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← The Fred Phelps Supreme Court Decision and Why We Shouldn't Look for Loopholes in the First Amendment

The Fred Phelps Supreme Court Decision and Why We Shouldn't Look for Loopholes in the First Amendment - Comments

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 1 by Stevehill

We should not. Be looking. For loopholes. In the freaking First Amendment.

The First Amendment, and the right to the free expression of political ideas, is one of most crucial cornerstones of our democracy. Without it, democracy collapses. Without the freedom to express political opinions, we can't participate fully in the political process. Without the freedom to hear political opinions, we can't make informed decisions about what we think. And without the freedom to hear and express opinions that dissent from the mainstream, there is no way that mainstream opinion can change. The right to free speech is an essential part of democracy. And it is, in and of itself, a basic human right, a value that is worth treasuring and protecting for its own sake.

So our default assumption should always, always, always be that speech should be free, unless there is a tremendously compelling reason to limit it.

If - big if - you agree with all that, then she has a point.

Fred Phelps (and his daughter) are amongst a tiny handful of people who are denied entry to my country (Britain).

I don't feel "less free" because of that. I can still fire my government in any election. I'm really quite proud that we're willing to say that fuckwits like Phelps are an offence to free speech, and should not be tolerated.

I usually like Greta Christina, but she's a short step from saying let's indulge Hitler because, y'know, he's entitled to his opinions and has the right to express them.

Sorry Godwin. But where do you draw the line?

There's something slightly, well, religious about Americans who see the Constitution as scripture, as holy writ, as something unchallengeable, as if its authors were supermen or something. It is only another document chucked together by fallible politicians. You can change it if you want to.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:04:18 UTC | #604169

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 2 by SomersetJohn

Commenting only on the SC ruling, I have to say I agree with it.

Not knowing the rules and regulations in the US, I don;t know if this would be legal, but I would have been pleased if the court had expressly held Phelps responsible for his own (or the church's) legal costs while ordering the court to accept responsibility for Mr Snyder's costs. That, I think, would have adequately demonstrated the difference between legal and moral acceptability.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:04:45 UTC | #604171

Metamag's Avatar Comment 3 by Metamag

It was always curious to me how people get upset and riled up at Phelps family.

I absolutely love them, they are persistently hilarious in everything they do and show what christians would look like if they would take the bible seriously.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:16:12 UTC | #604177

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 4 by HappyPrimate

I would have to agree that the First Amendment cannot be breached, but I would also say that there is a legal right to what is commonly called quite enjoyment of one's space, either owned or rented. Interruption, particularly with loud noise, of that peace is a breach of that right. Usually folks are arrested for disturbing the peace. That is what I would have gone for in the lawsuit. Just try standing in your own yard and making an unpleasant racket so that your neighbor can't enjoy his BBQ with friends and the police will be right there. If you do not stop, they will arrest you. When a funeral is being held at a cemetery, I would assume that the plot is owned by the folks burying their loved one so it should be considered their property and they are entitled to the quite enjoyment of it.

The Westboro Church's speech is not infringed upon when it is allowed to purchase time on TV and radio and rent any sort of facility without prejudice where they can yell and scream as loudly and disgustingly much as they like.

Anyway, that's my take on the case.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:23:05 UTC | #604178

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 5 by HappyPrimate

Ooops I mean quiet not quite.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:26:48 UTC | #604180

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 6 by HappyPrimate

Ooops - typo. I meant quiet not quite.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:27:58 UTC | #604181

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 7 by HappyPrimate

Well, I've been trying to post an acknowledgement of my typo - should be quiet instead of quite, but it does not seem to be taking. This is the third try.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:32:45 UTC | #604183

green and dying's Avatar Comment 8 by green and dying

Comment 1 by Stevehill :

There's something slightly, well, religious about Americans who see the Constitution as scripture, as holy writ, as something unchallengeable, as if its authors were supermen or something. It is only another document chucked together by fallible politicians. You can change it if you want to.

Seriously. It's creepy.

