Jindal, Duck Dynasty and the Homosexual-Bestiality Complex

By Robert Mann

Does Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E hit show “Duck Dynasty,” have a constitutional right to say any dumb or bigoted thing he wants?

Of course, he does.

Does the First Amendment prohibit A&E from removing Robertson from the network’s show if he should say something outrageous about the relationship between homosexuality and bestiality?

Of course, it doesn’t.

The First Amendment protects citizens from government punishment for their speech. It doesn’t mean that whenever you or I say something stupid or bigoted there must never be consequences.

That, it seems, is news to Gov. Bobby Jindal. Based on his statement today in defense of Robertson, if I were Jindal’s parents, I’d ask Brown University for a refund.

For those of you not familiar with this controversy, A&E suspended Robertson from the show after his quotes about homosexuality appeared in an interview with GQ magazine. In the interview Robertson said

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. . . . 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.” 

Next, Robertson paraphrases Corinthians: “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.”

Robertson is clearly entitled to his views on homosexuality. I suspect had he just said, “Homosexual behavior is not consistent with my Biblical beliefs,” few people would have noticed. He’s an Evangelical Christian, living in one of the most conservative regions of the country. Who would expect him to embrace gay marriage?

But that’s not what Robertson said. Instead, he compared homosexuality to sex with animals.

And, so, how did Jindal respond (more important, why did Jindal respond) to this situation?

“It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,” Jindal said in a statement Thursday on his official website.

“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana,” Jindal said. “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. 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.”

So, Jindal implies that there might be something in Robertson’s interview that he doesn’t agree with.  Of course, he could be talking about something he read in the latest edition of Field and Stream. Who knows?

Jindal, of course, wants to have it both ways. He wants to pander to his state’s homophobes, many of whom do agree with Robertson’s statement casting homosexuality as akin to bestiality.

But Jindal also wants his more tolerant constituents to believe that, perhaps, he disagrees with Robertson’s statement, but is just defending Robertson’s right to say it.

But that’s not exactly what Jindal’s statement says. He suggests that it should be unconstitutional for a television network to fire a performer for offensive comments.

Funny, I don’t recall Jindal’s full-throated defense of the First Amendment last year when Michael Walker-Jones, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), suggested in the Times-Picayune | NOLA.com that some low-income parents are not qualified to decide where their children should attend school. The LAE later said that the comment was taken out of context.

For those comments, however, Jindal demanded Walker-Jones’ firing.

I guess it’s entirely proper for teachers unions to fire employees whose comments offend the governor. However, to Jindal, it’s a shocking violation of the First Amendment for a television network to suspend a personality who compares homosexuality to sex with animals.

And Jindal is telling his party to stop being stupid?

If Jindal disagrees with something Robertson said, then he ought to be brave enough to tell us what it is. Does he believe, like Robertson, that homosexuality is akin to bestiality?

His statement today suggests that he might.

More than anything, Jindal’s statement suggests that he’s a hypocrite and political coward who will stop at nothing to stoke the ignorance and fear of his bigoted constituents.

* * *

Note: It’s also worth noting that House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, U.S. Sen. David Vitter and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne have joined Jindal in issuing statements today in support of Robertson. I hope journalists covering this story ask these leaders if they agree with Robertson’s statement in the GQ story about race relations in Louisiana:

Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field. . . . They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

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17 thoughts on “Jindal, Duck Dynasty and the Homosexual-Bestiality Complex

  1. Earlier in the year Phil Robertson had made statements that he did not want to be on the show any longer. Perhaps this is the way they will write him out and create more interest for the show at the same time. Off timing isn’t it? I agree the Gov should understand that freedom of speech does not apply to private enterprises. How dumb is that?

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  3. Actually, it’s more like political exploitation. As usual, he’s taking advantage of a situation he likely doesn’t care at all about in order to get his name in the news. I’m sure one of his 20-yr-old staff members wrote this for him – you can’t really think that he even knows who Miley Cyrus is?!? It’s hard to have your finger on the pulse of pop culture when you’re so busy looking in the mirror and reassuring yourself of your own greatness.

  4. I’m no apologist for Robertson or Governor Jindal, but I guess I read Robertson’s comments differently, I. e., I did not see him making a direct comparison or correlation between homosexuality and bestiality. His use of the word “morph” seemed, rather, to be asking the interviewer to guess what other things he might consider sinful – the question to which he was responding – and then to answer his own question. His comments were offensive to homosexuals for obvious reasons, but they were placed in the context of his religious beliefs. In addition to freedom of speech, we also ostensibly have freedom of religion [as long a neither is politically incorrect, apparently].

