Because It’s Not OK – OK Frat Boys & First Amendment

When the ACLU prevailed in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie in 1977, it was to make a point that the protection of the First Amendment was for unpopular speech. After all, popular speech needed no protection. It was not to say that the speech was worthwhile, or acceptable, or even okay with them. But it was speech, and that was reason enough for it to be protected.

Now, some frat boys from SAE at the University of Oklahoma have disgraced themselves. It was caught on video and published, and the President of the University, David Boren, has expelled two students and threatened to shutter the fraternity, condemning the speech as creating a hostile educational environment. More sanctions may be coming.

On the one hand, this couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys. Post hoc explanations that they didn’t really mean it, aren’t really racists, don’t make it okay. There are lines one doesn’t cross, even in jest, and “only kidding” is so utterly inadequate as to offend again. There are no jokes to be had here.

And that’s what’s making people’s heads explode, because what happened here was so offensive, so unbearable, that there must be a way to punish it. And, indeed there is. Let the students who engaged in this speech be held accountable for it. The video is there for all to see who at the University of Oklahoma would do such a thing.

Let them be pariahs for their speech. Let them hear the counterspeech of their friends and classmates. Let them bear the consequences of the expression of twisted words.

Some law profs, like Eugene Volokh, Scott Lemieux and Howard Wasserman, have taken the position that, vile as this may be, it’s exactly what the First Amendment protects….

The speech was vile. The speech is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. And nothing about that changes the fact that the students who uttered this speech should endure the brutal opprobrium of their fellow students, their teachers, their friends, their parents, and everyone else in society who will hold them in infamy for their words.

This speech was not okay. This is why it is protected by the First Amendment.

From Simple Justice –

Religious Liberty Denied: Oregon Bakers Found Guilty

Make them bake cake! That’s the verdict of an administrative judge in the case of Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein. The couple, who became the brave face of America’s religious liberty clash, were informed yesterday by the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries that in the battle over marriage, their First Amendment rights no longer counted.

In the first of what will almost certainly be several rulings, the Kleins were found guilty of violating state law for politely declining an order for a same-sex “wedding” cake. As part of his 52-page order, Judge Alan McCullough claims that “requiring them to provide a wedding cake for Complainants does not constitute compelled speech.” Aaron Klein disagrees. “First Amendment, Constitution. Freedom of religion. I’m free to exercise my religion however I see fit. If I’m told to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I’m violating my beliefs. I don’t think I should have to do that.”

Unfortunately for the parents of five, wedding vendors like them may soon have no choice. In the free market, the courts no longer seem to recognize the right to believe what you want. Owners of small businesses like Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Arlene’s Flowers, Simply Elegant Wedding Planning, Hands On Originals, and others are seen as nothing more than tools of the government to think and believe as the state sees fit. If they refuse, as Aaron and Melissa have done, Oregon is threatening to bring the full weight of the government to bear.

A hearing on March 10 will decide exactly how much the Kleins’ courage will cost them. As much as $200,000 could be at stake for a family who’s already been forced to close their shop and scrape together the money they need to make up for that lost income. Anna Harmon, one of the Kleins’ three attorneys, said that although the judge tossed out every claim but one, it’s still a tough loss. “Americans should not have to choose between adhering to their faith or closing their business, but that is what this decision means….

By Tony Perkins – Washington Update –

Obama to restrict media’s reporting of anti-jihad articles

At Monday’s White House press briefing, chief spokesman Josh Earnest indicated that in light of the terrorist raid of Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices by jihadists, President Barack Obama would be taking a serious swipe at the First Amendment freedom of the press as it pertains to future anti-Jihadist articles.

The Daily Caller reported:President Barack Obama has a moral responsibility to push back on the nation’s journalism community when it is planning to publish anti-jihadi articles that might cause a jihadi attack against the nation’s defenses forces, the White House’s press secretary said Jan. 12.

“The president … will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of
our men and women in uniform” whenever journalists’ work may provoke jihadist attacks, spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at the White House’s daily briefing.

The unprecedented reversal of Americans’ civil-military relations, and of the president’s duty to protect the First Amendment, was pushed by Earnest as he tried to excuse the administration’s opposition in 2012 to the publication of anti-jihadi cartoons by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Back in Sept. 2012, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney criticized Charlie Hebdo for its publication of cartoon images lampooning Mohammad….