I think I probably agree with her on this specific case (as long as it really wasn't harassment) but I really hate arguments about free speech where someone goes out of their way to explain how much they truly hate a view and then go on to show that they're such an amazing, principled person for not wanting it silenced. "I don't agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" makes me cringe. It's sickly and fake. I'm not sure I could argue the case better but then I'm not trying to.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:41:46 UTC | #604185

stephenb1960's Avatar Comment 9 by stephenb1960

I'm writing this under time pressure so I will probably wish that I had said something better or perhaps even not at all. Anyway, here goes...

I think this is a superbly written piece. I believe it was in this forum where I saw an avatar which was a person holding a placard. The placard read "Freedom of speech...even for douche-bags" and, to me, that says it all.

I'm sorry stevehill but I think you are creating a false analogy. Not allowing a foreign national into your country because they will shit-stir is not the same thing as not allowing all citizens of that country to say what is on their minds. Furthermore, allowing Hitler to say what he wants is not 'indulging' him, it is giving him the same rights as everyone else. As soon as he starts saying that we should smash jewish stores up and kicking jewish people that we see in the street, he has crossed the line that, to be honest, I thought was clearly defined in the article.

I also think it rather unfair to make out that the writer was saying that the First Amndment should be protected because it is the First Amendment. She wasn't saying that at all (even slightly). She was saying it should be protected because it's a bloody good thing and is worth protecting.

I often find when I 'dash something off' I end up wishing I had just slowed down a little. Anyway, here's me hitting the "Create Comment" button...

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:44:50 UTC | #604187

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 10 by Neodarwinian

@ Steve Hill

Government has the right to deny entry to some by any criteria, but we protect free speech not out of tolerance but because we fear a government that decides what speech will be heard and what speech will be silenced. Our fear leads to governments that must fear their people; which is the proper position to have government in. The Constitution is not sacred and has been amended many times and may be amended again, but don't think that amending free expression will be one of those done.

Fire your government? Let us hope that you will be allowed to do that for some time to come. We know where the line is even if you on " airstrip 1 " do not.

Excellent article, by the way. A kick in the teeth to so called " progressives " who would sell out their mothers in support of their unworkable ideologies

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:50:56 UTC | #604189

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 11 by Pitchguest

What is it with Youessians and their constitution?

The constitution were basically ground rules to a country recovering from the aftermath of a war, splitting away from their oppressors and becoming an independent entity. It's a political document, with flaws, just like any other political document written throughout history. Case in point: Magna Carta. Do you think the founders intended it to be followed, as Stevehill says, so religiously they wouldn't accept compromises or, heavens forbid, changes to the constitution after it was written?

The law can be changed, and has been changed several times, due to tradition or outdated dogmas or whatever else they can come up with - why not this?

For instance, I can think of one amendment that could need some scrounging up to do. (Read: it's the one with all the guns.)

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:55:59 UTC | #604193

davidckahn's Avatar Comment 12 by davidckahn

There is nothing religious about Americans' reverence for the First Amendment. It's not because we think the Constitution is some eternal document that should always stand and never change, no matter how different the times are (although many people do think that).

It's because of this:

If there are any universal principles that came out of the American Revolution that should stand for all-time and never ever ever be abridged or altered, it is the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment. Freedom of conscience and the corollary freedom to voice that conscience is the most important freedom of a civilized society.

Stevehill, you may not feel less free because of Fred Phelps being banned from your country. But other people who have unpopular views might. For now, they might just be people with extreme fringe views. But who's to say that attitude won't, over time, creep further and further towards the center, until you have outlawed all speech that is critical of the government? It's happened before--even in Europe--and it can happen again. Indeed, "where do you draw the line?" If the only speech that is protected is speech that doesn't offend anyone, then there's really no point in even having freedom of speech.

Everyone (yes, even Hitler) has a right to speak his mind. No reasonable person thinks they should actually be allowed to act on their fantasies but, to my knowledge, the WBC crazies have never engaged in physical aggression against anyone.

