which is why I tend to avoid religious conversations, except on the web. :-)

        • Most folks don’t take a close look at their religion, except as a source for validation of their prejudices.

          I heartily concur. BTW, most of the people in the world are hypocrites, the rest of us are liars.

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