A Temporary Victory For Free Speech

On Saturday, The Daily Wire reported that the gag order placed on President Trump regarding the federal 2020 election case has been paused.

The article reports:

A gag order against former President Donald Trump related to his federal 2020 election case has been paused by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals after Trump filed an emergency request on Thursday saying the order violated his First Amendment rights. 

The court issued an administrative stay, saying that the decision was made to give the judges more time to hear Trump’s arguments. The court said that the ruling “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, had imposed the gag order on Trump Sunday night after Trump criticized former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Chutkan is overseeing special counsel Jack Smith’s federal election case against Trump, who has denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

Imposing a gag order on a leading candidate for public office sets a scary precedent, and I hope it gets entirely removed. There really should be no question as to whether this gag order is unconstitutional, but our legal system has been turned on its head in order to ‘get Trump.’

When Judges Get It Right

On Tuesday, BizPacReview posted an article about a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The article reports:

A federal appeals court ruled 3-0 Tuesday that the Washington D.C. “selectively” used a defacement statute to arrest pro-life activists for chalking a message on the sidewalk while permitting Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors to mark property without consequences.

During the summer of 2020, at the same time thousands of BLM protestors were taking to the streets of Washington, D.C. and covering public spaces with paint and chalk, two pro-life activists were arrested for chalking the words “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter”on a public sidewalk. The Frederick Douglass Foundation and Students for Life of America, who organized the pro-life protest and filed the lawsuit over the arrests, “plausibly alleged” that the statute’s enforcement was viewpoint discrimination, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found.

“The First Amendment prohibits discrimination on the basis of viewpoint irrespective of the government’s motive,” Circuit Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, wrote in the opinion for the court. “We hold the Foundation has plausibly alleged the District discriminated on the basis of viewpoint in the selective enforcement of its defacement ordinance.”

“The District all but abandoned enforcement of the defacement ordinance during the Black Lives Matter protests, creating a de facto categorical exemption for individuals who marked ‘Black Lives Matter’ messages on public and private property,” the ruling states.

Seems like some of the January 6th protesters should seek equal treatment with the rioters of the summer of 2020.

Score One For The Good Guys

On Thursday, The Conservative Review reported the following:

The city of Moscow, Idaho, will be forking over $300,000 in a settlement with church members who were arrested in 2020 for ignoring a mask mandate during an outdoor “psalm sing.”

Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet filed a civil lawsuit against the city and several city employees following the September 2020 incident, KHQ-TV reported.

The article also notes:

Among the settlement terms, the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program will pay the $300,000, the station said, and all claims against the city will be dismissed with prejudice; there also will be a release of all liability.

Anything else?

Christ Church pastor and event organizer Ben Zornes told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News at the time that the event was aimed at criticizing what he called a “largely groundless” mask order, KTVB-TV reported, adding that the city council issued it to slow the COVID spread.

Rench added to KTVB that the church has held these events before but there hadn’t been arrests before.

The pandemic was an excuse to override many of the civil rights of Americans that are supposed to be guaranteed by our Constitution. All of us need to keep that in mind in the future–according to our Founding Fathers, our rights are given to us by God and guaranteed by our Constitution. It is our responsibility to protect those rights and push back when the government tries to take away those rights.

 

Always Keep The Camera On Your Cell Phone Handy

On June 6, Newsweek posted an article about Damon Atkins, a Christian who was arrested in Reading, Pennsylvania, for shouting Bible verses during a gay pride event. I am not necessarily a fan of shouting anything, but I believe we do have free speech in this country.

The article reports:

The incident took place on Tuesday morning at a public Pride Month event in Reading, a Pennsylvania city located roughly 64 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The man, Damon Atkins, was captured on video in an altercation with police patrolling near the event after he attempted to shout a verse from Corinthians.

“Let them have their day,” an officer said to Atkins. “Respect it.”

…The officer, as seen in the clip, briefly moved to stand between Atkins and the crowd at the event, but turned back as he resumed reading the verse and arrested him.

…Responding to an inquiry from the conservative news outlet, the Daily Caller, the Reading Police Department said that Atkins was not arrested for reciting Bible verses, but rather for disorderly conduct due to his volume.

“He was not arrested for reading a bible verse,” a police spokesperson told the outlet. “He was arrested for being disorderly. His volume was at a level that he was heckling a preplanned and permitted event. He was given an area he was allowed to protest in, and was asked to keep volume at a level that was not problematic or that was inciting public inconvenience.”

Later, police claimed that Atkins engaged in fighting.

On June 11, Jonathan Turley reported:

The Berks County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that it is dropping charges against Damon Atkins after the preacher was arrested citing the Bible in protest of an LGBTQ Pride event in Reading, Pennsylvania. The only reason that the charges were dropped is that a third party videotaped the scene and disproved the account of the arresting officer. Ironically, Atkins was reciting 1 Corinthians 14:33 that begins “For God is not the author of confusion.” That role appears to rest with the Reading police, which processed a wildly exaggerated account of the encounter.

Atkins was arrested on June 6 for “disorderly conduct, engaged in fighting.” However,  a video of Atkins’ encounter with the police officer disproved the officer’s statement, as acknowledged in a press release.

For many, the case is likely reminiscent of the arrest of the woman for praying near an abortion clinic in Britain. Fortunately, this case was dropped.

Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach admitted that the arrest of Atkins was “unlawful” and “could open the City of Reading and their police department to legal action.”

