You’d have to be living under a rock not to know about the comments Phil Robertson of the wildly successful tv show Duck Dynasty made in a recent interview with GQ magazine. Mr. Robertson was asked his opinion about homosexuality, what constitutes sin in his opinion and about civil rights when he was growing up. True to form, the 67 year old patriarch answered honestly, paraphrasing scripture and in his usual blunt manner. The result has been a media firestorm.

I generally don’t pay much attention to media circuses. They are usually overblown, ridiculous and short-lived. However, this one caught my attention and not just because I like and respect Mr. Robertson very much. I am aghast that this kind of blatant discrimination can not only occur in the year 2013 but even more so that it would be defended. Phil is absolutely being discriminated against but let’s put that aside just for a moment. He was practicing free speech as well, but let’s put that aside, too. Just for a moment, while we examine something a little less difficult to see with the naked mind.

Phil Robertson is 67 years old. He was born in the bayous and backwoods of Louisiana. He has lived there his entire life. His life consists of hunting, fishing and preaching the word of God. This man does not live in the world of Progressive pleasantries and political correction. He just doesn’t. Even before this happened, that was very easy to see. To expect him to respond to such questions in any way other than exactly as he did would be naive at best and ridiculously unfair at worst.

The show is built on and centered around the conservative fundamentalist Christian values of this family. Now the patriarch is being punished for expressing these same values? That is absurd. This show has been on television for years. The Robertsons’ faith was never a secret. Indeed, it was a recurring theme and in some ways the centerpiece of every episode.

The most interesting – and exciting – thing about this to me is how it has galvanized people. People are speaking out. They are standing up. I have seen support for Phil from many gay, lesbian, bisexual and African-American people. They feel that Mr. Robertson’s First Amendment rights are being violated and that he is being discriminated against for his religious beliefs. I agree. They also feel that they have the right to live their lives as they want to and so does Mr. Robertson. I agree with that, too. The media witch hunt is being absolutely swallowed whole by the wave of support for this man. People are tired of being bullied by special interest groups and manipulated by the media. They are tired of being told how and when they should be offended, how they should react to things, what opinions they should have and most especially what it is ok to say.

I saw a comment on an article yesterday. It was the only comment I saw that was not in support of Mr. Robertson. The commenter asked (sarcastically) if the Constitution gave people the right to be racist. Another commenter answered and said simply, “Yes. It does.” And he is correct. The First Amendment protects even unsavory, offensive and obnoxious opinions. It especially protects unsavory, offensive and obnoxious opinions. Or it’s supposed to. I myself advocate Absolute Free Speech. By that I mean that I don’t think there should be any restrictions on it in any way whatsoever. None.

I am not religious but the growing disrimination against Christians is beginning to alarm me. Even those who I’ve debated with that are against Phil don’t seem to really be offended on behalf of gays. Not really. They seem to have actually been offended by the mere mention of religion. For many, it seems to be a platform for them to express their own bigoted and discriminatory views against Christians. I’m no expert but it would seem that the answer to perceived bigotry and discrimination can hardly be more bigotry and discrimination.

In the end, what we can learn from Phil Robertson has nothing to do with any of this. It has to do with how he lives and what’s important to him. He spends his time with his family, not staring at a phone. He spends time in nature, rather than staring at the tv all day. He talks to the young children and gives them guidance, moral values, advice and direction, rather than hoping somehow they learn it themselves. We can learn a lot from Mr. Robertson and his family.

When A&E began this show, I am sure they expected Americans to tune into the freakshow (think Honey Boo-boo) and laugh at the stupid rednecks. But something wonderful happened; Americans saw a real family that lived by values, who actually got along and loved each other. They saw a television show with no drinking, no drugs, no nudity or sex, not even profanity. And they loved it.

So let the firestorm rage across the internet. Let the media witch hunters tweet, blog and post their brains out. You can be sure Phil Robertson hasn’t heard a word of it.

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