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Heyl: Metcalfe seeks to add duck to menu

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe would have you believe that he and Phil Robertson are birds of a bigoted feather, a pair destined to flock together.

That’s hardly the case. To put it in appropriate terms for this column, such implications aren’t at all what they’re quacked up to be.

Metcalfe, R-Cranberry via Arizona, has strong appeal to radical right-wingers. Robertson, the controversial patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” family on A&E, bewilderingly has strong appeal to millions of TV viewers.

On Wednesday, Metcalfe invited Robertson to be keynote speaker at his annual Pennsylvania Second Amendment Action Day in Harrisburg in April. There was no word on whether Robertson will attend.

The invitation’s timing was crafty and yet tacky on the headline-hungry Metcalfe’s part.

He announced it mere hours before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed legislation that would have permitted business owners to refuse service to gays, supposedly on religious grounds. A&E, you’ll recall, recently suspended Robertson briefly for making insulting remarks about homosexuals.

Metcalfe contended that he frequently is targeted just like Robertson. He believes he wears the bull’s-eye for reasons that include his sponsorship of failed legislation to “protect” heterosexual marriages by banning homosexual ones.

Metcalfe obviously is attempting to broaden his base by attaching himself to Robertson’s outspoken coattails. But a cursory comparison of their public comments on homosexuality and other topics indicates Metcalfe has a long way to go to reach Robertson’s level of outrageousness:

• Robertson: Has stated that sinful behavior “start(s) with homosexuality” and morphs into aberrant behaviors such as bestiality.

Metcalfe: Although avowedly anti-gay, he hasn’t descended to the level of Robertson and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who once famously declared the definition of marriage didn’t include homosexuality or “man on dog” activity.

• Robertson: Has posited that blacks living in the deep South just prior to the civil rights movement seemed happy and “weren’t singing the blues” (perhaps because by then, lynchings weren’t as prevalent as they once were).

Metcalfe: Has never similarly suggested that blacks of that era were quite content until troublemakers such as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. got them all riled up.

• Robertson: Has compared the ancient Japanese religion Shinto to Nazism.

Metcalfe: Hasn’t drawn parallels between the religious belief that spiritual powers exist in people, animals, mountains and rivers, and the philosophy of racist nationalism that led to the murder of 6 million Jews.

Metcalfe probably will be insulted by what I’m about to assert, but there’s no denying it: Compared to Robertson, he appears rational. Compared to Robertson, he appears tolerant.

If Robertson accepts the invite, he and Metcalfe might momentarily flock together.

But no way are those two birds of a feather.

Eric Heyl is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7857 or [email protected].

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