Jonathan Turley’s article concludes:

What is notable is that, absent the videotape, Atkins would have had a difficult time refuting that he engaged in fighting. What is equally notable is the lack of any public statement on the repercussions for an officer making such a false charge. This was clearly a protest that was protected under the First Amendment. The violation of Atkins’ rights should result in something more than a shrug and dismissal of the charges.

I question the wisdom of going to a gay pride event and shouting Bible verses, but this story illustrates the fact that ALL Americans need to know their rights and be willing to stand up for them. Thank God for that videotape.

 

Religious Freedom?

On Saturday, American Greatness reported the following:

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) terminated a Catholic pastoral care contract with a community of Franciscan Catholic priests and friars during Holy Week, barring them from providing religious services to the faithful throughout the most sacred days of the Christian calendar.  In a statement Friday, the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) decried the move as a violation of First Amendment Right to Free Exercise of Religion.

The naval hospital has issued a “cease and desist order” to Holy Name College, directing their Catholic priests and brothers to cease any religious services at Walter Reed Bethesda. Holy Name College has provided pastoral care to service members and veterans at Walter Reed for nearly two decades.

Below is part of the statement released by the Archdiocese for the Military Services:

The Franciscans’ contract for Catholic Pastoral Care was terminated on March 31, 2023, and awarded to a secular defense contracting firm that cannot fulfill the statement of work in the contract. As a result, adequate pastoral care is not available for service members and veterans in the United States’ largest Defense Health Agency medical center either during Holy Week or beyond. There is one Catholic Army chaplain assigned to Walter Reed Medical Center, but he is in the process of separating from the Army.

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, condemned the move as an encroachment on the First Amendment guarantee of the Free Exercise of Religion. Archbishop Broglio said: “It is incomprehensible that essential pastoral care is taken away from the sick and the aged when it was so readily available. This is a classic case where the adage ‘if it is not broken, do not fix it’ applies. I fear that giving a contract to the lowest bidder overlooked the fact that the bidder cannot provide the necessary service. I earnestly hope that this disdain for the sick will be remedied at once and their First Amendment rights will be respected.”

Ms. Elizabeth A. Tomlin, Esq., General Counsel of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), has reached out to the contracting officers at Walter Reed numerous times throughout Holy Week asking for the Franciscans’ Catholic ministry to be reinstated at least through Easter. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has not responded to these requests from the Archdiocese.

While Walter Reed’s chaplain office claims Catholic care is being provided during Holy Week, the AMS maintains that without Catholic priests present at the medical center, service members and veterans are being denied the constitutional right to practice their religion.

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is one of many medical centers within the Department of Defense and Defense Health Agency whose pastoral care lies within AMS jurisdiction. The refusal to provide adequate pastoral care while awarding a contract for Catholic ministry to a for-profit company that has no way of providing Catholic priests to the medical center is a glaring violation of service members’ and veterans’ Right to the Free Exercise of Religion. Especially, during Holy Week, the lack of adequate Catholic pastoral care causes untold and irreparable harm to Catholics who are hospitalized and therefore a captive population whose religious rights the government has a constitutional duty to provide for and protect.

This is an obvious violation of both the First Amendment and of basic American customs. The North Carolina legislature passed a law that prevented hospitals from prohibiting pastors and priests from ministering to patients in the hospital (even during the pandemic). This should NOT stand.

Losing Our Religious Freedom

On Tuesday, The Daily Caller posted an article about a new Department of Education (DOE) proposal. This proposal illustrates one of many reasons we should defund the Department of Education.

The article reports:

The Department of Education (DOE) announced a proposal Tuesday rescinding a Trump-era policy that prohibited universities from receiving federal funding if they restricted religious student group activities.

The 2020 policy, initially signed by former President Donald Trump as part of an executive order in 2019, was proposed to prevent universities from censoring the speech of religious students on campus, according to the Washington Post. The DEO’s recent announcement indicates that President Joe Biden is looking to end the policy, claiming the protections caused an “unduly burdensome role” for the department.

“[T]he Department believes it is not necessary in order to protect the First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion given existing legal protections, it has caused confusion about schools’ nondiscrimination requirements, and it prescribed a novel and unduly burdensome role for the Department in investigating allegations regarding public institutions’ treatment of religious student organizations,” the announcement read. “We have not seen evidence that the regulation has provided meaningfully increased protection for religious student organizations beyond the robust First Amendment protections that already exist, much less that it has been necessary to ensure they are able to organize and operate on campus.”

Free speech on college campuses has never been one of the political left’s favorite things. How many times have conservative speakers been shut down?

Here is the good news:

The public comment phase will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and remain open for 30 days for anyone to comment and provide their thoughts on the proposal, according to the announcement.

Please go to the Department of Education website and voice your opposition to this change.

The War On Christian Organizations

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about a recent court case in Washington state.

The article reports:

When the Washington Supreme Court gutted protections for religious employers in a state antidiscrimination law, it threw down the gauntlet against both federal law and several federal appeals courts, according to Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM).

The Christian homeless ministry is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling, and last week several prominent Christian service ministries, Washington state lawmakers, a third of the states and even a Muslim group joined its cause, filing friend-of-the-court briefs.

Bisexual lawyer Matthew Woods sued UGM for not hiring him for its legal aid clinic because he was in a same-sex relationship in violation of its lifestyle rules for employees. The state high court ruled UGM could only apply the rules to “ministerial” employees, not other staff.

