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Federal Contempt for Free Speech

Federal officials in Tennessee will suggest limits on public speech considered violative of Muslim civil rights.

by
Karen Lugo

Bio

June 4, 2013 - 12:11 am
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Further, Killian’s record confirms his constitutional colors as he issued much the same message at the grand opening of the Chattanooga Islamic Center in 2012. In that setting, the similar veiled warning — via carefully linked statements — was that the Framers of civil rights law did not intend to allow “hypocrites” who choose “hate and prejudice as a value system” to practice their “double standard,” enjoying “liberty and freedom” while denying the “same Constitutional and statutory rights to others.” He cautioned that “the federal statutes apply to everyone and will be enforced equally.”

If the feds plan to just invent a new category of speech crimes for heightened protection of Muslim sensibilities they have to first contend with Supreme Court directives that leave no room for confusion.

The first of these hurdles is the Brandenburg Rule that essentially limits government censorship authority to speech that is a direct threat of imminent lawless action.

The Supreme Court has also opined on the subject of “hurt feelings, offense, or resentment” — even when messages communicate hostility — and has upheld a longstanding tradition of protecting speech that may produce  “an adverse emotional impact.”

Chief Justice Roberts wrote in Snyder v. Phelps that “this Nation has chosen to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that public debate is not stifled,” although the Westboro Baptist protestors at military funerals were guilty of shouting highly offensive insults.

There is one very important aspect of this discussion that is being overlooked by the very federal government that says it cares so deeply about outreach to Muslims.  This is the reality that there are basically two camps of Muslims living in the United States. Some are radicalized and do incline to, and incite, devastating civilian violence. In the same group — while not choosing confrontational tactics — there are those that work to supplant American legal norms with Islamic Sharia.

Most Muslims are here to participate in the democratic system and are not involved in efforts to subvert American values. America needs to have a serious conversation about how to identify the radical elements in order to distinguish them from the Muslims who are not a threat. This can only be accomplished with freedom to speak openly, including the understanding that such a process will involve some who will not speak eloquently or kindly.

Yes, let the response to any suppression of speech relating to public concerns be adamant and any demonstrations against speech controls be emphatic. Importantly, let the speech on this particular issue be persuasive and reasonable. While outrage over recent terror atrocities is proper, expressing hatred and bigotry will not produce the Muslim reforms needed, nor will it persuade un-engaged citizens of the vital need to protect speech.

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Karen Lugo is Co-director for the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.

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Top Rated Comments   
If the government only stops speech offensive to Muslims, but not speech offensive to Jews, Christians, etc., it has established Islam as a preferred religion in violation of the 1st amendment. So if they go ahead with prosecuting someone over offending Islam, Jews should insist they prosecute Islamic sites for offending Jews
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>"Most Muslims are here to participate in the democratic system and are not involved in efforts to subvert American values."

I hear this statement often -- indeed, it has become a kind of soporific add-on to every essay on Islam in America. I would ask for its factual basis.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Most Muslims are here to participate in the democratic system and are not involved in efforts to subvert American values."

The non practicing ones, also known as apostates by their fellow Muslims, maybe. Active practicing one's not so much.

"America needs to have a serious conversation about how to identify the radical elements in order to distinguish them from the Muslims who are not a threat."

Seriously? You are dreaming or experiencing cognitive dissonance. Your article is about a US Attorney, endorsing limits on free speech that Muslim's consider offensive, and whose active radicalized members see all non Muslims as offensive (you know, infidels?), and you think we can have a "conversation" about it? Most Muslims themselves (out of fear or tacit agreement) won't identify the "radical elements" in their own mosques. How are we supposed to profile who's a threat if they won't do it themelves?
We're way past polite table talk on this....you might want to check in with Robert Spencer and catch up on what's really happening.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
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He cautioned that “the federal statutes apply to everyone and will be enforced equally.” The thing is though, they are not applied equally.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Obama's thugs want to make this stick, they will sooner or later have to bring a test case in the Supreme Court. At that point we will find out if all three branches of our government have become rotten and corrupt.

If it turns out Obama's tyranny is upheld by the Supreme Court, we will have our answer, and there will no longer be any reason for real Americans to owe allegiance to this criminal regime
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"At that point we will find out if all three branches of our government have become rotten and corrupt."

Most people can't seen to come to grips with the fact that the rule of law is dead. With everything that entails.

Remember this?


"Then you will see the rise of the double standard--the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money--the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law--men who use force to seize the wealth of DISARMED victims--then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed.

From Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand


There will be only one way to stop them now.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
q
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is no reason to believe that the rise of Islam is not here to stay and growing. The climate in the United States is so favorable to any movement, political or social belief that we are no longer protected by our love of freedom but in jeopardy because of it. In days gone by, that is the 40's and 50's for example, there was a great deal of prejudice and favoritism for the American Way of Life. Not that those days are what we should go back to but we must adopt policies that preserve our society and way of life. Language, immigration and religious freedom have to be regulated in some way or we are doomed to become a footnote in history. Freedom of religion, for instance, is important but not if it includes hacking off the heads or blowing up people who don't agree with you. Tougher,is what we need to be if we are to survive as an American people. If you don't agree with, at least, part of what I've said, perhaps you should go home where your beliefs were formed and resume cooking your food over camel dung fires.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
that's right we need to change with the times, attacks on American citizens is wrong when the govt gets so big it wants to decide what is right and wrong instead of going by the constitution. When the govt says one religion is ok all others are wrong, then it is the govt that is wrong. these things like this are just being used as a tool to imprison the ones who offend the govt.more and more we are losing our rights, when we become accepting of one right being overthrown then this emboldens the govt to take even more. we must not let our guard down ever, because the govt is always looking for a chance to jump in and take action. We must always speak out, shout out the truth from the rooftops because the truth uncovers and sheds light on evil everywhere.and of course they -big govt- do not like this nor does any wrong minded person=those who kill in gods name, likle it either.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is nothing in the Constitution about a right to not be offended. I'd tell these gov't gestapo goons to go pound sand. Besides, it is a total double standard as any comments by muslims against anyone else will simply be ignored. Just waiting till they wanna jail all of the Christians...
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
A big crowd of TN citizens showed up for this event, and pretty much told U.S. attorney and Obama stooge Bill Killian to go pound sand. The lawlessness and arrogance of these people are stunning.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
If they are going to enforce this foolishness how about enforcing it equally. As soon as one of these radical Imams begins his apes and pigs rhetoric bust them and send them back to wherever they came from. Also, if they are so all-fired anxious to have us enforce shariaa laws then round up all those Saudi royals that come over here to drink, gamble and party and send them back with plenty of video proof of how they act here. Demand they be tried for their acts in Shariaa courts. If that ever happened it could bring down the whole house of Saud. To be a ruler in a Muslim country they have to at least look like they are devout Muslims. It doesn't matter how they treat their subjects or what they really believe just so long as they act like they are devout. If their people saw even half the sh... uhh, stuff they get up to over here they could be deposed in a heartbeat under shariaa law.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even a law respecting criticism of ALL religions would fit very nicely into Obama's agenda to water down our Constitutional rights. If criticism of religion is outlawed, what would be next, criticism of homosexuality, outrageous life styles, or even criticism of the government? That was tried centuries ago in the United States and we know how that turned out.

Any limitation on Constitutional rights presents a slippery slope situation, even banning yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater. People who want to suppress Constitutional rights would argue, "well, if it's illegal to yell "fire" in a crowded theater, why should other things such as hateful speech not be illegal?" The threat of watering down our freedoms and liberty is something we need to be vigilant about on a daily basis. In determining such limitations, we should try to understand the immediate consequences together with any unintended consequences, something the Progs are loath to do.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd make two points here.
First, when it comes to abridging religious-based disgusting language, I say to the Muslims, "You first." No mainstream Christian or Jewish religious figure refers to Muslims as the sons of pigs and apes; when your leaders quit calling me such, we can talk.
Second, this is what happens when rights are being pushed into being privileges. Privileges may be changed or revoked.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All muslims are part of the totalitarian political construct that is islam. Each muslim has their role to play. It is not a requirement that each muslim be a terrorist but they must all put islam first. Those who do not put islam first are not muslims; they are either apostates or infidels.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's be a bit careful here: Jews and Christians are also called to be believers first, Americans or Canadians or Koreans second. (The number of Korean-American Jews is thin but there are a few.)
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a critical difference Geoff. The beliefs and values of almost all Jews and Christians are compatible, indeed fundamentally synonymous, with the values and beliefs on which this country was founded. That Jews and Christians are called to be believers first, simply reinforces the tenets that make this county so great. That cannot be said of islam.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I will keep this simple and easy to understand in regards to identifying the different Muslim mindsets.

Just watch their actions and listen to their words. Act accordingly.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Their actions, maybe, but their words? Many will not admit to any sympathy with jihadism, while others won't talk about jihadism for fear of physical intimidation or ostracism from the rest of the Muslim community.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bravo, sir, bravo!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the government only stops speech offensive to Muslims, but not speech offensive to Jews, Christians, etc., it has established Islam as a preferred religion in violation of the 1st amendment. So if they go ahead with prosecuting someone over offending Islam, Jews should insist they prosecute Islamic sites for offending Jews
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree, Shadow, but the real question is, are there any uncorrupted men, or agencies, left in our government to which we may effectively appeal this injustice? Or must we resort to our last line of defense against tyranny?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the best comment I have seen on Pjmedia in weeks. +10!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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