I'm frankly shocked that thoughtful people, like the ones that presumably inhabit this board, can even argue the other side. I guess this is one of the differences between Americans and Europeans, and it's an area where I think Europe could stand to learn something from America for once. Reasonable Americans don't think the framers of the Constitution were infallible supermen. We know they got things wrong, and the gravest mistakes that they made have since been rectified with additional Amendments. The First Amendment was not something they got wrong.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:01:15 UTC | #604195

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 13 by Michael Austin

I agree! I find the whole of WBC it be hilarious. I actively seek out their videos for comic relief.

Comment 3 by Metamag :

It was always curious to me how people get upset and riled up at Phelps family.

I absolutely love them, they are persistently hilarious in everything they do and show what christians would look like if they would take the bible seriously.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:08:52 UTC | #604196

biblebeltnonbeliever's Avatar Comment 14 by biblebeltnonbeliever

Careful how you regulate speech-How do you keep the right wingers from using such regulations against atheists?

Example: How many times have believers denounced the honest criticism of faith as offensive? That's their fallback argument when reason and evidence fail. IME, more than once.

See where we're going here?

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:20:21 UTC | #604199

Aflacduck's Avatar Comment 15 by Aflacduck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50r0CnKq7_k&feature=related - Westboro family disowns daughter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhekTRrvGrI - Michael Moore and the Sodom mobile... Need I say more?

Interesting insight into the WBC

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:27:25 UTC | #604201

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 16 by Starcrash

Sorry Godwin. But where do you draw the line?

Stevehill, I think she put in plenty of examples of where free speech is not protected.

Are there some reasonable limitations on speech? Of course. Some classic examples: laws against libel, fraud, false advertising, copyright violation, revealing state secrets. I'm sure we can all come up with some more.

-Godwin

She makes a valid point. It doesn't matter what the content of their protest was. It's about their right to protest.

Would we even allow Hitler to express his antisemitism and hatred in this country? Yes, of course. We'd also allow people to argue Hitler's point of view, which wasn't allowed in Nazi Germany. Free speech is best for all of us.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:35:12 UTC | #604202

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 17 by Scruddy Bleensaver

As much as loathe the Phelps crew, I too agree with the Supreme Court here. If only popular speech were permitted, the first amendment would mean nothing. It's unpopular speech that needs defending, or none of us are free to speak.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:42:37 UTC | #604205

Pom's Avatar Comment 18 by Pom

I would first like to point out that it is the first AMENDMENT that is under discussion, meaning that the founding fathers didn't get it right to begin with and it had to be changed. It can also be changed again, and again, if necessary.

And sure as god made little green apples, to use an American phrase, now is he time to do just that.

Good point about Hitler. Today we have Muammar Gaddafi saying he intends to slaughter many Libyan citizens. In my opinion it is absolutely right that his so-called 'freedom of speech' is called by the United Nations. Can Gadaffi be defended on the grounds of freedom of speech? For goodness SAKE guys . . . get real.

You have a different opinion? You telling us that Gaddafi is all sweetness and light, just sounding off, maybe?

In the case of the Phelps mob, it has something to do with freedom of speech but much, much more to do with deliberately causing hurt, creating disharmony, pushing crackpot religious agendas on people who can't easily ignore it. Again in my oipinion, the Phelps mob are lucky they didn't have their bibles stuffed where the sun don't shine. In that event, who would be accused of causing the disturbance? The people who SET OUT to cause it, or those who could hardly help but react physically?

It's been said before - shout FIRE! in a crowded cinema and see how far your first amendment protects you. Stand on your soapbox in Kentucky or somewhere and preach 'god is shit' and see where that gets you.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:46:37 UTC | #604207

jbyrd's Avatar Comment 19 by jbyrd

Comment 16 by Starcrash :

Sorry Godwin. But where do you draw the line?

Stevehill, I think she put in plenty of examples of where free speech is not protected.

Are there some reasonable limitations on speech? Of course. Some classic examples: laws against libel, fraud, false advertising, copyright violation, revealing state secrets. I'm sure we can all come up with some more.