Yet the Washington Law Against Discrimination has exempted religious nonprofits since its passage in 1949, and that protection was reaffirmed when sexual orientation was added in 2006, according to a brief by 19 Washington Republican lawmakers, mostly in committee and party leadership.

They cited more than 300 years of religious accommodations in military service, oath-taking, medical treatment, abortion services and civil rights, including the employment-focused Title VII, which recognizes religious employers’ First Amendment rights to only hire “coreligionists.”

The state high court showed “shocking antireligious animus” against UGM and endangered similar organizations as well as private schools and even houses of worship, who are “left without legal protection from intrusive and potentially ruinous employment-related enforcement actions and lawsuits,” the GOP lawmakers said.

These groups will suffer “an actual chilling effect” if they have to predict “which of their activities the Washington State Human Rights Commission or a secular court will consider religious.” They cited the controlling precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with World Vision for firing technical and office employees who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity.

This is actually a very simple matter. Would you expect a private company to hire someone who objected to the goals of the company? Would you hire someone who opposed fracking to lead a company whose business is fracking? There are many charitable organizations that operate according to Biblical principles. Are you willing to put these companies out of business when they are providing a much-needed service?

The article notes:

Franklin Graham also leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Its brief says the obligation to proclaim the gospel “extends to all of its employees — from accountants to event planners to Rev. Franklin Graham himself — because every employee is a member of the Body of Christ,” and “every task is purposed for the furtherance of the Gospel, and accordingly, has eternal significance.”

The association was especially alarmed by Justice Yu’s concurrence, which characterized its right to hire coreligionists as a “right to discriminate” and urged religious organizations to only use faith in hiring decisions when “absolutely necessary and grounded in sound reason and purpose.”

A long line of cases makes clear that “civil courts are not equipped to second-guess a religious organization’s determination of whether a given employee or applicant is a coreligionist” without endangering First Amendment rights, the association argues.

We need the religious charities and the work that they do. The government has no business limiting their ability to conform to their religious beliefs.

Regaining Our Right To The Free Exercise Of Religion

Yesterday Just the News reported that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that three University of Iowa officials can be held personally liable for derecognizing a Christian student club over its leadership requirements.

The article reports:

The law is “clearly established” that government officials cannot practice viewpoint discrimination, as administrators did by enforcing a “human rights” policy against Business Leaders in Christ but not other student groups, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined.

It’s exceedingly rare for courts to deny “qualified immunity” to public actors for violating constitutional rights. Litigants must point to court precedents that officials should have known were binding on their specific behavior, making it unlawful.

Yet the University of Iowa is likely to suffer a second loss on qualified immunity in a closely related case involving a different Christian club, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Oral arguments for each case were four months apart, and both went badly for the university.

The three-judge panel upheld two constitutional claims by Business Leaders in Christ but divided on the third claim, on whether administrators should have known they were violating the club’s free exercise rights.

In a concurrence and dissent, Judge Jonathan Kobes said all three claims should have been upheld.

“The law is clear: state organizations may not target religious groups for differential treatment or withhold an otherwise available benefit solely because they are religious,” he wrote. “The individual defendants may pick their poison: they are either plainly incompetent or they knowingly violated the Constitution.”

I suspect this may not be the end of these lawsuits.

Testing The First Amendment

On Wednesday The Informed American posted an article about Mike Lindell’s fight to preserve his First Amendment rights.

The article reports:

Do you want to know what exactly the First Amendment protects? When you get right down to the granular level? Unpopular speech.

It protects the drunk in the bar when he talks crap about everyone that walks in. It protects that guy at the football game who is rooting for the other team. It protects when you have a conservative that is trying to tell you the truth about how the election was rigged and stolen, and the liberals among us want to silence them.

Now, we all know one of the quickest ways to get someone to shut up is to sue them, especially if you think they have nobody backing their play…except this one does…

This is fantastic! Mike Lindell is getting advice from one of America’s greatest legal minds, so he can do battle with the evil empire known as Dominion. The same Dominion that robbed you and I of true democracy.

Alan Dershowitz is reportedly coming to the aid of Mike Lindell, giving him advice for the upcoming lawsuit. I am EXTREMELY excited about this, because Dershowitz is a legal juggernaut.

Armed with Dersh, I am pretty sure Mike Lindell will win his defamation suit, and he might just be able to turn the tide against Dominion.

To clarify, Alan Dershowitz has stated that he is playing a limited, advisory role in the lawsuit. He has stated that he is simply offering advice on the First Amendment issues involved in the lawsuit. I think Alan Dershowitz’s advice in any capacity would be invaluable.

What Has Happened To Our Supreme Court?

As I am sure you remember, the Democrats have threatened to pack the Supreme Court if it rules against their agenda items (many of which are unconstitutional). That may explain why Chief Justice Roberts has made some very questionable rulings lately.

On March 8, The Federalist posted an article about a recent dissent by Chief Justice Roberts.

The article reports:

Chief Justice John Roberts was the only dissenter in the U.S Supreme Court’s most recent ruling favoring a couple of Christian students who challenged their university for restricting when, where, and how they could speak about their faith and disseminate materials on campus.

The article includes the following Tweet:

When have eight of the Supreme Court Justices agreed on anything?

