Europe’s War On Free Speech

Many years ago I met Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff at a dinner in Stoughton, Massachusetts (story here). She told her story of being charged with hate speech for teaching a course about Mohammad that included identifying him as a pedophile (story here).

Today, Reason posted an article about a decision by the European Court of Human Rights that most knowledgeable observers recognize as the case of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. The title of the article is, “European Court: OK to Criminalize Calling Mohammed a Pedophile.”

The article reports:

The case, decided yesterday by the European Court of Human Rights, is E.S. v. Austria — I assume from the facts and from the initials that this is the Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff case. Here’s the court’s own summary:

Criminal conviction and fine for statements accusing the Prophet Muhammad of paedophilia: no violation

Facts – The applicant held seminars with the title “Basic information on Islam” at the right-wing Freedom Party Education Institute. At one such seminar, referring to a marriage which Muhammad had concluded with Aisha, a six-year old, and consummated when she had been nine, she stated inter alia “[Muhammad] liked to do it with children”, “the thing with Aisha and child sex” and “a 56-year-old and a six-year-old? What do you call that? Give me an example? What do we call it, if it is not paedophilia?”

In 2011, as a result of these statements, the applicant was convicted of disparagement of religious precepts pursuant to Article 188 of the Criminal Code. She was sentenced to pay a fine of EUR 480, or serve 60 days of imprisonment in the event of default.

The domestic courts made a distinction between child marriages and paedophilia. In their opinion, by accusing Muhammad of paedophilia, the applicant had merely sought to defame him, without providing evidence that his primary sexual interest in Aisha had been her not yet having reached puberty or that his other wives or concubines had been similarly young. In particular, the applicant had disregarded the fact that the marriage with Aisha had continued until the Prophet’s death, when she had already turned eighteen and had therefore passed the age of puberty.

The thing to remember here is that there is no regard for truth here.  What Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff said about Mohammad is true, but according to Sharia Law, any speech that a Muslim does not like can be considered slander. In a country under Sharia Law, you can be executed for slander. Is Europe moving toward a Sharia Law definition of slander by calling it hate speech? In America we have the First Amendment (at least for now). We need to protect our First Amendment rights because they are somewhat unique–even in the western world. In Britain and Canada pastors have been charged with hate speech for quoting the Bible on such issues as homosexuality. Their pastors are not free to share the Bible in its entirety. In America we need to make sure we elect leaders who will abide by the Constitution and protect free speech.

I strongly suggest you follow the link above to read the entire article at Reason. The thought that you can go to prison for telling the truth is chilling.

 

Americans Are Learning to Fight Back

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about home healthcare workers in Illinois who are fighting for their right not to be part of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The article reports:

Home health aides in Illinois are fighting to recoup $32 million that was taken out of their paychecks in a coercive unionization scheme that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

More than 80,000 home healthcare workers were forced to pay Service Employees International Union (SEIU) hundreds of dollars each year under a policy devised by the now-imprisoned Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Illinois declared that the aides, many of whom were caring for disabled relatives, were public employees since their compensation came through state Medicaid funds.

Pamela Harris, who provided care to a severely disabled daughter, sued the state and union arguing that the arrangement wrongfully deducted money from her check. The Supreme Court ruled in her favor in Harris v. Quinn, declaring the arrangement unconstitutional in 2014.

Some of the healthcare workers in Illinois have filed a class-action suit to get the money that was taken from them returned.

The article further reports:

Workers in Illinois stopped paying SEIU following the suit and now some are waging a class action lawsuit to make the union return deducted cash. Lawyers from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which argued Quinn v. Harris before the Supreme Court, have now taken the battle to federal appeals court. National Right to Work Foundation president Mark Mix said failing to return the money to the aides would set a dangerous precedent, incentivizing unions to continue pushing for forced dues collections.

“If SEIU bosses are not required to return the money they seized in violation of homecare providers’ First Amendment Rights, it will only encourage similar behavior from union officials eager to trample on the First Amendment to enrich themselves at the expense of tens of thousands of homecare providers,” he said in a release.

SEIU, which did not return request for comment, has said that it should not be required to pay back the workers because not all workers opposed union representation. A district court judge ruled in June that individual plaintiffs could recoup several thousand dollars paid to the union beginning in 2008, but nixed the class action status filed on behalf of all the home health aides.

The union is arguing that many of the workers did not object to the arrangement and would have paid the dues if they had been given a choice. So why then weren’t they given a choice? Hopefully the healthcare workers who had their money stolen will be able to get it back.

