Tag Archives: First Amendment
If you believe – as I do – that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were inspired, then you must believe – as I do – that God inspired the Separation of Church and State. What we do in whatever house of worship we attend, or do not attend, is between the individual and God.
God never wanted to be in the White House, or the Congress or the School. Man wants his version of God in those places. If God inspired the Constitution and Bill of Rights there is no other way to believe. You cannot have it both ways.
You cannot believe God inspired the First Amendment only to keep Congress out of Churches, and is OK with forcing religion on everyone else, whether through worship or through laws. You see, Shariah Law is Shariah Law whether administered by radical Islam or radical Christianity, it is the same.
If your opposition, or favor, of any secular law is “Because God says so” then you are in opposition to the very principles God established when He inspired the Founding Fathers.
God does not want forced worship or devotion, that is not His plan, but it is someone else’s.
This applies to not choosing to believe as well. There’s a reason the Founding Fathers were inspired to place a separation of church and state in the First Amendment, it was to prevent religious beliefs, or teachings, from being forced on the general public in the form of laws. Thus, if limiting same sex marriage is based on religious beliefs, it’s not Constitutional.
Sometimes the hard part about living in a country with a Constitution like ours is being willing to protect and defend the rights of others to have the inalienable, God given right to choose how they will live their lives. In short, if you don’t mind religions telling other citizens – through the civil government – how to live their lives, I’m sure you won’t mind when other citizens – through that same civil government – start telling you how to worship.
A young homeless woman, who was reportedly three months pregnant, was sprayed in the face with military grade pepper spray and reportedly kicked in the stomach by one police officer and then hit in the stomach with another policeman’s bike during an “Occupy” event in Seattle; she’s reportedly miscarried her child…
One recurring conservative talking point theme is, “The protesters were told to move out of an intersection and refused. The police then used the pepper spray to control the crowd.”That made me start thinking of other times when the “authorities” have ordered the crowds to disperse and the crowds have refused.
Using logic I’ve heard today:
Tensions were running high in the city of Boston, especially between the King’s soldiers and the citizenry of the city. On 5 Mar 1770, a group of school boys threw snowballs at a British sentry. When the sentry called for help, soldiers and angry citizens came running. Citizens began to aggravate the soldiers; and in the confusion of the moment, someone ordered the British soldiers to fire. When the smoke and haze of the musket fire had cleared, three Bostonians lay dead; and two others were mortally wounded. This incident would come to be known as the Boston Massacre.
During the first week of May 1963, Birmingham police and firemen attacked civil rights demonstrators, many of whom were children, in the streets bordering Kelly Ingram Park. The violence raised a nationwide public outcry, hastening integration in America’s most segregated city.
The protesters were told to move out of an intersection and refused; the police then used water hoses to control the crowd.
The one lying down is dead, shot by National Guard soldiers on 4 May 1970; the guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others…
The students at the University of New Mexico were told to disperse and refused, so the National Guard fixed bayonets and began stabbing people to control the crowd…
On 5 May 70, protesters gathered to protest the Vietnam War and the Kent State massacre; they occupied the Student Union Building, and the ROTC Barracks. Governor Cargo went fishing and allowed the State Police to handle the escalating situation. The National Guard was ordered to sweep the building and arrest those inside; eleven students and journalists were bayoneted.
In the United States of America citizens are allowed to protest, it’s protected by the Bill of Rights – a little something called the First Amendment – and police are supposed to allow them to peacefully do so. If the protestors violate laws then of course the police can arrest them, and that’s what civil disobedience is all about; the protestors take part knowing they will probably be arrested for blocking public access to a building, or a sidewalk, and maybe even an intersection.
If the crowd begins to destroy private or public property then no one will argue the police should stand by, but that hasn’t been the case in the vast majority of reported incidents where police are using military grade pepper spray, rubber bullets and batons to inflict injury and to “break up” the protests; it’s reminiscent of tactics factory owners used against strikers unions in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.
84-year-old, retired school teacher, Dorli Rainey is helped away by fellow activists and doused in milk to treat the effects of police pepper spray at an Occupy Seattle protest.
Police at the University of California at Davis dismantled an Occupy encampment Friday, arresting at least 10 protesters, nine of whom were students.
Videos have surfaced on YouTube of police in riot gear pepper spraying a line of protesters who had linked arms and sat down cross-legged on the pavement to protect their camp. In the footage, an officer is seen spraying the demonstrators at point-blank range.