The article at The Federalist summarizes the case:

Uzuegbunam et al. v. Preczewski et al. first materialized after Chike Uzuegbunam, a student at Georgia Gwinnett College, was stopped by campus police for handing out religious materials on campus, a reported violation of the school’s “Freedom of Expression Policy,” which limited distributions and other expressions to free speech zones only with permission from the administration. Even after Uzuegbunam moved to the designated areas with permission, however, campus police attempted to stop him from speaking and handing out religious literature, prompting him and another student, Joseph Bradford, to take legal action against the university for violating their First and 14th Amendment rights and seek nominal damages.

The students’ attempts to sue the school, however, were shot down by both a district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit after Georgia Gwinnett College changed its “Freedom of Expression” policy to remove barriers on when and where students could speak on campus and filed a motion to dismiss the case as moot. The Supreme Court took up the case after Uzuegbunam and Bradford noted that their rights were still violated no matter what the university modified its policy to reflect and still required a ruling on nominal damages.

Justice Clarence Thomas authored the opinion of the court, agreeing with the students’ case.

The student’s First Amendment rights were violated. What other recourse did he have but to sue the school?

This Seems Odd To Me

The New York Post posted an article today about a memo written by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to every member of the U.S. military.

The article reports:

The Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a rare warning to every member of the US military, damning the Capitol riots as an illegal “assault” on democracy — and forewarning that “violence, sedition and insurrection” will not be tolerated.

“The violent riot in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process,” the military’s top leaders told troops Tuesday in an internal memo, calling it “inconsistent with the rule of law.”

While the seven generals and one admiral — including chairman Gen. Mark Milley — did not directly accuse military members of involvement with the “unprecedented” siege, it was a clear warning against involvement in feared plans for more revolts.

“As service members, we must embody the values and ideals of the nation. We support and defend the Constitution,” the Joint Chiefs reminded troops.

“Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law,” they wrote.

“The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.”

Some military veterans have been charged over the riots, including a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel photographed holding zip-tie handcuffs on a chamber floor.

An Army psychological warfare officer is among the active-duty members known to be being investigated after she admitted to taking at least 100 people to President Trump’s rally before the siege.

My understanding is that as long as she was not in uniform, she had every right to take part in the rally. Obviously she had no right to take part in what went on in the Capitol, but there is no evidence that she took part in that. If she is punished in any way for taking part in the rally, then we have a problem. Her First Amendment rights as a private citizen have been violated. There is a valid lawsuit here.

Losing Your Job For Attending A Rally

Townhall posted an article today about a public school teacher in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who attended the Trump rally in Washington on Wednesday.

The article reports:

Hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to protest an election many consider to be unfair. One of those attendees, a public school teacher in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has been relieved of duty pending a formal investigation into his attendance at Wednesday’s protest. 

“Because of the emotion and controversy stirred by the events of January 6, 2021, the teacher has been temporarily relieved of his teaching duties until the School District can complete a formal investigation of his involvement,” reads a statement from Allentown School District Superintendent Thomas Parker. 

You can now be relieved of duty because people are emotional. 

The article concludes:

The superintendent said the district remains committed to meeting “the academic, social, and emotional needs” of students.

“Thank you for your support in creating a safe, equitable, and inclusive environment for students to raise questions and develop a diversity of perspectives about our community, our nation, and the world in which we live,” Thomas added. 

The statement was also provided in Spanish.

Everybody has come out and condemned the rioting that took place on Wednesday. Those who engage in criminal acts at protests should absolutely be prosecuted (and not bailed out by Democrats). But those who peacefully protest are exercising their First Amendment rights and should not be at risk of losing their jobs. Just because some in the protest engaged in criminal acts, doesn’t mean you did. If we changed that standard, just about every elected Democrat would be out of work, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world but you can’t count on Democrats to apply rules to themselves. They’re big on rules for thee but not for me. 

Firing a teacher for attending a rally does not seem like it encourages diversity. I sincerely hope a large lawsuit follows. The school superintendent is violating the teacher’s First Amendment rights.

Violating The First Amendment

On Monday The Christian Post posted an article about a recent lawsuit in California. As you know, the coronavirus has allowed the governors of some states to exercise power that exceeds their constitutional authority. Governor Gavin Newsom did this when he closed down churches in his state. Grace Community Church, led by Pastor John MacArthur made a decision to hold indoor worship services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The County of Los Angeles has taken an action that appears to be in retaliation for that decision.

The article reports:

Los Angeles County has notified Grace Community Church, led by Pastor John MacArthur, that it will soon be evicted from a parcel of land it uses as a parking lot — a move lawyers say is retaliation for the church’s decision to hold indoor worship services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter dated Aug. 28, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works informed the Sun Valley-based church that on Oct. 1, it is being evicted from a large portion of the parking lot of the church that has been in place continuously since 1975.

The county warns that if Grace Community Church fails to vacate the premise as required, “the District may enter the premises and remove Grace’s personal property in accordance with the Agreement and applicable law, and Grace will be responsible for any resultant expenses incurred by the District.”

Jenna Ellis, special counsel to Thomas More Society, said the move is clearly in retaliation for the church’s decision to fight Los Angeles County’s ban on indoor church worship services.

“Los Angeles County is retaliating against Grace Community Church for simply exercising their constitutionally protected right to hold church and challenging an unreasonable, unlawful health order,” Ellis said.

