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Tag Archives: speech
Posted: at 6:54 pm
The rights of Milo Yiannopoulos were violated. Angry about his politics and uncomfortable with his trolling, violent protestors kept him from delivering scheduled remarks in a public venue. His right to free speech was categorically infringed.
But that was more than three weeks ago at UC Berkley and it bears zero resemblance to the current controversy surrounding Milo’s CPAC speech. In reality, there’s little threat to his First Amendment rights.
For those unfamiliar with the obnoxious populist provocateur, Milo has made a career of exposing liberal double standards. The operating procedure of the Breitbart writer is pretty simple. He mocks the pieties held by many on the Left, trashing in particular the special treatment afforded to individual groups.
And Milo puts on a good show. Normally his antics are more entertaining than his arguments are incisive. But he’s always aggravating on purpose. That’s gotten him kicked off of Twitter and college campuses, all the while catapulting his career.
But his comments about pedophilia are beyond reprehensible. In a recently surfaced January 2016 video, Milo speaks fondly and even defends “relationships between younger boys and older men.” Later he makes light of the sexual abuse that rocked the Catholic Church, quipping that he’s “grateful for Father Michael” and adds that he “wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”
Is all of this terribly offensive? Absolutely. Is it protected speech under the First Amendment? Yes. Does that mean that CPAC will violate Milo’s rights if they cancel his speech? Not at all.
As a private organization, CPAC can give a venue to whomever they please. Whether they cut or keep Milo in the speaking line-up for this week’s conference in Washington, D.C., is completely up to them. Whether he speaks or is silenced, his rights won’t be violated.
There’s only one way the Berkley episode can be replayed this Friday. If a violent mob rips him from the stage or the government bars him from speaking. Clearly, there’s little chance of that happening.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.
Also from the Washington Examiner
Yiannopoulos’ book deal was worth a reported $250,000 and was expected to be released in June.
02/20/17 5:45 PM
H.R. McMaster replaces Mike Flynn as Trump’s national security adviser.
By Caitlin Yilek, Kelly Cohen
02/20/17 3:03 PM
Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:02 am
New York Times
A Win for Free Speech and Gun Safety
New York Times
As the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit held on Thursday in striking down the key parts of the law, this is an obvious violation of the First Amendment, which generally prohibits restrictions on speech based on what's being said. It …
See the original post:
A Win for Free Speech and Gun Safety – New York Times
Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:00 am
Illinois state representative Peter Breen (R., Lombard) has just introduced HB 2939, which would create the Illinois Campus Free Speech Act. Breens bill is based on the model campus free-speech legislation I recently co-authored along with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher of the Goldwater Institute.
Upon introducing the bill, Breen said:
With everything going on nationally right now, this is a timely bill that will serve as a reminder that the First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech and expression. Our public institutions of higher learning have historically embraced a commitment to free speech, but in recent years we have seen colleges and universities abdicate their responsibility to uphold free-speech principles. This initiative will put Illinois in the forefront of ensuring robust, respectful speech on college campuses.
As recently noted, North Carolina lieutenant governor Dan Forest has announced that his states General Assembly will soon be considering a bill based on the Goldwater proposal, and I will be testifying before the Florida state house next week on the Goldwater model campus free-speech bill at the invitation of Education Committee chair Michael Bileca.
Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at email@example.com
Posted: at 4:00 am
Stefan Molyneux: Free Speech is All That Matters.
Post by Nathan Rinne
Popular libertarian You Tuber Stefan Molyneux argues with all his rhetorical might that Free Speech is All That Matters.
I balk at his insistence. I dont like the way he puts that. While I find his supporting arguments for this persuasive and important when it comes to politics, overall I wonder about the implications of such words, such devotion. It almost sounds religious to me. Molyneux talks about the importance of humility and self-doubt, but of this he is certain!
Why the intensity of such conviction? In a related comment, Rachel Fulton Brown, University of Chicago professor, interestingly argues that:
.the freedom of speech enshrined in our national culture was established first and foremost as a freedom to wrestle with religion. Freedom of speech means little without this religious content, which is why cries for contentless free speech are so vacuous.
Versus Molyneux, I would argue that it is only in cultures influenced by Christianity that you get the fruits he so treasures.
So where is the West, guided thusfar by Christian rails, going? Will speech remain free? Is the artistic expression of a florist speech that should be protected, and not extracted as a mere product to be sold? Should local practices of Christian-only prayer at public meetings be ruled unconstitutional? (see yesterdays unanimous decision at the Washington state Supreme Court and the decision by a federal appeals court) Will Christians remain free not only to believe what they want, but to speak their faith in the public square? To practice it not only on Sundays, but in public? What of their schools and universities?
And should we, like the Apostle Paul, insist on our rights by fighting politically at least to some degree? Or by withdrawing in the hope of being strengthened to give an answer for the hope that we have when the world is finally ready to hear and believe again? This brings us to the ideas of Rod Dreher, the cultural observer at the American Conservative and a thoughtful Eastern Orthodox Christian. A few days ago, the well-known Christian commentator Albert Mohler had Rod Dreher on his show Thinking in Public to talk about Drehers new book The Benedict Option.