    As you say, A & E has every right to do whatever they choose to do, but their action was clearly an attempt to be politically correct so as to not offend a segment of viewers large enough to affect their sponsors’ sales and A & E’s commercial revenues.

    This is one of those rare occasions when I think I agree with Governor Jindal’s statements. His motive for jumping into the fray (continuing his effort to cement himself into a unique far right political niche) matters less than the substance of what he said.

    Bottom-line: In our society we decide which offensive things should be suppressed based on commerce, not sensitivity or morality. I see or hear things I consider offensive almost daily. I suspect a lot of other people and groups do, too. If a group is vocal enough and represents a large enough segment of the economy, its sensitivities are protected. If not, too bad. How morally justifiable is that?

    • Robertson’s remarks may be open to interpretation, although it seems fairly clear to me that he’s saying bestiality is an outgrowth of homosexual behavior (it’s worth noting that this is the position of many prominent homophobes such as Rick Santorum). But if he didn’t mean to compare homosexuality to bestiality, then he could clear it up fairly quickly by saying that’s not what he meant.

      • Regardless, his goose/duck is apparently cooked while Governor Jindal’s image is burnished. Another win for Team Jindal?

  5. Jindal spoke up because he saw and felt first hand the power of an endorsement from the Duck Dynasty family when his end run choice to replace Alexander blew up in his face. He knows who Miley Cyrus is- he found out early on when he had to defend himself for sending little Timmy (remember Riser) and his family to the Dome to see her perform for free not long after his ‘most transparent govt in LA history’ proclamations. You are right when you say it’s just an excuse for him to mouth off about something immaterial to running this state. In Bobby’s new freedom of speech thoughts is it safe to say that all the state employees can now speak freely of Jindal’s poor management policies? Riiight! No, Mr. Mann is correct. Jindal is and always has been a hypocrite and political coward.

    • Exactly right, and I’m not sure why Mann did not make that connection immediately. We all just found out that if you want to win in northern Louisiana you will need the Duck Dynasty endorsement. Jindal and Vitter both know that and used their first opportunity to curry favor with the Duck Boys. That’s all it’s about. So what state-wide office is on Jindal’s mind? I think Tom Asswell is right about that one.

  6. To me, it seems that Mr. Robertson was grouping homosexuality, promiscuity, and bestiality as deviant behaviors which he believes t are prohibited in the Bible. It is a freedom issue, of speech and religion, but Gov. Jindal is not being very consistent about it. A&E is protecting its brand, which is also Constitutionally permissable.

  7. While Mr. Robertson plainly stated that he thinks homosexuality is a sin, I think it’s some hypersensitivity on the parts of the LGBT community and others to say he equates being gay to bestiality. He ticked off a litany of other things he thinks are sins, including adultery, drunkenness, swindling, etc.
    I was more offended by his comments about African-Americans, whom Mr. Robertson said he had never seen abused with his own eyes. I don’t believe he was born or went blind at an early age, so such a statement is pure fantasy.
    Meaning no offense whatsoever to persons in the LGBT community, but a person of faith can in good conscience consider homosexuality is a sin. But to deny that persons of color were ever mistreated is a leap into pure fiction.

    But bless Bobby’s desperate little heart; he has a chance to play to the base at absolutely no cost to him. Opportunism and politics join up once again. As for him and so many of his accomplices, it’s amazing how they trip over the Constituion when they find it convenient, if not relevant.

    • Robertson expressed himself in a way that describes homosexuality as something that would beget bestiality, polygamy and promiscuity; it’s pretty black and white from what I read, no pun intended. I’m both Black and gay, which was why I am sensitive, not hypersensitive, to what this guy had to say–I can see the parallels better than anybody on this front. But we can all agree that A&E had the right suspend him as much as he had the right to share his views on social and civil rights.

      • You are, of course correct. I’m not sure why, but some Christians try to elevate homosexuality to its own level of “sin.” Ever notice how easy it is to castigate something you disagree with? If we assume being gay is a sin, I notice it didn’t make the Top 10 that God gave Moses.
        I re-read some of the things Phil said, and they are really, really coarse. But we should not forget that Phil admits he, too, has engaged in some of the activities he listed as sinful.
        Whether being gay is a sin remains an issue of religion and opinion, which is not the same as rewriting _ or ignoring _ history. As Rev. Al says, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
        I still believe Phil Robertson is a good man at his core who would treat you with respect on a personal level, despite the especially disappointing manner in which he expressed himself. I can certainly understand why you would not agree.

  8. I think if Robertson’s vagina/anus statement was not voiced/printed, this would have never rec’d the main steam media’s attention.

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