Losing The First Amendment

Since the 1960’s (and possibly before that) our schools have been undermining the moral fiber of America. It began with teaching young children ‘situational ethics’ and introducing the idea that there really is not right and wrong–everything simply depends on the circumstances. The sexual revolution of the 1060’s further undermined the moral fiber of our culture. Meanwhile, colleges went from signing out of the dorm to go on a date to co-ed dorms. Many of the college students of the late 60’s had their traditional moral values destroyed during their college years. They then had children of their own and raised them accordingly. Our public (and at times, private) education system is largely responsible for destroying the moral fiber of America. Now California wants to pass a law that will accelerate the process and take away one refuge for parents who still believe in traditional morality and are raising their children that way.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about a new law being proposed by the California legislature.

The article explains:

California is considering a new bill that would remove a longstanding exemption from anti-discrimination lawsuits for religious colleges and universities.

The bill could potentially expose schools to civil rights lawsuits from students and employees, according to a report in the Associated Press.

Opponents of the bill, which include some schools, say it is an attack on religious liberty as the exemption allows them to craft campus policies in line with their faith. Religious institutions can currently assign housing through sex, and not on gender identity, and institute moral codes that include sexuality provisions.

How about creating a safe space for people who hold traditional values? A student does not have the right to attend any college he chooses–the college has the final say on who is admitted. By the same logic, if a parent or student does not like the social or moral policies or a college, they have the option of attending school somewhere else. The idea that a school has to bend to the will of a small minority that does not share its values and probably would not want to attend that school is somewhat illogical.

This is an infringement on the First Amendment rights of private schools and colleges. The problem occurs when these institutions accept federal or state money–‘free’ money always comes with strings attached.

The article reports:

Heads of religious colleges told the AP that the legislation would prevent them from signing an agreement with the schools to get state funding for low-income students.

The bill comes as red states have considered or approved laws that conservatives say strengthen religious freedoms. Supporters say such laws enable people to deny services that would violate religious beliefs, while opponents say they enable discrimination against LGBT individuals.

The proposed law illustrates two problems–first, the strings attached to any ‘free’ money, and second, the assault on those Americans who hold to traditional values. It is not my desire to discriminate in any way against members of the LGBT community, but in return, I expect them not to discriminate against my beliefs as well. The First Amendment says that the government cannot limit my freedom to practice my religion. The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act was supposed to further insure that freedom. The fact that Congress thought it was necessary to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act actually tells us all we need to know about the current direction of America.

 

Holding On To Free Speech By A Thread

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a recent vote by the Federal Election Commission.

The article reports:

Finally making good on long-harbored anger at conservative media, Democrats on the Federal Election Commission voted in secret to punish Fox News’ sponsorship of a Republican presidential debate, using an obscure law to charge the network with helping those on stage.

It is the first time in history that members of the FEC voted to punish a media outlet’s debate sponsorship, and it follows several years of Democratic threats against conservative media and websites like the Drudge Report.

The punishment, however, was blocked by all three Republicans on the commission, resulting in a 3-3 tie vote and no action.

The article further explains:

One of the candidates left out filed a complaint to the FEC, charging that Fox was essentially making a contribution to the 17 candidates by letting them have a voice in the debate.

CNN did the same thing, but there is no indication that they faced a complaint.

The quote “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is attributed to Thomas Jefferson. Regardless of who made the statement, the quote applies to today. There are Americans who want to take away our First and Second Amendment rights. We need to watch the votes in Congress and the Congressional appointments and remove those people from office at the first opportunity to vote.

 

Wasting The Time Of The Local Deputy Sheriff

Yesterday The Conservative Tribune posted an article about an incident in Palmdale, California, that illustrates the erosion of free speech in America.

The article reports:

The boy, a student at Desert Rose Elementary School in Palmdale, always got an encouraging note along with a Bible verse packed in his lunch every day. Other students were curious about the notes, packed by his mother, Christina Zavala, and expressed that they, too, would like to have some.

Zavala was more than happy to oblige.

The above story is a very simple example of how little kids do things–if your mom puts something in your lunch box that is unique, the other kids want one too.

The story continues:

However, it didn’t take long for school officials to put an end to the sharing. On April 18, Zavala was told by a teacher that her son could no longer share the Bible verses at school, but he could share them outside the school gate after the bell rang.

Apparently that was not enough, and on May 9, the school’s principal banned sharing Bible verses on school property altogether, citing school policy.

