To the editor:
So what to think about this? A plain-talking, self-made country boy named Robertson is interviewed by GQ magazine. A little surprised that GQ went there, but hey, why not? He expresses his “deeply held” Christian beliefs regarding gays, which are pretty graphic and very much opposed to gaiety of any kind. So what happens? A&E, the television network that has happily sponsored him for years, jerks its knee and issues an “indefinite” suspension, banning him from the show (which is currently on hiatus anyway, but that is beside the point).
The suspension is the equivalent of waving a red flag in front of a bull. A bloviating horde of ultra-conservative commentators go on the attack, castigating the network, liberals in general and Obama in particular for this trashing of free speech and religious freedom.
You know what? God help me, I agree with them — at least about letting Robertson speak openly and frankly about the “evils of gayness.” This ignorant and mean-spirited opinion is no more true or accurate than insistence on creationism over Darwinism, that global warming (whether natural or man-made) is not real, or that Obama is a fascist Moslem. And let him speak also about his belief that blacks were happier and better off when they were just left to picking cotton in the fields rather that being forced to take government handouts and to live on food stamps or welfare. Rather than suppress this kind of “straight” talk, listen to what he and others like him say. Understand that it is representative of the conservative establishment in this country. Understand that the Palins, the Pauls and Sen. Cruz are too slick to verbalize these beliefs directly. But it is what they represent and encourage and where they will try to lead us if we fail to listen.
So, please, let Robertson speak freely and often. Understand the messages he is sending. If those messages are reflective of what you believe, if they provide a vision for this country that you find attractive for your children and your children’s children, then by all means, go for it, and may God have mercy on us all.
If they are not, if you find them repulsive and hateful, then ensure that you are engaged politically, socially and culturally in supporting countering arguments, rationales and belief systems.
Robert G. Pond