It was a fascinating and informative conversation, and one which I would recommend to everyone (I first talked about Drehers Benedict Option a couples years ago here).
The conversation between the two men ended with the following exchange, always a bit biting for folks like me (I need to hear it though!):
DREHER: The Lord gave me a second chance, and I would have all your listeners realize that if theyve got their heads buried in booksI love books, I write booksbut its no substitute for the life of prayer and service.
MOHLER: Well, a classical historic Protestant can only say amen to that. Thank you, Rod, for this conversation; Im deeply indebted to you.
That said, earlier in the conversation both men had clearly dealt with the importance of doctrine (note my bold in particular):
MOHLER: I read the articles that you wrote in the beginning, frankly I follow your column very closely at the American Conservative, and weve been watching you make this argument out loud for some time. And reading the book, it seems to me its significantly different than what I might have expected in terms of some your early articles on the Benedict Option, so let me just spell that out. You began by saying youre not calling for us to head for the hillsyou just used an illustration of heading for the hillsand as I look at those early articles in the American Conservative, it did appear you were calling, more or lessand those are of course partial arguments, just a few hundred wordsbut it appears you were calling to head for the hills. Nuance that a bit in terms of where you are in the book.
DREHER: I appreciate the chance to clarify this, and in fact my own thinking has been clarified through exchanges with my readers, through talking with Catholics and evangelical friends, and sort of working through these ideas. When people hear, Head for the hills, they think, you know, to light out for the mountains and build a compound and sit there and wait for the end. I dont think were called to that. I know Im not called to that; most people arent called to that. But it does mean doing what these monks in Norcia did initially. They were living right there in the town, but they were behind monastery walls. What does that mean for us? It means as lay Christians, we have to build some kind of walls to separate ourselves from the world so that we can continue to go out into the world and minister to people and be who Christ asked us to be. The culture itself is so toxic and so anti-Christian that were just not going to be able to make it if we let anybody and anything come into our hearts, into our imaginations. The monks in Norcia say, Were called to be monks, but we cannot be for the pilgrims who come to this monastery what Christ asked us to be if we dont have that time away behind our walls for prayer and study and work. I want to take that ethic and take it to lay Christian life. We need to have, for example, Christian schools. Not to shelter our kids from any bad idea that comes from the outside, but in order for them to be nurtured and to build that resilience within so when they do get out into the world, they know who they are, they know what they believe and why they believe it. And more importantly, they have participated and built practices necessary to live out this faith and to get the faith in their bones. Because if the faith is only in your head, if its only a series of arguments, youre not going to make it.
MOHLER: You talk about a conversation, rather haunting actually, at a Christian university or college campus where the professors were telling you that so many Christian young people come, and even though they basically hold to some knowledge, genuine knowledge, of Christianity, its so superficial that it tends not even to last very long inside whats defined as a Christian college and university.
DREHER: Thats true. I mean, the situation is horrible with Catholics, but this conversation youre recalling was on an evangelical campus and the professors were saying, We try our best; we can only have these kids for four years. And these are all kids who came out of evangelical schools and evangelical churches. But this is the youth group culture. All it gave them was emotion and having fun. And one of these professors even said to me, You know, I doubt that most of our kids are going to be able to form stable families. That shocked me. I said, Whys that? He said, Because theyve never seen it.
MOHLER: I thought in reading that, once again, place still matters a great dealand I mean place not just in terms of geography, but that and social context and social placementbecause I think of the students at our school and I think the vast majority of them did see an intact family It was still close enough to them, if they didnt come from it, then they saw it. But even in talking with students, you realize in concentric rings of their relationships, you get just one ring out, and then not to mention two or three rings out, and its very hard to find. And I think thats so well documented in something like J.D. Vances work now. Where once you would have thought that respect for family and a traditional Christian morality and sexuality and all of that wouldve been taken for granted, its now hard to find on the ground.
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod President Matthew Harrison shows off his copy of the Book of Concord.
I do not fully share Rod Drehers attitude when it comes to how we as Christians should engage the culture. That said, I can certainly say Amen to this exchange above. Because, to ape Molyneux, Jesus Christ is all that matters.
When I look back at my own life, I have no idea why I am as ferociously Christian Lutheran as I am. Not everyone in my family has kept the faith I hold on to. I think, however, that one thing that was very helpful for me was learning about the history of the Lutheran Church. I am thankful that I learned the content of Martin Luthers Small Catechism as a child, but the importance of the words found therein really changed for me when I learned about the 1580 Book of Concord, otherwise known as the Lutheran Confessions (not even reading Martin Luthers Large Catechism in college really helped me like this did).
Actually, not even that is the full truth. More accurately, the Small Catechism became much more important to me after I learned about the history of the church that produced the Lutheran Confessions. For me, getting in touch with the living history underlying the doctrines in the Book of Concord was essential. As the Reformed commentator Michael Horton likes to put it, the doctrine is in the drama. One notes that this is definitely the case for the churchs book, the Bible. We are creatures who hunger not just for propositional truths, but the meaningful stories that help situate the important things we should know.
