Phil Robertson ‘Rape’ Backlash: Freedom of Speech Violation?

Phil Robertson recently used a “parable” at a prayer breakfast that left some people shocked and offended.

As featured speaker at the prayer breakfast, Phil Robertson mused about how an atheist might feel if his “little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters” were raped and killed in front of him, then his penis was cut off and shown to him. Might he realize that there should be some diety-given standard for right and wrong that people should adhere to?

Predictably, Phil Robertson caught hell over what he said. Even some Conservatives decided they had heard enough from this guy and did not want him to represent them any longer.

“Phil Robertson is an embarrassment, not a hero,” Katherine Timpf wrote in The National Review, “and the socially conservative movement needs to distance itself from him immediately.”

But Robertson fans and supporters quickly took to an age-old argument. It is the same argument that was trotted out when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut.

Phil Robertson’s free speech rights are being violated!

Katherine Timpf answered that succinctly.

Again, Timpf is a Conservative. She built her career and reputation on reporting from college campuses about the marginalization of young Conservatives. But she is tired of seeing the Conservative brand dragged through the mud because of people like Phil Robertson.

But if Phil Robertson fans went after a Conservative for calling out their Duck Commander, you can imagine how they went after Huffington Post and Salon for remarks like these:

“That the Duck Dynasty clan leader has a national platform upon which to spew bullshit is basically an indictment of our whole society.”

“Robertson is a fearmonger who is preying upon people’s suspicion of the many atheists who live in the United States… Robertson’s words are ugly and ignorant, and the organizers, and all those who applauded him at the Prayer Breakfast in Vero Beach should be ashamed of themselves.”

Timpf isn’t the only person to know and call out the difference between Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom from prosecution for non-slanderous speech and non-Constututionally-guaranteed freedom from ridicule for saying something stupid.

As Timpf points out, even if Phil Robertson is boycotted to the point of losing his show, there is nothing unconstitutional about it.

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