“In America, we have a judicial system to ensure that the executive branch does not abuse its power, and Grace Community Church has every right to be heard without fear of reprisal. The Democrats’ message to Americans is clear—if you don’t bow to every whim of tyranny, the government will come after you. The Church has peacefully held this lease for 45 years and the only reason the County is attempting eviction is because John MacArthur stood up to their unconstitutional power grab. This is harassment, abusive, and unconscionable.”

The First Amendment 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 for a redress of grievances.

Governor Newsom has shown a total disrespect for that concept. The County probably does have the right to terminate the lease, but the decision to do that is petty and harmful to the community. Elections matter, and voters need to consider the actions of all the people involved in this when they vote.

Nevada Says No To Church And Yes To Casinos And The Supreme Court Agrees

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about a Supreme Court decision that was released last night. Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley had petitioned the Court to have the same standards of occupancy that casinos have under Nevada pandemic rules. Governor Steve Sisolak has put in place pandemic rules that limit houses of worship to 50 people regardless of size, compared to casinos and restaurants that have higher limits set at fifty percent of capacity.

The article reports:

No supporting opinion was released by the Court, just the decision: “The application for injunctive relief presented to JUSTICE KAGAN and by her referred to the Court is denied.”

Three of the four dissenting justices wrote opinions, with the one by Justice Neil Gorsuch being short and sharp:

JUSTICE GORSUCH, dissenting from denial of application for injunctive relief.

“This is a simple case. Under the Governor’s edict, a 10-screen “multiplex” may host 500 moviegoers at any time. A casino, too, may cater to hundreds at once, with perhaps six people huddled at each craps table here and a similar number gathered around every roulette wheel there. Large numbers and close quarters are fine in such places. But churches, synagogues, and mosques are banned from admitting more than 50 worshippers—no matter how large the building, how distant the individuals, how many wear face masks, no matter the precautions at all. In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion. The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

All three dissents, by Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, can be read at the Supreme Court website.

The article quotes Senator Tom Cotton’s reaction to the ruling:

“Freedom of religion is our first freedom. Yet SCOTUS has ruled that casinos can host hundreds of gamblers, while churches cannot welcome their full congregations. Justice Roberts once again got it wrong, shamefully closing church doors to their flocks.”

I don’t know where we go to get our First Amendment rights back. I hope enough people are paying attention so that we will get them back.

Just In Case You Haven’t Heard The Full Story Yet…

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article that includes a statement by United States Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan. As you probably know, the mainstream media accused President Trump of having peaceful protesters dispersed with tear gas so that he could walk across Lafayette Park and the National Mall.

This is the statement from the Park Police:

The United States Park Police (USPP) is committed to the peaceful expression of First Amendment rights. However, this past weekend’s demonstrations at Lafayette Park and across the National Mall included activities that were not part of a peaceful protest, which resulted in injuries to USPP officers in the line of duty, the destruction of public property and the defacing of memorials and monuments. During four days of demonstrations, 51 members of the USPP were injured; of those, 11 were transported to the hospital and released and three were admitted.

Multiple agencies assisted the USPP in responding to and quelling the acts of destruction and violence over the course of the weekend in order to protect citizens and property.

On Monday, June 1, the USPP worked with the United States Secret Service to have temporary fencing installed inside Lafayette Park. At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.

To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.

Unfortunately the mainstream media chose to lie to make President Trump look bad rather than to tell the truth. This sort of lying is a major cause of the divisions in our country. People who depend on the mainstream media are simply not being told the truth.

The Double Standard At Work

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an editorial contrasting the news coverage of the protests asking the government to reopen businesses and churches and the news coverage of the riots that are currently happening in some of America’s major cities. First of all–it is no longer a protest when the first brick is thrown or the first building is set on fire, yet the media continues to refer to these events are protests.

The editorial notes:

Just a couple of weeks ago the media was fretting that anti-lockdown protests were endangering the public by gathering in crowds and refusing to wear masks. They were compared to Nazis for wanting to reopen their businesses and go back to work.

Now, thousands of people egged on by Antifa are rioting and looting in multiple American cities. But the media is treating these “protesters” with kid gloves. MSNBC’s Ali Velshi stood in front of a burning building while claiming the Minneapolis riots were mostly peaceful, and Joy Reid tried to blame white supremacists for the uprising.

The first step to dealing with something is correctly naming it. Incorrectly naming something is one way to control a narrative. As long as the media can convince Americans that the looting and burning they are seeing is simply a protest, they can avoid addressing the lawlessness of what is happening. Looters are arsonists are criminals who need to be arrested. Protestors are people peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. There is a difference.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment 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 for a redress of grievances.

Yesterday The Blaze posted an article about a drive-in church service in Mississippi that resulted in those present receiving tickets for $500 for attending. Just for the record, the cars had their windows closed and were following social distancing guidelines.

The article reports:

Temple Baptist members were staying in their vehicles with the windows rolled up to listen to Pastor Arthur Scott’s sermon on the radio, the paper said.

Lee Gordon — a 23-year member of the church as well as a representative for the Washington County Board of Supervisors — told the Democrat-Times the church has been using a low-power FM frequency to broadcast sermons in the parking lot for the last three weeks.

“The preacher is in the church at the pulpit, and we are streaming the service live as well,” Gordon added to the paper. “But a lot of our membership is elderly and [lacks access to streaming technology].”

Gordon told the Democrat-Times he and his wife were among those gathered in the church parking lot — and figured they all were abiding by the coronavirus social distancing guidelines given they were in their cars with the windows rolled up.