By Michael Dorstewitz – Liberty Unyielding –

Church asks for end to policy rating value of speech

In a long running legal struggle, an Arizona church is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine if religious speech is less important than political or other forms of speech.

Good News Community Church in Gilbert, Arizona, rents space where it can meet for weekly services. The church uses temporary signs for its meeting place, but the city’s sign code requires that the church’s signs be much smaller than others – and the church is only allowed to erect its signs on Saturday night and then take them down on Sunday. Political signs and business signs are treated differently.

Under Gilbert city ordinances, a political sign can be up to 32 square feet, while a sign for events of a church or other nonprofit can only be six square feet. Alliance Defending Freedom represents the church, and attorney Jeremy Tedesco explains the basis for the church’s case.

“Politicians can’t set up a system to give themselves nearly unlimited speech while practically silencing private citizens who operate a church,” he tells OneNewsNow.

According to statements from the town of Gilbert, the city follows a free-speech test allowed by some courts to determine the value of different kinds of noncommercial speech and the correspondent level of government protection deserved. An appeals court had earlier used that test to evaluate Good News Community Church signs as less valuable than other signs.

“It’s unconstitutional to allow the nearly year-round display of giant political signs, but then turn around and tell churches they can only have tiny signs up for a few hours in the middle of the night,” he explains. “The government simply cannot restrict religious speech based on an indefensible argument that it is less valuable than political speech.”

By Charlie Butts – One News Now –

Chilling Free Speech

By Andrew P. Napolitano – LewRockwell.com –

Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science — encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities — announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The NSF dubbed the project Truthy, a reference to comedian Stephen Colbert’s invention and hilarious use of the word “truthiness.”

The reference to Colbert is cute, and he is a very funny guy, but when the feds get into the business of monitoring speech, it is surely no joke; it is a nightmare. It is part of the Obama administration’s persistent efforts to monitor communication and scrutinize the expressions of opinions it hates and fears.

We already know the National Security Agency has the digital versions of all telephone conversations and emails sent to, from or within the U.S. since 2005. Edward Snowden’s revelations of all this are credible and substantiated, and the government’s denials are weak and unavailing — so weak and unavailing that many NSA agents disbelieve them.

But the government’s unbridled passion to monitor us has become insatiable. Just two months ago, the Federal Communications Commission, which licenses broadcasters, threatened to place federal agents in cable television newsrooms so they can see how stories are generated and produced. The FCC doesn’t even regulate cable, yet it threatened to enhance its own authority by monitoring cable companies from the inside.

What’s going on here?

What’s going on here, and has been going on since President Obama took office in January 2009, is a government with little or no fidelity to basic constitutional norms. There is no defense under the Constitution to any aspect of the government’s — federal, state, regional, local or hybrid; or any entity owned or controlled by any government; or any entity that exercises the government’s coercive powers or spends or receives its money — monitoring the expressive behavior of anyone in the U.S., not in a newsroom, on social media or anywhere else.

The NSF’s stated purpose of the Truthy squad is to look for errors in speech, particularly errors that fuel hatred or political extremes. This monitoring — this so-called search for error — is totalitarian and directly contradicts well-grounded Supreme Court jurisprudence, for several reasons….

 
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Houston, Texas: No Freedom Of Speech For Pastors

By Chuck Baldwin – ChuckBaldwinLive.com –

Thomas Jefferson rightly noted that big cities are the “bane” of freedom. And in a letter to James Madison, Jefferson wrote, “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become corrupt as in Europe.” Modern America is a living testament to Jefferson’s sagacity. Unlike early America, the vast majority of the U.S. population now lives in large metropolitan areas. And it is the big-government machinations of big-city politicians that are leading the charge for America’s surrender to Big Brother. Houston, Texas, is the latest example.

Writing for FOX NEWS, Todd Starnes covers the story:

“The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“‘The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,’ Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. ‘The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.’”

Starnes continues, “‘Political and social commentary is not a crime,’ Holcomb said. ‘It is protected by the First Amendment.’

“The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.

“The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures–far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

“However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

“After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

“The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups–from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

“‘City council members are supposed to be public servants, not “Big Brother” overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,’ said ADF attorney Erik Stanley. ‘This is designed to intimidate pastors.’”

Starnes also wrote, “Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.

“The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over ‘all communications with members of your congregation’ regarding the non-discrimination law.

