Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

MC Weekly

January 1, 2014

A chat with a chum about Robertson, freedom

When we silence the tongue, we inflict damage on ourselves.

I had not seen My Friend the Rotarian in more than 20 years — not since our Wabash club days.

“Ray! Ray!”

He rushed toward me as I stood in line at a fast-food restaurant.

“Hey, I’m glad to see you!” he exclaimed.

“Same here,” I replied.

As he stood beside me, I noticed he was carrying a cloth bag.

Back in the day, we’d sit together at meetings. Before the program began, as we ate lunch, he’d solicit my thoughts, mistakenly thinking I was some kind of guru.

“Should Phil Robertson have said what he said?” he asked in his direct style.

I reached the counter and ordered the $2 cold cut combo special.

Ignoring the people behind me in line, he ordered the pastrami and Swiss.

“Sorry,” I said, looking back at the people.

An older woman nodded; a middle-age guy scowled; a young woman chattering on her cellphone had no clue.

We found a table, and as we unwrapped our sandwiches, he asked, “You know who Robertson is, don’t you?”

“Yeah, the guy on 'Duck Dynasty.'”

“So should he have spoken out?”

“He has that right,” I said before taking my first bite.

“So you agree with him?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“So what are you saying?”

“What I have been saying my entire life, which is that we have the right in this country to speak our minds — thanks to the First Amendment.”

He finished chewing, said, “Well, yeah, but he said homosexuality is a sin comparable to bestiality.”

“Yeah, I know,” I said.

He reached into his cloth bag and pulled out an iPad. In seconds, he had Robertson’s remarks on the screen.

I glanced at his pastrami, wondered whether I should have ordered it, too.

Then he read a controversial quote, which appeared in an interview in GQ magazine.

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