But that wasn’t the case — and they paid for it.

Gordon told the paper he and his wife were both issued $500 tickets.

“I think somebody called the police,” he added to the Democrat-Times. “And we were just doing the same thing we’ve been doing the last three weeks.”

Gordon noted to the paper that the police “were respectful and just doing their job. They asked us to leave first, and those who stayed got a ticket.”

This is not acceptable behavior. I might be a little more forgiving if the people had been packed inside the church, but they were in their cars following social distancing guidelines. There is no way the city had the right to shut that down. Unfortunately, that may happen in my city tomorrow as some churches are planning to do drive-in services.

Again, if the people are in their cars with the windows rolled up, how is that a problem? This is an obvious violation of the First Amendment and it is good news that court cases will follow.

The article concludes:

And as it happens, First Liberty Institute — which is representing Hamilton and his church — sent a letter to Simmons (Democratic Mayor of Greenville Errick Simmons) urging him to withdraw his executive order, WJTV-TV reported.

“Protecting religious liberty is essential, even during a pandemic,” Jeremy Dys, special counsel for litigation and communications at First Liberty, told the station. “Americans can tolerate a lot, if it means demonstrating love for their fellow man, but they will not — nor should not — tolerate churchgoers being ticketed by the police for following CDC guidelines at church. This has to stop now.”

This is not acceptable. I wonder how long it will be before we get our First Amendment rights back.

How Does This Make Sense?

On Saturday, BizPacReview posted an article about some recent comments made by Fox News Analyst Juan Williams.

The article reports:

Fox News co-host Juan Williams vehemently disagreed with the praise for President Trump’s appearance at the March For Life rally, saying his attendance further “divides the country.”

The liberal co-host of “The Five” delivered his tone-deaf argument on Friday’s show, criticizing Trump for what many have lauded as a powerful message with his appearance at Friday’s event, making him the first sitting U.S. president to address the March for Life rally in person.

In January 2017, Real Clear Politics reported the following:

If politicians really want to show that they trust American women, then they should follow the advice of the overwhelming majority of us and restrict abortion in meaningful ways.

This means supporting the president’s action to ban funding of abortion internationally, which is supported by 83 percent of women, and same percentage of all Americans.

This means limiting abortion substantially through legislation. Nationwide, 77 percent of women support limiting abortion to – at most – the first trimester. That is slightly higher than the percentage of all Americans – 74 percent. Laws restricting abortion should be embraced, not resisted.

And 61 percent of women think it is important, or an immediate priority, for our government to restrict abortion in this way, a slightly higher percentage than the 59 percent of all Americans who hold this position.

Not surprisingly, the majority of American women (59 percent) say abortion is morally wrong, the same percentage of all Americans who agree.

And a majority of women (51 percent) believe that abortion causes more harm than good in the long run; 50 percent of all Americans agree.

According to Juan Williams, is the President prohibited from speaking out or supporting controversial issues? Doesn’t the President have the same First Amendment rights that all Americans have?

I don’t think abortion is what divides the country–I think that biased news that only reports things that support their agenda is actually what divides the country. Right Wing Granny is a politically-biased site–it says so in the title. I share facts, but I share them with opinion. It is very difficult right now to watch the mainstream media and find unbiased information–while the mainstream media is totally unwilling to admit that it is biased.

No, President Trump has not divided the country–those who despise the fact that he was elected and are willing to do anything to undermine his presidency are dividing the country.

Losing Our First Amendment Rights

On Tuesday, The Christian Post posted an article about a bill recently signed into law in New York State.

The article reports:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law that prohibits churches and other nonprofits from campaigning for or against political candidates.

Cuomo signed Senate Bill S4347 last week, creating a state-level equivalent to the current federal Johnson Amendment, which bans electioneering among nonprofits.

In a statement released last Wednesday, Cuomo said he felt the law was necessary in response to efforts by the Trump administration to weaken the Johnson Amendment.

“For too long we have listened to the Trump administration threaten to remove common sense protections prohibiting tax exempt organizations from engaging in inappropriate political activities,” Cuomo said.

“New Yorkers have a right to free and fair elections, and this law will further protect our democracy from unjustified interferences once and for all.”

Also known as Assembly Bill A623, the bill amended the state tax law to say that  nonprofit organizations, religious or secular, cannot participate in “any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”

The article reminds us:

In May 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order which, among other things, called for the federal government to stop enforcing the Johnson Amendment.

“In particular, the Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective,” stated Section 2 of the executive order.

Despite the executive order and Trump saying on multiple occasions that he eliminated the amendment, it still has not been officially repealed.

The First Amendment 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 for a redress of grievances.

People do not give up their First Amendment rights because they enter a church.

The article also includes a quote by Ryan Tucker of the Alliance Defending Freedom:

Ryan Tucker of the Alliance Defending Freedom took issue with Cuomo’s signing of the law, writing in a New York Daily News opinion piece last week that the state government was “cracking down on political speech.”

“In the minds of New York lawmakers, a group can only speak freely if it pays the government extra for the privilege of doing so. That type of financial coercion may pay for a payroll increase in Albany, but it will sideline the roles of both secular and religious charities,” Tucker wrote.

“Cuomo’s comments are wrong. The government can’t condition your tax-exempt status with the surrender of your First Amendment rights or any other constitutionally protected freedom.”