And just to make sure the family understood the school’s firm stance, a deputy sheriff was dispatched to the Zavala’s home to reinforce the message.

What law was broken? Why would a deputy sheriff visit the child’s home? What is the school afraid of? Does the child not have First Amendment rights?

This is the correct response to the school principal‘s actions:

Attorney Richard Mast, who represented the Zavala family, told Fox News the visit was “outrageous and should shock the conscious of every freedom-loving American.”

“Apparently all the real criminals have been dealt with in Palmdale — and now they’re going after kids who share Bible verses during lunch time,” he added.

Raul Maldonado, superintendent of Palmdale School District, said he was reviewing the matter and did not answer questions regarding the sheriff’s visit to the Zavala’s residence.

Liberty Counsel has demanded the school stop suppressing and censoring the religious freedom of students. If they do not comply, they could face a federal lawsuit.

Little kids share. Let them.

 

The Move To Shut Down Free Speech

For a number of years, we have had a problem on our college campuses with free speech. Conservative speakers have been shouted down or prevented from giving commencement addresses. This is not new; it goes back a few years. In 1992, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was prevented from giving a speech at Cooper Union.

The New York Times reported on October 3, 1992:

Knots of demonstrators in the college’s Great Hall, where Abraham Lincoln spoke on slavery in 1860, prevented Governor Casey from delivering his speech, “Can a Liberal Be Pro-Life?” at the Cooper Union School of Architecture. Nat Hentoff, a writer for The Voice who introduced Governor Casey, repeatedly begged and scolded the demonstrators to let the Governor speak. “Murderers have no right to speak,” demonstrators shouted back, referring to arguments that women will die in illegal abortions if abortion is outlawed.

Because Governor Casey was pro-life, he was shouted down by demonstrators. He was also blocked from giving his pro-life views at the Democratic convention which nominated Bill Clinton in July 1992.

Now the anti-free-speech people are trying to shut down the Republican presidential primary.

Yesterday The Washington Times reported the following:

Moveon.Org is conducting fundraising activities from the Chicago protests against Donald Trump that prompted the Republican presidential front-runner to cancel a rally there Friday, and promises that more disruptions are on the way.

“Last night, without consulting local police, Donald Trump abruptly cancelled a rally in Chicago in the face of massive and overwhelmingly peaceful student-led protests,” MoveOn.org wrote in an email Saturday to members. “We’re being flooded with aggressive emails and social media posts from Trump supporters. Some of them are threatening. We refuse to be intimidated by Donald Trump, Fox News, or anyone else.”

So let me get this right–Moveon.Org is promising more disruptions and then accusing Donald Trump and Fox News of threatening them?

The article further quotes the email:

“We’ve been ramping up our efforts for months — from the ‘We Are Better Than This’ ad we helped organize in The New York Times in December, to our collective advocacy for refugees under attack from the GOP, to the support we provided students in Chicago last night by printing signs and a banner and recruiting MoveOn.org members to join their peaceful protest. We need to double-down in the face of direct attacks on our community,” the email read.

There is nothing peaceful about these protests. They are orchestrated by the same people who put together Occupy Wall Street and the anarchists that routinely disrupt economic summits. This is an effort to shut down free speech that the protesters disagree with. Because our colleges no longer practice free speech, it doesn’t occur to our young people that other people have the right to speak. The roots of this problem go back to the failure of our educational system to teach our rights under the U.S. Constitution and also to instill basic values into our children.

Behind The Story

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted a list of the groups that were responsible for the riots that happened in Chicago in relation to the cancelled Trump appearance there.

Some highlights from the article:

ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Chicago is the Chicago franchise of an international network started in the wake of 9/11 and among the first to protest against a response in Afghanistan; since then the group is involved in most of the radical left’s favorite causes: anti-capitalist, pro-union, open borders, anti-war, anti-police causes. The day after the Trump rally the group was holding a forum entitled “Taking Action to Support Palestine.”

Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Rights Reform (ICIRR)

This radical leftist group, specializing in immigration, is a more extreme version of the far left version of National Council on La Raza in Illinois.

The group was featured in an article profiling some of the groups intending to protest Trump’s rally in the left-wing website, Progress Illinois on March 8 entitled “New Americans Hit The Polls In Chicago As Immigrant Advocates Gear Up For Anti-Trump Protest.”

…La Raza Chicago

 The Chicago branch of the notoriously radical pro-illegal immigration group had people on site and detailing the events in a post on its site.