A total of 11 people received medical treatment on the campus and two were transported to the hospital, Sacramento’s KTXL-TV reported.
While I was a young Republican working in Washington DC during the 1980 Iran hostage crisis, there was a rather modest protest of Iranian students not more than half a block from where I was working, the police moved in and many officers reportedly removed their badges and name tags and began breaking up the protest with batons.
I was a young twenty-year-old conservative working on President-elect Ronald Reagan’s Transition Team; I thought it was awesome that the cops had responded that way, especially to Iranian students protesting in my country while hostages were being held in Iran.
My father – a veteran of World War II – very patiently and lovingly told me how wrong I was, and how deplorable the police were for hiding their identity and for using such a high level of force to break up the protest. It was a supreme teaching moment for my father, and a supreme learning moment for me, his son. My Dad spoke of the liberties all people enjoy in America to protest and to have their voices heard, and he said he hoped I would think differently about those rights in the future. It was a lesson that was not lost on me.
In 2007, while serving in the National Guard one drill weekend, the news was on in our staff room, and of course it was FOX PAC; they were covering an anti-Iraq war protest in DC. A Colonel looking at the TV said, “I’d gas the whole lot them.”
I must’ve looked shocked because he asked me, “You disagree Captain”?
I told him that I did, and then I said, “Sir, this tells me that the First Amendment is alive and well.”
As an Army Reservist, I’ve received crowd and riot control training; and one of the absolute cardinal rules is you don’t escalate situations; the many reports of pepper spraying from around the country by police officers who aren’t in life threatening situations (UC Davis incident for example) is very troubling; either these police officers have been very poorly trained, or they’re deliberately trying to incite riots; perhaps in a effort to undermine the “Occupy” movement?
If the police officers in question aren’t poorly trained or incompetent, then one question to be answered is, “Who’s pulling the strings, and at what level within conservative circles, to have the police spin this up”?
The United States Supreme Court has handed down its decision on “Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association”, and while the Court decided the California law in question was unconstitutional due to limiting free speech, something everyone on both sides of the political spectrum should be happy about – meaning the Court’s defending of the First Amendment – some on the court, namely Justice Clarence Thomas, believe that children have no guaranteed First Amendment rights.
Thomas once again demonstrated his own inability to sit on the nation’s highest court, declaring that the majority’s opinion in the case “does not comport with the original public understanding of the First Amendment…The practices and beliefs of the founding generation establish that ‘the freedom of speech,’ as originally understood, does not include a right to speak to minors (or a right of minors to access speech) without going through the minors’ parents or guardians.”
So, if we were to follow Justice Thomas’s logic on what the founding generation’s view on any number of subjects was, then we would have to effectively turn 200 + years of judicial review on its head. Thomas’s very rigid interpretation of all things constitutional is one of the biggest flaws in “originalists’” theology.
Opening up this Pandora’s Box, and following Thomas’s view of the founding generation’s view of things, what laws or rights would need to be overturned?
First, Justice Thomas would need to resign from the bench, because it should be quite clear to any number of originalists what the founding generation’s view of 3/5 of a person occupying a seat on the Supreme Court would be. So, step down Mr. Justice, step down, or be a hypocrite; but you can’t dare to speak for the founding generation and then not uphold all that generation would have upheld.
Women would no longer have the right to vote, and would belong to their husbands – as property.
African-Americans could still be owned as slaves.
African-Americans would no longer have the right to vote.
African-American children would still be attending school in “separate but equal” facilities, while children with special needs would be placed in state run institutions.
African-Americans would have to sit in the back of the bus, and ride in separate cars from whites on any trains, as well as sit in separate areas of theaters and sporting events, and use separate toilet facilities and drink from separate water fountains.
African-Americans would not be serving in the armed services.
If children are not guaranteed the rights of the Constitution, according to the founding generation, then does that theology extend to the unborn as well?
Interestingly enough, following Thomas’s logic, the infamously recent decision of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission would need to be overturned because there is no conceivable way any originalists could claim the founding generation would ever have subscribed to the idea of a business corporation being endowed with inalienable rights by the creator.
Mr. Associate Justice, step down before you humiliate yourself any further. You are clearly unqualified as your recent stands on any number of cases prove. You have been shown to be unethical by refusing to recluse yourself from cases where there is clear conflict of interest. You sir, are an embarrassment.