-Godwin

She makes a valid point. It doesn't matter what the content of their protest was. It's about their right to protest.

Would we even allow Hitler to express his antisemitism and hatred in this country? Yes, of course. We'd also allow people to argue Hitler's point of view, which wasn't allowed in Nazi Germany. Free speech is best for all of us.

Ill agree with this...the problem is no one is kicking this guys ass.

We have sold or soul, if you would, to the rule books in this country....and I got to say, its not been a good thing.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 01:52:53 UTC | #604209

davidckahn's Avatar Comment 20 by davidckahn

Jollyroger and everyone else who apparently didn't read the article:

You are completely ignoring the points where she points out legitimate limits on speech. The fact that you even used the "fire in a theater" cliche proves that you didn't read the article. The fundamental difference is that there is no human right to not be offended. Someone else spouting rhetoric that you find offensive does not infringe your rights. If you are trampled to death in a stampede caused by a prankster, then your rights have most definitely been violated.

I suppose you will be the one to decide what constitutes a "crackpot agenda?" And, once again proving that you didn't read the article, you inaccurately retort that people could not be expected to ignore these protests. That's an interesting argument since, as the article (which you have not read) points out, the plaintiff didn't know the protest existed until the day after the funeral.

And are you seriously comparing this to Qaddhafi's actions in Libya? Is the real problem that he has threatened the rebels (threats, by the way, are mentioned in the article that you have not read as legitimate limitations on speech) or is the problem that he has--I dunno--killed them by the freaking hundreds and invaded their towns with his military?

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:07:50 UTC | #604214

andy11's Avatar Comment 21 by andy11

harry potter,

of course Hitler had a right to free speech. This is not indulging him.

We must not practice thought crime.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:08:30 UTC | #604216

DELETED_ACCOUNT_1ST_AMENDEMENT_TRUMPS_ALL's Avatar Comment 22 by DELETED_ACCOUNT_1ST_AMENDEMENT_TRUMPS_ALL

I agree with the article's principle argument, but I have a problem with the arbitrary "political speech" label altogether, and specifically with letting Phelps and Crew shelter under its umbrella while others are turned away. Exactly whose politics are served by thanking God for 9/11, or praying for more dead soldiers, or wishing death on someone who holds a particular sexual preference? If that is fighting the good fight for all those poor, forgotten, underrepresented people who think America's "tolerance" of homosexuals is destroying the country, then pornography producer Max Hardcore, who was sentenced to about four years in prison for trumped up obscenity charges, was engaging in REGULAR OLE POLITICAL PUNDITRY, REBELLION, AND OUTRAGE on behalf of each and every persecuted, urine-loving fister out there while making his adult films--which, being consensually produced and sold for private viewing, were even less violent, disruptive, and invasive than supposedly harmless WBC protests held out in public, though arguably just as hateful, vile, and abhorrent in the eyes of the proper and priggish who easily could opt to not purchase them.

And to further the pornography comparison, if the WBC signs are not abhorrent to morality or virtue, as Merriam-Webster defines the word "obscene", or appealing to prurient or unwholesome interests, as government agencies that like to waste tax dollars often describe it, then nothing is.

The WBC is presently enjoying speech freedoms that unfortunately do NOT apply to everyone, and that is the real societal problem highlighted by this SCOTUS decision, and the argument the Left should be making here. However, this lopsided First Amendment reality is due in part to an arbitrary labeling of speech as "political", which progressives, whether they give Phelps and Crew's obscene, repugnant protests a pass here or not, never seem to question. Labeling things "obscene" or "political" in order to determine their legal standing almost always reveals some unsatisfying bias and convenient subjectivity on the part of the labeler. In other words, it's "looking for clever, sneaky ways to get around (the First Amendment)" which the article claims to wish to avoid.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:13:59 UTC | #604219

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 23 by Pitchguest

There is nothing religious about Americans' reverence for the First Amendment. It's not because we think the Constitution is some eternal document that should always stand and never change, no matter how different the times are (although many people do think that).

