The problem with being smugly self-satisfied that you occupy the intellectual high ground is that you need to keep up appearances even after you’ve won the latest skirmish. You can’t unclench your fists even when the going gets rough.
For GLAAD, a gay rights advocacy group that has become so all-pervasive that, like KFC, it is jettisoned the name behind the acronym, the going just got rough. Their most recent victory occurred Wednesday when they coerced the A&E network into firing Phil Robertson, star of the hit reality series “Duck Dynasty,” for “anti-gay” remarks. For what it’s worth, the remarks were not made on the show but in an interview with GQ (another free-standing acronym), and their anti-gayness is in the eye of the beholder. Calling homosexuality sinful is less an opinion than it is a quote from Scriptures and equating sex between men with bestiality is merely swapping a legal term for a casual one.
Nevertheless, GLAAD went into overdrive to get Robertson dumped, and the network capitulated. Predictably, the effect of GLAAD’s assault on free speech, which has had the domino effect of threatening the show’s future, has led to what the entertainment news site the Wrap calls “record levels of backlash.” Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s vice president of communications, told the site:
In the five-and-a-half years I’ve worked at GLAAD, I’ve never received so many violently angry phone calls and social media posts attacking GLAAD for us speaking out against these comments.
I don’t think this is about the First Amendment. I feel it’s more about the America we live in today. That is one where Americans, gay and straight, are able to speak out when people in the public eye make anti-gay and racist remarks. [Emphasis added]
It’s understandable that Ferraro claims the First Amendment is not applicable. The America he lives in — the one where the only voices permitted to speak out are in defense of the gay lifestyle — exists in his mind only. In the real America, the First Amendment protects Phil Robertson’s remarks twice: First in his right to speak freely, second in his right to practice his faith without interference.