Are you sure you want to delete this post?
A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson from "Duck Dynasty" has caught the ire of countless conservatives that claim the station is stifling his Constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment right of freedom of speech. This argument has gained a lot of traction on right leaning news sites, but it's an argument that is fundamentally flawed and anyone with a basic understanding of our Constitution should know that fact.
Let's start with the actual words of our First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Americans have the right to say what is on their minds and Mr. Robertson had every right to say those homophobic and racially insensitive remarks. There are no government officials knocking on his door to arrest him for his vile comments and there never will be. In addition, he will never be taken to court or thrown in jail for his remarks.
What Mr. Robertson and the hypocrites on the right side of the aisle do not understand is that freedom of speech does not mean that you can never be fired or suspended by your employer for saying something that makes a company look bad. Employers have every right to look out for their bottom line and can hire and fire at will. A&E was around long before "Duck Dynasty" and will most likely be around long after the cameras leave.
It is of no surprise to me that many on the right are jumping to Mr. Robertson's defense. The right is filled with religious zealots that want nothing more than prayer being brought back into public schooling, keeping "under god" in the pledge of allegiance, and establishing America as a Christian nation. They use flawed history and outright lies to push this theory, but we all know that the right really struggle with facts sometimes. What they need to understand is that our First Amendment does not read: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion unless it is Christianity."
So the next time you are having a discussion with someone who tries to claim A&E stifled Mr. Robertson's freedom of speech, make sure they understand the difference between having a right to freely express themselves and a businesses right to hire and fire individuals at their discretion.