Sarah Palin responded to a ruling issued by the Supreme Court on Wednesday upholding an appeals court decision that protesting outside military funerals is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Wow, could it be that perhaps her Majesty finally found a Supreme Court decision she disagrees with? She should call Katie Couric up and tell her she has one now, and wants to talk about it.
The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling throwing out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son’s funeral.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented.
Roberts said free speech rights in the First Amendment shield the funeral protesters, noting that they obeyed police directions and were 1,000 feet from the church.
The Ice Queen, shortly after the ruling was made wrote on Twitter, “Common sense & decency absent as wacko “church” allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ funerals but we can’t invoke God’s name in public square.”
So, Palin only likes free speech when it’s what she wants to hear or say? Someone should probably tell her highness that Americans can talk about God all they want to in the public square; no one is stopping her, or anyone else, from doing so. Some public parks and squares even have crosses in them, like Bienville Square in Mobile, Alabama.
Of course, this morning, Queen Sarah is claiming her earlier tweet was misinterpreted to mean that she opposed the Supreme Court’s 8-1 ruling in the Westboro Baptist Church case this week.
Palin told the Daily Caller’s Chris Moody, “Obviously my comment meant that when we’re told we can’t say ‘God bless you’ in graduation speeches or pray before a local football game but these wackos can invoke God’s name in their hate speech while picketing our military funerals, it shows ridiculous inconsistency,” Palin said. “I wasn’t calling for any limit on free speech, and it’s a shame some folks tried to twist my comment in that way. I was simply pointing out the irony of an often selective interpretation of free speech rights.”
Ah yes, that makes everything much clearer now. Maybe the ex-governor should stop making abbreviated comments on Twitter, and start holding press conferences to disseminate her views? But all of that aside, Palin was criticizing the ruling, and she was trying to claim that one type of religious speech – her kind – should be allowed while other types – Westboro Baptist – should be limited.
Isn’t it amazing how people like Palin and Huckabee will make outlandish statements, clearly pandering to the far right Tea Party, but then try to walk back what they’ve said later? The Huckster recently said not once, but twice during a radio interview, that President Obama grew up in Kenya, and then tried to claim that’s not what he said, and Palin’s now claiming she didn’t criticize a Supreme Court ruling when she clearly did so.
Of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a presidential hopeful speaking out on Supreme Court rulings, or disagreeing with them. The problem is when a presidential hopeful Twitters abbreviated opinions to grab her daily 15 minutes of fame, without thinking, and then tries to change what she said. If she wants to be president she needs to start acting presidential and stop acting like a mean girl from a trailer park.
The court’s decision was the only one it could make. As disturbing, and hateful, as the Westboro Baptist Church’s signs and comments made at military funerals are, they are clearly protected under the First Amendment, and that’s what our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen are defending with their lives; the right of morons and idiots to say what they want, to protest when, where and how they please. They die defending the right to speak, whether someone should say it is another matter.
One of the on-going themes of the right-wing propagandists is that President Obama’s recovery efforts are really about usurping American’s rights and freedoms. How interesting, that trying to fix a failing economy brought on by the failed policies of the previous administration are really secret attempts to take away our freedoms. But wait a minute, what’s this I hear? The Justice Department today released a long-secret document from 2001 in which the Bush administration claimed the military could search and seize terror suspects in the United States without warrants?
The Associated Press (AP) reported that “the legal memo was written about a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It says constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure would not apply to terror suspects in the U.S., as long as the president or another high official authorized the action.”
“Another memo showed that, within two weeks of Sept. 11, the administration was contemplating ways to use wiretaps without getting warrants,” the AP story stated.
In the search and seizure memo, John Yoo wrote that “the president could treat terrorist suspects in the United States like an invading foreign army. For instance, he said, the military would not have to get a warrant to storm a building to prevent terrorists from detonating a bomb,” the story reported. “Yoo also suggested that the government could put new restrictions on the press and speech, without spelling out what those might be.”
Yoo reportedly said, “First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” adding later: “The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically.”
So, who is a threat to American freedoms and liberties? I don’t remember the right to ruin the nation’s economy as being covered in the Bill of Rights? But I do recall something about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, protection against unlawful search and seizure; sounds like the real threat to our individual liberties is coming from the right, not the left.