Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
After reading Gene Lyons’ column “‘Duck Dynasty’ star destined to fade into obscurity,” I was reminded that the issue over Phil Robertson’s statements in GQ magazine isn’t being represented accurately by the media or those who have voiced their support for Robertson and opposition to A&E’s decision to suspend him, which they have now retracted.
It is important to understand the real issue that is at hand. I don’t think there is any argument that Robertson was stating his religious beliefs since he went so far as to paraphrase the Bible in his statements.
The real issue isn’t his First Amendment right to free speech. He had that right; however, those who say A&E had the right to suspend him are not correct.
According to the 1964 Civil Rights Act:
SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
The law explains:
(j) The term “religion” includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.
There is little argument that Robertson’s statements would have caused A&E hardship had they just stated that they didn’t necessarily agree with his beliefs and gone on with business, as they finally did on Dec. 27. Their action caused them more hardship than if they had used common business sense and followed the law.