It's because of this:

If there are any universal principles that came out of the American Revolution that should stand for all-time and never ever ever be abridged or altered, it is the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment. Freedom of conscience and the corollary freedom to voice that conscience is the most important freedom of a civilized society.

The "First Amendment" as defined in the United States constitution is not unique to the United States of America. Many countries before the document was even constructed had freedom of speech, freedom to speak out, freedom of press, etc, etc.

The reason Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, et al. wrote 'freedom of speech' as a right in their first amendment - and rightly so - was due to this exact principle and something that should not be infringed upon. However, because it is in the constitution, it cannot be amended - for any reason. I find this odd.

Don't get me wrong, freedom of speech should be protected. But by any means? There should be caveats for when freedom of speech is protected and when it's required. Picketing funerals should be one of those exceptions.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:15:11 UTC | #604222

davidckahn's Avatar Comment 24 by davidckahn

Read the article. They were 300 yards away.

Also, I know that the United States didn't invent freedom of speech. But, to my knowledge, it was the first to enshrine it in the document that would wind up serving as its fundamental source of law. And, yes it can be amended. The US Constitution has been amended many times. We could repeal the 1st Amendment if we wanted to.

I said it earlier, but it's worth repeating: we don't hold freedom of speech to be sacrosanct because it's in the Constitution (which is what several European members of this board seem to think). It is in the Constitution because it is held to be a fundamental human right.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:19:13 UTC | #604223

jameshogg's Avatar Comment 25 by jameshogg

I'm glad there are examples mentioned in the article to which you can draw the line. Legal examples that I can acknowledge.

I used to be worried about children being defenceless against the hell-preaching parents who hide behind the first amendment in order to abuse. Now it seems that, after the examples mentioned which are definitely illegal, in good time we could very well make a law that does protect them. The case for it would stand strong.

I think now, as a result of that uncertainty being resolved, I can safely say I am in favour of complete freedom of speech and expression (within the legal boundaries mentioned here and in the article) as it is written in the U.S. First Amendment.

Do not get me wrong: I am not making it an absolution. The idea of a absolute moral rule makes me skeptical. What I am saying is that I have not heard any convincing argument as to why expressing an opinion should be made a crime. But that does not mean I will not hear one in the future. However, after all the political and democratic progress made in the world thus far, it is not bloody likely.

The main argument I keep hearing against the notion is the argument from hurt feelings. But this falls apart on so many levels: levels which I think most of you here will be all too aware.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:28:22 UTC | #604227

lynda's Avatar Comment 26 by lynda

I agree with the author. As has been pointed out, there are ways to counter the Phelps crew that are equally protected by free speech.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:32:48 UTC | #604228

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 27 by Neodarwinian

The Bill of Rights is a limitation on the powers of government which I am quite comfortable with. Madison, as davidckahn mentions, promoted the amendment as a fundamental human right. The points made by some here are approaching moot because even if this particular amendment could be amended seeing 3/4 of the states doing just that is highly unlikely. Fortunately

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:35:08 UTC | #604229

Pom's Avatar Comment 28 by Pom

Comment 20 by davidckahn

Jollyroger and everyone else who apparently didn't read the article: You are completely ignoring the points where she points out legitimate limits on speech. The fact that you even used the "fire in a theater" cliche proves that you didn't read the article. The fundamental difference is that there is no human right to not be offended.

What utter rubbish. I have read the article, as have many other people. The difference between you and me is that I and they understand what was written - you clearly don't.

There most cetrtainly IS a human right not to be offended by another person, although clearly you don't inderstand much about it. It's the unwarranted invasion of personal space, its freedom from verbal noise pollution, its the liberty to go about one's business without deliberate interference, its personal FREEDOM David - freedom to hold private thoughts without having them deliberately interrupted by persons of spite.

The first amendment is about protecting people from just the sort of nonsense that the Phelps clan are engaged in. It is about people having the right to hold views and opinions free from interfering busybodies, and most particularly from busybodies who set out to annoy, disrupt, persecute, harass.