That is a very interesting way to look at this. Why should churches give up their right to speak out on political issues that are relevant to spiritual life simply because they are tax exempt?

When Is Higher Education Against Diversity?

Yesterday Christian Headlines posted an article with the following headline, “Duke University’s Student Government Rejects Young Life over LGBTQ Policies.”

The article reports:

Duke University’s student government has denied the Christian organization Young Life official status as a student group on campus, citing its policy on sexuality.

The decision by the Duke Student Government Senate on Wednesday (Sept. 11) comes amid ongoing clashes nationwide between religious student groups and colleges and universities that have added more robust nondiscrimination policies.

Young Life, like many evangelical groups, regards same-sex relations as sinful. Its policy forbids LGBTQ staff and volunteers from holding positions in the organization.

The student newspaper the Duke Chronicle reported Thursday that the student government senate unanimously turned down official recognition for the Young Life chapter, because it appeared to violate a guideline that every Duke student group include a nondiscrimination statement in its constitution. 

Young Life, which is based in Colorado Springs, is a 78-year-old organization with a mission to introduce adolescents to Christianity and help them grow in their faith. It has chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges in all 50 states and more than 90 countries around the world.

But the student government objected to a clause in Young Life’s sexuality policy. After the student government was told the organization would not change its sexuality policy, it rejected the group.

The Young Life policy states: “We do not in any way wish to exclude persons who engage in sexual misconduct or who practice a homosexual lifestyle from being recipients of ministry of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in Jesus Christ. We do, however, believe that such persons are not to serve as staff or volunteers in the mission and work of Young Life.”

So following the Biblical guidelines on sexuality (both heterosexuality and homosexuality) will prevent your Christian group from being recognized on a College Campus.

The article concludes:

Over the past two decades, many colleges and universities have attempted to exclude religious groups because of their positions on sexuality, among them InterVarsity and Business Leaders in Christ.

Greg Jao, senior assistant to the president at InterVarsity, said about 70 colleges and universities have attempted to exclude InterVarsity chapters over the years — in some cases because it bars LGBTQ employees, in others because its faith statement more generally violates school nondiscrimination policies.

In most cases, the issues are resolved, but others have ended up in court. InterVarsity is now suing the University of Iowa and Wayne State University.

“Most of the time universities back down because it’s a violation of students’ First Amendment rights,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a law firm that defends religious freedom cases.

Duke, however, may be in a different category as a private institution. Private universities don’t have the same obligations under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause that a government entity does.

As a private entity, Duke may actually be able to do this, but any Christian who sends their child to Duke is supporting an anti-Christian agenda.

The House Of Representatives Accomplished Something Good

On Tuesday The Hill posted an article about the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the bill titled, “Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.” A similar bill was introduced in the Senate, but was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations on March 25, 2019. No further action has been taken on the Senate bill.

The final vote was 398 yeas, 17 nays, 5 voting present, and 12 not voting. (The numbers are from the U.S. House of Representatives website.)

The article at The Hill notes:

The resolution’s opponents included progressive freshmen Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who support the BDS movement.

House Democratic leaders brought the resolution to the floor under a fast-track process that required a two-thirds majority for passage and limited debate to 40 minutes. No one spoke in opposition to the resolution during the allotted debate, but the two progressives delivered floor speeches earlier in the day to express why they’d vote against it.

Tlaib, citing her family’s Palestinian roots, said she “can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government in the state of Israel.”

Someone should point out to Tlaib that Palestinians have full rights in Israel. They are more free and more prosperous than the Palestinians that live anywhere outside of Israel.

The article continues:

Lawmakers opposed to BDS stressed that the boycott movement against Israel is unlike other boycotts in American history, arguing that it espouses anti-Semitic views and undermines the prospects for peace in the long-running Palestinian conflict

“Here’s the thing about the global BDS movement: I don’t believe it promotes racial justice or social change at all. It promotes a one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that seeks to marginalize Israel, that would deny the Jewish people the right of national self-determination,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said during floor debate.

“You want to criticize a government, that’s your right. You want to stop buying products from a certain country, that’s also your right. But participating in an international commercial effort that undermines Israel’s legitimacy and scuttles the chances of a two-state solution isn’t the same as an individual exercising First Amendment rights,” Engel added.

Unfortunately, the Palestinians have illustrated the fact in recent years that they are not interested in becoming a positive member of the global community. In 2005 Israel removed its settlers from the Gaza Strip and turned the land over to the Arabs. Up until that point the Gaza Strip was the home of greenhouses that supplied fruit and vegetables around the world and had a flourishing economy. The first thing the Arabs did was destroy the greenhouses (and thus destroyed the basis for the thriving economy). Since that time the Gaza Strip has been used as a base for firing rockets and building terrorist tunnels into Israel. Money given to the Arabs that was earmarked for humanitarian purposes has been instead used to buy weapons and build tunnels. The Palestinians do not want to exist peacefully in a two-state solution–they want to destroy Israel.

The following is taken from an article I posted in January 2018:

Until the Palestinians stop training their children to kill Jews, there will be no peace in the Middle East. The BDS Movement is simply another way to attack Israel. I am glad most of the House of Representatives understood that.

Elections Have Consequences

The Daily Caller posted an article today about a planned resolution that will be introduced in Congress this week by Democratic Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar.

