Part Three: Commercial Censorship
In the last post of this series, we discussed various instances and effects of legislation that has, either directly or indirectly, led to infringement on religious liberty. While legislative censorship is extremely dangerous, media is, perhaps, a significantly more powerful force. Many news outlets are distinctly biased toward a particular ideology, and it is often a liberal ideology to which they adhere. The attack on religious liberty has been waged in television, many newspapers, and the Internet, and has often been unsettlingly successful. Today, we will look at a few examples in which religious expression was censored by the liberal media.
You’re probably aware of the hit A&E show, Duck Dynasty, starring the Robertson family, as well as the maelstrom of controversy that erupted after A&E suspended Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Robertson family. Having been radically saved from drunkenness, Phil Robertson has spoken openly about his faith for years, but his comments on homosexuality, voiced in a GQ article, brought intense opposition (see the below links for the details of Robertson’s comments). GLAAD lost no time in deriding the mega-star:
“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe,” said GLAAD rep Wilson Cruz. “He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans – and Americans – who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”
In response, A&E had this to say:
“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty’,”
“His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
Due to widespread outcry from the conservative, Christian community, A&E soon reinstated Phil in the show, but this is a perfect example of the liberals’ censorship of public religious expression.
The Benham Brothers
David and Jason Benham are Christians, twin brothers, serial entrepreneurs, and highly successful businessmen whose reality HGTV show, Flip it Forward, was canceled in the wake of fiery backlash from the LGBT community, instigated by a scathing article published by Right Wing Watch, a progressive activism organization, that denounced David Benham as an “anti-gay, anti-choice extremist.” The Benham’s had long been involved in pro-life efforts, and had also voiced their disapproval of homosexuality and their biblical stance on the subject; however, they had sold homes to gay couples, and had, in no way, discriminated against the LGBT community.
Chip and Joanna Gaines
Chip and Joanna Gaines are the star hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. HGTV encountered great pressure to suspend the Gaines’s show after Buzzfeed published a story on the Gaines’s pastor’s views on homosexuality. The LGBT community was outraged that their pastor called homosexuality “a sin.” While the LGBT community was, for once, unsuccessful in their efforts, this is yet another instance of their intolerance and unjust censorship of those who express their religious views.
As you can see, the media is quick to ignite the fires of censorship, and is capable of initiating decisive victories against religious expression. In my next post, we will discuss the motive and constitutional grounding for these efforts.
Fox News on Chip and Joanna Gaines:
Fox News on A&E’s reaction to Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson’s comments regarding homosexuality:
More on Phil Robertson’s “anti-gay” comments:
Fox News on the Benham Brothers’ HGTV show being canceled:
Right Wing Watch article on the Benham Brothers: