Monday, November 12, 2007

Freedom of Speech: How Far Does It Go?

Over at Classical Values, Eric is pointing to some examples of stuff that the ACLU should, in theory, be filing suit to protect, if they actually take their ahistorical doctrines of freedom of speech seriously:

The arrested man is the Reverend Orlando Bethel, and he is running for president of the United States as the Christian Reform Party candidate. He is waving his "SANTA IS SATAN" sign across the street from a school, apparently in a residential neighborhood in front of a home. (I'd love to know what strange language is being spoken in the background by an unidentified woman during the arrest.)
While Santa's satanism might be the concern in this video, his campaign platform is anti-sodomy and pro-welfare:
Today, Apostle Orlando Bethel, Minister of New Life Gospel Ministries - Repent or Burn in HELL, announced his intention, within the next week to file the official paperwork to run for our nations highest office, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. He is running as the Christian Reform Party - Remove all sodomites.
A speech will be given in Loxley, Alabama courthouse steps with all town supporters present.
Apostle Bethel stated that he plans to "restore America's moral values and ban sodomites from the country as well as divorce and remarriages." These monsterous sins are why GOD is punishing this nation.
Also, Apostle Bethel plans to strenthen the welfare state to include health insurance for all people, including the homeless and raise taxes by 23% on the upper middle class and 32% on the top 1 percent.
Lower middle class and the poor will have ALL taxes eliminated and enjoy all the welfare provided by the upper middle class and the rich.
All information is provided as of 3:25 p.m. CST and approved by Apostle Orlando Bethel.
Your Humble Servent!
Prophetess Gussie
Eric also points to another example of a person whose freedom of speech rights are being denied--and where's the ACLU?

In this video, well known anti-gay/anti-abortion activist Michael Marcavage has his signs taken away by local police in Media, PA. The reason given is that the pictures would "upset the children."
Is that not content related? Sure, the pictures are upsetting, but are they more upsetting than pictures of graphic sex? The latter would not be protected. Nor would signs advertising tobacco.
I think it's inappropriate to wave any of this stuff at children, but by what standard is one worse than the other? Are penises and breasts more upsetting than butchered fetuses? Should they be?
What is the standard, and where is the line drawn, if anywhere?
Does it depend on whether someone might freak out and go ballistic?
....I'm not seeing any clearly decipherable lines under the time place and manner exception. Maybe kids just have to tolerate obnoxious nonsense as part of their education. (Considering what passes for education I guess there isn't much harm.)
As usual, Eric is asking important questions that reveal the foolishness of the unlimited freedom of speech position that the ACLU often takes--one that considers nude dancing, flag burning, and Fred Phelps' flock holding up offensive signs at a funeral, to be constitutionally protected forms of speech.

No comments:

Post a Comment