The article reports:

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar says she will introduce a resolution this week supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The freshman Congresswoman told Al Monitor on Tuesday that her resolution approving of a boycott of one of America’s allies will be an exercise in “American values,” and a stand for the First Amendment. The move comes after President Donald Trump accused Omar and other progressive congresswomen of being anti-American.

“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” she told the outlet. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”

I don’t have a problem with anyone exercising their First Amendment rights. However, it is interesting to me that a Congresswoman would introduce a bill approving a boycott of one of America’s strongest allies. Israel is the only truly free country in the Middle East–it is the only country that allows people to worship whatever god they serve. The Congresswoman has shown herself to be anti-Semitic in previous statements, and this resolution simply reinforces that idea. Last time I checked, antisemitism was a form of racism. It seems that some of the charges this woman is making against the President might apply to her.

The Growing Contempt For Freedom Of Speech

Walter E. Williams posted an article at Newsbusters today about the attack on free speech.

The Professor notes:

The First Amendment to our Constitution was proposed by the 1788 Virginia ratification convention during its narrow 89 to 79 vote to ratify the Constitution. Virginia’s resolution held that the free exercise of religion, right to assembly and free speech could not be canceled, abridged or restrained. These Madisonian principles were eventually ratified by the states on March 1, 1792.

Gettysburg College professor Allen C. Guelzo, in his article “Free Speech and Its Present Crisis,” appearing in the autumn 2018 edition of City Journal, explores the trials and tribulations associated with the First Amendment. The early attempts to suppress free speech were signed into law by President John Adams and became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Later attempts to suppress free speech came during the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln and his generals attacked newspapers and suspended habeas corpus. It wasn’t until 1919, in the case of Abrams v. United States, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally and unambiguously prohibited any kind of censorship.

Unfortunately many of our college campuses have lost the concept of free speech and open debate.

The article reports:

Today, there is growing contempt for free speech, most of which is found on the nation’s college and university campuses. Guelzo cites the free speech vision of Princeton University professor Carolyn Rouse, who is chairperson of the department of Anthropology. Rouse shared her vision on speech during last year’s Constitution Day lecture. She called free speech a political illusion, a baseless ruse to enable people to “say whatever they want, in any context, with no social, economic, legal or political repercussions.” As an example, she says that a climate change skeptic has no right to make “claims about climate change, as if all the science discovered over the last X-number of centuries were irrelevant.”

Rouse is by no means unique in her contempt for our First Amendment rights. Faculty leaders of the University of California consider certain statements racist microagressions: “America is a melting pot”; “America is the land of opportunity”; “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough”; and “There is only one race, the human race.” The latter statement is seen as denying the individual as a racial/cultural being. Then there’s “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” That’s “racist” speech because it gives the impression that “people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.” Other seemingly innocuous statements deemed unacceptable are: “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” or “Affirmative action is racist.” Perhaps worst of all is, “Where are you from, or where were you born?”

We should reject any restriction on free speech. We might ask ourselves, “What’s the true test of one’s commitment to free speech?” It does not come when people permit others to say or publish ideas with which they agree. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when others are permitted to say and publish ideas they deem offensive.

I hated it when the neo-Nazis were allowed to march in Skokie, Illinois, but that is what free speech means. The concept of hate speech is the antithesis of free speech–it is an excuse for censorship. If you are not comfortable enough in your own ideas to be willing to let others who do not share those ideas speak, then maybe living in a free country isn’t your cup of tea.

When Perspective Is Missing

All of us have our sensitive spots. Sometimes we react to comments we find offensive that were not meant to be offensive at all. Sometimes we read meanings that were never intended into things based on our own experience. Some recent local events illustrate that point.

A local weekly newspaper called The County Compass (which I would consider a conservative news outlet) publishes a page written by members of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA). The CCTA is composed of ordinary citizens who are concerned about the rapid growth of government and increase in taxes in recent years. Members attend local board meetings of various kinds and attempt to hold our elected officials accountable. They also post vetting reports of candidates on their website during elections to provide voters with information. The group is made of up people of all ages from different professional backgrounds and personal experiences. Recently the CCTA page dealt with the issue of bringing those to justice who have engaged in a soft coup attempt to undo the 2016 election. The writer of the article stated that she hoped those guilty would be held accountable for their violations of the civil rights of Americans and their attempted coup. At the top of the article was a picture of a noose, which to many Americans represents an old fashioned concept of justice. Unfortunately, for some people a noose, even in a totally non-racial context, represents racism. The professionally outraged saw the picture and swung into action.

A local young black woman chose to post that graphic on her Facebook page with a remark about the paper’s being racist for having published it; she chose to disregard the subject matter of the article entirely; therefore, her post was completely out of context.

The NAACP got involved, and a local TV station interviewed Jeff Aydelette, the publisher of The County Compass, and the NAACP on the subject.  Then this past Wednesday, about 120 members of the NAACP staged a protest rally outside the offices of the Compass.  Jeff offered them chairs, went around and shook hands, and behaved in his usual gentlemanly way.  Again, a report was featured on local TV.

Now The County Compass is getting calls from advertisers who are cancelling their ads.  They are saying that the NAACP is telling them that their businesses will be boycotted if they continue to advertise in the Compass.

Although I am willing to concede that the picture may represent different things to different people, I think it needs to be viewed in context. I believe that this protest is simply an effort by the political left and its allies to shut down a conservative news outlet. This should be a wake-up call to all Americans who value free speech and freedom of the press that our First Amendment rights are under attack.

 

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.