Donald Trump canceled its event Friday night at the University of Illinois at Chicago, for safety reasons, including the thousands of protesters who gathered inside and outside the venue,” read an English translation of the post, “protesting his presence, which has already caused confrontations with supporters of Trump and the authorities.”

I have no problem with protesting anyone’s presence, the problem occurs when the protests prevent someone from exercising their First Amendment rights. These protesters were similar to the anarchists who routinely disrupt international economic meetings. When they cross the line between protest and violence, they need to be arrested. These groups do not add to our representative republic, they undermine it.

One Government Agency Stuck On Stupid

Today’s Washington Times posted an article about the U.S. Labor Department’s Center for Civil Rights. In order to celebrate it’s recent accomplishments, the managers threw a football-themed tailgate party for the staff in the office parking lot. Sounds like fun, right? Well, it was a great idea until political correctness reared its ugly head.

The article reports:

Even the regular office dress policy was relaxed. “Show your team spirit and wear your favorite sports or club theme gear and come and enjoy tailgating favorites like dips, chili, chicken wings, nachos and more game-day grub,” the invite said.

There was only stipulation: no Washington Redskins jerseys, paraphernalia or memorabilia.

“It has been respectfully requested that employees voluntarily refrain from wearing clothing or other sports memorabilia that promote Washington D.C.’s professional football team, the Redskins, or other teams that use names, characters, etc. that may portray American Indians or other cultures in a derogatory manner,” an asterisk-marked note at the bottom of the invitation reader.

Isn’t it part of my First Amendment rights and civil rights to be able to wear whatever national football league jersey I want to? Are some national football league teams more equal than others? The part of the name that all Americans should be ashamed of is not Redskins–it’s Washington.

Listen To The Words Used

One of the easiest ways to win an argument is to redefine the definitions of the words used. One of the arguments used by the gay community in its search for gay marriage has been that it is a civil right and that to oppose gay marriage is discrimination. Notice that there is no room in that definition for a Bible-based view of marriage or a religious objection. So what is the goal of the militant gay community now that they have achieved the goal of gay marriage? Paul Strand‘s interview of Rea Carey, an American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activist, shows us the next step. The interview was shown in the first three minutes of CBN’s the 700 Club on Friday.

Paul Strand describes Ms. Carey as a national gay leader who can help stop the targeting of Christian bakers, florists, wedding photographers and such who don’t want to service gay weddings. He asked her if she’d consider a cease fire after the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. He describes her answer as a pretty firm, “No.”

Ms. Carey stated:

“We will continue to do work in the country to make sure that everyone’s right to their own personal beliefs are protected, but that people actually do get to celebrate, that they get to choose who they want around them when they get married, that they get the cake they want, the flower they want, so religion should not be used as a means to discriminate against others, it should be one’s own personal beliefs.”

Take a look at that statement. The LGBT movement will not stop until Christians and others who hold a view supporting traditional marriage are not allowed to practice their beliefs in the public square. Ms. Carey is defining religion as a personal belief that is not permitted in the public square or the business community. Christian beliefs in the public square or the business community are not to be honored. We are losing the free exercise of religion stated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Is anyone paying attention?

Why Not Just Get Rid Of The Stupid Law ?

From the time America began, the Church has had a role to play in the community. When Connecticut was settled, a group of pilgrims to the New World were not allowed to form a community unless they had a Pastor with them. Many of the pulpits of America spoke out against slavery before the War Between the States. The American Revolution was partially fueled from the pulpits of America. Historically, the church matters.

Today’s Daily Caller posted a story about a speech given by Valerie Jarrett in Atlanta on Martin Luther King Day. The speech was given at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The article reports:

On Sunday President Barack Obama’s controversial aide, Valerie Jarrett, used the Ebenezer pulpit to tell the congregation that the jobs of teachers, police and firefighters “are now in jeopardy because Congress — well, let me be specific — because [of] the Republicans in Congress.”

According to current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules:

“Voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention,” according to the IRS website.

Erik Stanley, a senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), has stated that if the church is charged with violating IRS rules, the ADF will defend the church. The goal of the ADF is to increase freedom in the pulpit.
 

I don’t believe candidates or political parties should go into churches and raise campaign funds–I find that offensive. But I do believe that the church has the right and the responsibility to provide a moral perspective on the issues of the day. In the case of the Christian church, that would be a Biblical perspective. I also think that it is the responsibility of Christians to be informed voters who understand how our representative republic works.

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