To that effect, I cant help but recommend some of the podcasts Pastor Jordan Cooper has been doing on his show lately where he digs into the Lutheran Confessions, giving a good deal of background knowledge along the way. The Small Catechism does indeed cover the core elements of the Christian faith, and we can never get to the bottom of the truths it contains. That said, as we mature and look to get our bearings in life, I think that knowing more about Bible, church history, and the history of the Reformation is critical in these last days to ground us in the faith.
An Introduction to Confessional Christianity
The Ecumenical Creeds and the Augsburg Confession
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Smalcald Articles, and Luthers Catechisms
The Formula of Concord
(Id also be remiss to point out that the fine show Issues ETC. also has done many excellent shows on the Book of Concord).
And that, I think, cant not be good for any nation, including ours.
Now in a revised edition called How Christianity Changed the World.
Images: Molyneux picture from Wikipedia Commons: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ; Pastor Matthew Harrison with BOC from http://mercyjourney.blogspot.com/2009/04/minnie-me-book-of-concord.html
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Want to Save Free Speech? Listen to Rod Dreher, Jordan Cooper, Issues ETC., etc – Patheos (blog)
Posted: at 3:55 am
If youre at all a fan of the First Amendment, there was plenty to like about todays decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down a Florida law that prohibited doctors from asking whether there are guns in the home (heres the full law in question).
But lets focus on the concurring opinion of William Pryor, who was on the short list to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pryor is a conservative, so he took great pains to point out that the decision is not about the Second Amendment; its about the First.
And much of his opinion was aimed strictly at conservatives, apparently anticipating their criticism.
Heres some examples.
If we upheld the Act, we could set a precedent for many other restrictions of potentially unpopular speech. Think of everything the government might seek to ban between doctor and patient as supposedly irrelevant to the practice of medicine. Without the protection of free speech, the government might seek to ban discussion of religion between doctor and patient. The state could stop a surgeon from praying with his patient before surgery or punish a Christian doctor for asking patients if they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior or punish an atheist for telling his patient that religious belief is delusional.
Without the protection of free speech, the government might seek to censor political speech by doctors. The state might prevent doctors from encouraging their patients to vote in favor of universal health care or prohibit a physician from criticizing the Affordable Care Act. Some might argue that such topics are irrelevant to a particular patients immediate medical needs, but the First Amendment ensures that doctors cannot be threatened with state punishment for speech even if it goes beyond diagnosis and treatment.
Pryor said doctors already discuss highly controversial topics with patients. Whether to play football, or telling teenagers to abstain from sex, and recommending organ donation.
He called the very idea a thought experiment and then lowered the boom with this beautiful piece of prose:
If today the majority can censor so-called heresy, then tomorrow a new majority can censor what was yesterday so-called orthodoxy.
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion . . . . Our decision applies this timeless principle to speech between doctors and patients, regardless of the content. The First Amendment requires the protection of ideas that some people might find distasteful because tomorrow the tables might be turned.
Todays decision was not close. The vote was 10-to-1.
The one belonged to Gerald Bard Tjoflat, who is 87 years old and is the longest-service justice in the U.S. Court of Appeals system.
He does see the case as a Second Amendment question:
The majority and I agree that Florida possesses a substantial interest in protecting both Floridians reasonable expectation of privacy during medical treatment and the full exercise of their Second Amendment rights. If that is so, then it is hard to imagine a law more precisely tailored to advance those substantial state interests than the one presently before us. The Act does not categorically restrict the speech of medical professionals on the subject of firearms. Instead, it simply requires an individualized, good faith judgment of the necessity of speech related to firearm ownership to provide competent medical care to a patient.
a constitutional right is a right to be free of governmental restrictions on the exercise of the right it is not a right to be free of private criticism for the exercise of the right, much less private questions about the exercise of the right, law professor Eugene Volokh in his Washington Post column analyzing todays decision. A doctor no more violates your Second Amendment rights by asking you about whether you own a gun than the doctor violates your First Amendment rights by asking you how much TV your children watch, or your Lawrence v. Texas sexual autonomy rights by asking you whether youve been having sex with multiple partners.
Heres the courts full opinion:
Bob Collins has been with Minnesota Public Radio since 1992, emigrating to Minnesota from Massachusetts. He was senior editor of news in the 90s, ran MPRs political unit, created the MPR News regional website, invented the popular Select A Candidate, started the two most popular blogs in the history of MPR and every day laments that his Minnesota Fantasy Legislature project never caught on.
NewsCut is a blog featuring observations about the news. It provides a forum for an online discussion and debate about events that might not typically make the front page. NewsCut posts are not news stories but reflections , observations, and debate.
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First Amendment survives challenge from Florida gun law – Minnesota Public Radio News (blog)
Nash says ‘there’s more to be done’ on diversity at State of the County address – Gwinnettdailypost.com
Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:38 am
Posted: at 1:07 am
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Free Speech, Free Religion, Voting and Taxes
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Letter writer Gary Hartzell makes an interesting statement in his Should Politics From the Pulpit Be Banned? (Letters, Feb. 10). His letter defending the 1954 Johnson Amendment that authorizes tax-exempt status for religious organizations only so …