Apparently, if you're a politician and have the chance to weigh in on the scandal surrounding a reality-television star who said, "It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man's anus," you don't miss that chance.
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don't be deceived. 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. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right.
In a statement Wednesday, A&E said it was "extremely disappointed" by Robertson's remarks. But, for one reason or another, several high-profile Republicans are now coming to Robertson's defense.
"Free speech is an endangered species," Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook on Wednesday night. "Those 'intolerants' hatin' and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us." Palin's "intolerants" doesn't refer to the guy who went off on gay people to a major American magazine. It seems to refer to A&E for suspending him.
But it's not just Palin. "Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana," said Gov. Bobby Jindal in a statement Thursday. "The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with." He goes on:
I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.
We're really almost done with this year, but why not get one last mention of Miley Cyrus in a serious press statement from a guy who has considered running for president? It's also our recollection that Miley Cyrus's twerking never said anything about how gays are doomed to eternal damnation. And, as Josh Barro writes at Business Insider, "No clause in the First Amendment establishes a right to star in a reality show on A&E regardless of what you say to GQ about vaginas and anuses."
Duck Dynasty definitely has a whole lot of fans. But this really seems like a situation where it'd be best for politicians to delete those press statements before blasting them out.
Update (11:01 a.m.): Ted Cruz chimes in because sure why not.
Just posted to the Cruz campaign's Facebook page:
Free Speech Matters
The reason that so many Americans love Duck Dynasty is because it represents the America usually ignored or mocked by liberal elites: a family that loves and cares for each other, believes in God, and speaks openly about their faith.
If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson. Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job. In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him--but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree.
And, as PC enforcers often forget, tolerance is a two-way street. Here's what Phil himself had to say about accepting and loving everybody:
"I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."
Unlike Gov. Jindal, the Texas Republican at least isn't bringing the first amendment or Miley Cyrus into this.
Update (11:25 a.m.): And now the president of the United States of America
Apparently, People Magazine asked the president about "Duck Dynasty" in an interview that's in the mag's latest edition, but not yet fully online. The questioning seems to have come before the scandal. TIME's Zeke Miller tweets out the details.
Actual PEOPLE question to the Obamas: Who would you rather spend the day with: Kim and Kanye or the Duck Dynasty family?— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) December 19, 2013
PRESIDENT OBAMA TO PEOPLE: "The Duck Dynasty family seems like a pretty fun bunch, so I can see how that would be pretty fun."— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) December 19, 2013