- Posted December 20, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Action <--------> Reaction
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Being a staunch supporter and defender of the guarantees provided by the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, the current flap over the remarks of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson have me confused by both sides over how this has risen to the issue it is and allusions to violations or curtailments from all sides of those freedoms delineated therein.
There is no issue here on freedom of speech. All sides have freely exercised their right to voice their opinions and perspectives. No one in government has shut any of the sides down nor placed a muzzle on any of them to express themselves. Free speech is very much alive and well and on display in this incident.
There is no abridgement by government of the freedom of religion and the exercise thereof. Any or all sides can continue without abatement the practice of their particular faith or religion. All sides may also choose to not practice or believe in any deity or religious organization if they so choose. So again, religious liberty is not in jeopardy.
Does that mean any of those involved are completely blameless or not acting foolishly or being opportunistic in extorting the issue for its own benefit?
No, on the contrary, everyone is reaping the monetary and publicity rewards which is truly indicative of a capitalistic or materialistic society.
The whole "scandal", of which all sides are guilty of exploiting, is, in the words of William Shakespeare, "Much Ado About Nothing". No one should be surprised by the remarks of Robertson nor the reaction of the GLBT community nor of A&E's decision.
Robertson will be in high demand on the speaking circuit and in churches across the country. The GLBT advocacy groups will be reaping in the bucks to fight the "good fight". A&E is already seeing a ratings bonanza and will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Then there are the political action figures who will line their campaign coffers to help them stand up to the "godless" or to defeat "the forces of intolerance and hate".
I, like many of the Christian faith, dearly love what is called the Golden Text of the Bible, John 3:16. Unlike many, however, I put on equal footing the very next verse where Jesus went on to say, "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world may be saved through Him." Many who profess to be a follower of Christ often forget this verse.
Too many of the Christian persuasion leave their condemners on full blast.
This reminds me - and you may recall from your Sunday School days - of the story of King David and the prophet Nathan. Nathan came before the king one day to tell him about a rich man and a poor man. Seems the rich man had many flocks and herds, but the poor man had a sole ewe and little more.
The rich man saw the poor man's ewe and broke one of the 10 Commandments and coveted his neighbor's lone possession. Envy grew in the rich man. He then broke other commandments. The rich man stole the ewe and then killed the poor man to cover up his crimes thus breaking the commandment against lying as well.
David rose up in self-righteous indignation. The king was ready to extract a pound of flesh for the injustice committed by the rich man. Filled with anger and his own sense of righteous, David screamed that he would right the wrong.
The king asked Nathan who the perpetrator and lawbreaker was. Nathan looked David in the eye and stated plainly, "You are the man."
The same thing is happening here.
Everyone from all sides are allowing righeous indignation to spew over and out of their mouths into the television cameras, the Twitter accounts, on Facebook and in the newspapers. Each needs to stop and look in the mirror. Everyone needs to realize, "You are the man or woman."
Do I agree with Robertson's interpretation of Scripture or the passage by Paul in Corinthians? No, and other translations do not read it the way the vesion Robertson's quote is based.
Do I agree with the calls from the GLBT advocacy groups for Robertson to be fired? No, Robertson is firmly within his rights and freedoms whether what he says is right, wrong, offensive or supportive.
Do I agree with A&E suspending Robertson from Duck Dynasty? I don't think they should, but at the same time it is the right of the company and a marketing boon for the network.
Do I agree with politicians milking voters while portraying themselves as defenders of the 1st Amendment? I find these politicians opportunists, but again within their constitutional rights to dupe the public.
With speech freedom and religious liberty there comes the acceptance of reality. We have the right to speak our minds, but must accept others may disagree or hold a differing view. We do not have the right to tell others to shut up and sit down. Both have the right to speak and the right to stand up.
Yes, we have the right to our religious beliefs or to have no religious beliefs. However, others have the right to not believe as we believe or to choose to believe rather than not believe. No one has the right to compel the other or deny the other the right to believe or not believe a certain way. We have the right to proclaim our belief the only true belief, but others have the right to disagree and deny our belief is the correct one.
From the Cornfield, everyone on all sides need to take a chill pill.
Life will go on.
Robertson and the GLBT will continue on separate paths.
The network is in the catbird's seat.
The politicians...well, they are the politicians.
Stop for a moment and hold true to the holiday tradition of peace, goodwill - at least for a few seconds.