There is some good news in the dust up involving Phil Robertson and A&E.
Last week, A&E suddenly reversed course and has said they will continue filming with Phil Robertson despite his statements that he believes homosexuality (like a lot of other things) is sin.
Before we close the books on this little chapter of our cultural debate over sexuality, marriage, and religious freedom, there are two things I think we should try to remember.
The first is that freedom won this time because the public demanded it.
I would like to think A&E’s reinstatement of Phil Robertson will represent a sea change of sorts.
Perhaps they are finally confronting the fact that their view of “tolerance” is irrationally inconsistent.
Perhaps the left will now begin celebrating actual diversity, not just the kind in which everyone thinks and acts the same as they do.
But I doubt it.
It is more likely that this little episode simply proves that the bully can be defeated when enough people stand up and say “ENOUGH!”
A&E changed their position because they saw viewers, sponsors, and ultimately dollar signs standing up and preparing to walk out the door. A&E wasn’t persuaded by an argument, someone touched their hot button.
Politicians behave in much the same way. If you want to see public policy created that respects conscience rights and religious liberty, don’t try to make great arguments to elected officials, convince them that their next election depends on it.
If enough people insist on change, change will come.
Change came for Phil Robertson.
But that leads to the second point to remember about this entire episode.
There are Phil Robertson’s everywhere.
The Duck Dynasty situation got national attention because he was part of a television show that is watched and loved by millions.
But there are bakers, sportscasters, innkeepers, doctors, photographers, and many more all over the nation who are seeing their livelihood threatened because of their beliefs. Sadly, the public is not coming to their defense in the same way.
Right here in Washington State, a florist is being sued because she did not feel comfortable being part of a same-sex wedding and florists have to go to court to defend their right not to sell a drug that causes abortion.
The only difference between the situation involving Phil Robertson and the situation involving the florist and the pharmacist in Washington State is that the public has not demonstrated the same degree of outrage they expressed on behalf of Phil Robertson.
Politicians have the same pressure points that A&E has, but so far we haven’t had enough people stand up and say “ENOUGH!”
Politicians get lots of money for doing what the gay lobby asks them to do, and that money translates into votes.
Those who support freedom need to be a sufficient counterbalance so that defending individual rights is politically more viable than taking them away.
The Duck Dynasty scenario simply proved that there are enough people on our side of the issue to do this…if we simply decide to do something.
If you want to help protect the interest of the Phil Robertson’s in your neighborhood, call Attorney General Bob Ferguson and ask him to stop suing small businesses because of their beliefs about marriage.
Then contact your local elected officials and demand that they protect the conscience rights of people to run their businesses in a way that is consistent with their conscience.
Even better, go visit them in person, explain your concern over the growing assault on religious freedom and conscience rights and get your friends and neighbors to do the same.
This story had a good ending, but let’s hope it is not the end.
We proved that success is possible.
Hopefully, when history records this episode, it will be said that Phil Robertson’s situation caused supports of religious freedom to draw a line in the sand and say, “no more.”
Otherwise, the history books may simply record that the only people whose freedoms we will fight for are those whose TV shows we enjoyed.