You make incredibly offensive, over-the-top comments about gays, Japanese and African-Americans, and what do you get? In Alabama, a move to honor you as a hero. That’s what’s happening to Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, whose interview with GQ got him suspended from his A&E program. In Alabama, on the other hand, it’s cause for raising a pedestal and putting Robertson on it.
The man behind who thinks rewarding a bigot with state recognition is a worthwhile exercise of government power is Republican state senator Jerry Fielding. Fielding predictably blamed A&E for giving into “liberal groups rather than respecting Robertson’s biblically correct views.”
Indeed, Fielding argues that Robertson is a stand-in for all Alabama residents, who are apparently also incredibly thin-skinned. “Phil Robertson’s family values are shared by the vast majority of Alabamians, who are rightfully concerned by the vitriol aimed at his Christian stance,” Fielding said. “There’s a clear double standard in the media favoring a liberal worldview. When it’s used to silence and punish Christians for stating their beliefs, that’s when we must defend the rights of individuals to exercise their free speech without fear of politically-motivated repercussion.”
Just as a reminder, there is no First Amendment right to have a cable network pay you to be a bigot on television.
Still, Fielding knows a good political stunt when he sees one. Among the many “whereas” clauses in Fielding’s grandstanding resolution is this one “Whereas Phil should not be penalized in any way for practicing freedom of speech, but should be celebrated as a hero for courageously revealing his self-truth and Christian ideals in a world that can be unkind towards those with a conservative mind-set.”
Fielding has a political motivation for his move. Until 2012, he was a Democrat in a state that is almost wholly Republican. Clearly, he’s doing his best to erase any memory of his past affiliation.