“‘This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,’ Riggle told me. ‘The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.’

“Rev. David Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.

….Unfortunately, there is absolutely no doubt that the action of Houston city officials is only a precursor of forthcoming acts of tyranny.

Most of us are aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a statement saying it was going to begin “monitoring” the sermons of America’s pastors after an atheist organization complained that too many of America’s pastors were violating the conditions of their non-profit tax status under section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

 
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Satan’s First Amendment Perversion

By Roseann Salanitri – WesternJournalism.com –

“…nowhere in the 1st Amendment is there any reference to protecting our right to worship as long as it doesn’t offend anyone.”

Our Founders’ experience with a government that had exceeded its logical, moral, and spiritual authority greatly influenced the Constitution they would eventually design. In our Declaration of Independence they expressed their reasons for declaring their independence from tyranny along with their belief that government’s primary role was to protect our God-given rights. Our Constitution and form of government were based on those basic beliefs about what government should be and how it should be limited in order to protect our God-given right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Immediately after ratification of the Constitution, our Founders agreed that they needed to amend the Constitution in order to protect our rights as citizens in addition to limiting government. And so the first 10 Amendments, which are referred to as our Bill of Rights, were born. The name, The Bill of Rights, appropriately became the reference for these first 10 amendments because that’s what they were: amendments to protect our rights as distinguished from the Constitution that was designed to limit government.

Although the language in the Bill of Rights is clear, its meaning can still be twisted and misused. The 1st Amendment specifically states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government (sic) for a redress of grievances.

The section being discussed herein is emboldened above and was the very first part of the 1st Amendment that was agreed upon by our Founders and ratified by the states. There have been many writings built around this particular phrase which rightly rely on the understanding that this portion of the Amendment was written to protect the church from the state, and not the other way around. But ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has managed to twist and pervert even the simplest statements. He persuaded Eve and subsequently Adam to believe that if they ate of the forbidden fruit of the garden they would become like God. Both Adam and Eve knew what God clearly said, but that didn’t stop them from believing Satan’s twisted interpretation.

Another example occurs after Christ was baptized and spent 40 days in the desert. During this time of fasting, Satan unsuccessfully tempted Him by accurately quoting the Scripture but twisting its meaning. In Matthew 4:5-7, Satan said:

If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ (The emboldened part of the verse was quoted by Satan exactly as it is written in Ps. 91:11-12)

Of course, we know that Jesus fully understood not only the word but the meaning of Scripture and quickly replied appropriately. However, it is important to understand that Satan did not misquote Scripture, he just perverted its meaning to suit his means. Such is the case with the 1st Amendment. No one, not even Satan, argues the language contained in the Amendment, but he can and he has managed to pervert its meaning and, consequently, today’s Adams and Eves still fall prey to his cunning. (Note: although it is not the subject of this writing, a similar argument applies to the 2nd Amendment.)

 
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California charter school removes Christian books from library

By Dr. Eowyn – DCClothesline.com –

Springs Charter Schools, aka River Springs Charter School, is a charter school in the city of Temecula, Riverside County, southern California.

On its “About Us: Vision & Mission” page, Springs Charter Schools describes itself as “created and is operated by parents” and that “We value Parent choice and involvement, Using the community as the classroom, Fostering a child’s innate creativity, Collaborating to achieve goals, Building relationships, and Personalizing learning.”

What the page leaves out is that Springs Charter Schools also values CENSORSHIP and ANTI-CHRISTIANITY.

Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a conservative legal defense organization in California, is sounding the alert that Springs Charter Schools is violating the First Amendment by removing library books based on their perceived Christian content.

In an email, PJI states:

A parent of students enrolled at Springs Charter Schools was recently shocked to see some of the books being targeted for removal, including the well-known account of Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place. The parent contacted PJI after library personnel explained to her that they had been directed to remove Christian books, books by Christian authors, and books from Christian publishers.

PJI attorney Michael Peffer sent the school a cease-and-desist letter on August 22, citing long-established Supreme Court precedent that strongly disapproves of school libraries removing books based on opposition to their content or message.

Last week, the Superintendent of Springs Charter Schools, Dr. Kathleen Hermsmeyer, ignored the precedent in PJI’s letter and instead insisted, “We . . . do not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.”

PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “It is alarming that a school library would attempt to purge books from religious authors. Indeed, some of the greatest literature of Western Civilization comes from people of faith…

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