So you don't like the fire in a cinema cliche? How about standing in front of the altar at one of those church get-togethers to denounce all that the church stands for? Or is a church - a public place indeed - exempt from your first amendment? Try waving placards proclaiming your religion in a mosque. Try shouting that allah is great and mohammed is his prophet in any one of your christian churches.

Wake up sonny, you have a lot to learn. Try getting out a bit more.

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:37:03 UTC | #604233

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 29 by Pitchguest

Read the article. They were 300 yards away.

Also, I know that the United States didn't invent freedom of speech. But, to my knowledge, it was the first to enshrine it in the document that would wind up serving as its fundamental source of law. And, yes it can be amended. The US Constitution has been amended many times. We could repeal the 1st Amendment if we wanted to.

I said it earlier, but it's worth repeating: we don't hold freedom of speech to be sacrosanct because it's in the Constitution (which is what several European members of this board seem to think). It is in the Constitution because it is held to be a fundamental human right.

Right, but it's become a problem because a lot of Youessians (note I said a lot and not most) do consider the constitution to be a sacrament and something that should not be tinkered with unduly, or at all. One situation off the top of my head, and I'm going slightly off topic, was when a person brought an assault rifle to a town hall meeting. He was allowed to carry it, in plain sight (as long as he kept it in plain sight and not concealed), because of the second amendment, the right of every Youessian citizen to bear arms.

Which gives you a similar dilemma as with the first amendment: how far would you go to protect this man's right to bear arms, no matter how peaceful his intentions may be, blatantly bringing an assault rifle to the vicinity of a town hall meeting for no other reason than to bring one, and how far would you go to protect the hateful speech of a hatemongerer like Phelps?

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:39:27 UTC | #604236

jameshogg's Avatar Comment 30 by jameshogg

Comment 29 by Pitchguest :

Which gives you a similar dilemma as with the first amendment: how far would you go to protect this man's right to bear arms, no matter how peaceful his intentions may be, blatantly bringing an assault rifle to the vicinity of a town hall meeting for no other reason than to bring one, and how far would you go to protect the hateful speech with a hatemongerer like Phelps?

You could say the same thing about any blunt object that could kill/injure a person if one wanted to. A dictionary for example, or an encyclopedia, or the Lord of the Rings.

And as for the deliberate production of weaponry, you could also probably say the same thing about the engineer trying to fix the lighting in the town hall. I'm pretty sure if somebody wanted to kill somebody else, they could use any sharp metal object, such as a screwdriver.

In terms of the guns causing accidents, I'm pretty sure there are many other things that can cause accidents too.

That doesn't mean I agree with guns. I'm just saying it's a bit of a baseless argument.

Comment 28 by Jollyroger :

Comment 20 by davidckahn

Jollyroger and everyone else who apparently didn't read the article: You are completely ignoring the points where she points out legitimate limits on speech. The fact that you even used the "fire in a theater" cliche proves that you didn't read the article. The fundamental difference is that there is no human right to not be offended.

What utter rubbish. I have read the article, as have many other people. The difference between you and me is that I and they understand what was written - you clearly don't.

There most cetrtainly IS a human right not to be offended by another person, although clearly you don't inderstand much about it. It's the unwarranted invasion of personal space, its freedom from verbal noise pollution, its the liberty to go about one's business without deliberate interference, its personal FREEDOM David - freedom to hold private thoughts without having them deliberately interrupted by persons of spite.

The first amendment is about protecting people from just the sort of nonsense that the Phelps clan are engaged in. It is about people having the right to hold views and opinions free from interfering busybodies, and most particularly from busybodies who set out to annoy, disrupt, persecute, harass.

So you don't like the fire in a cinema cliche? How about standing in front of the altar at one of those church get-togethers to denounce all that the church stands for? Or is a church - a public place indeed - exempt from your first amendment? Try waving placards proclaiming your religion in a mosque. Try shouting that allah is great and mohammed is his prophet in any one of your christian churches.

Wake up sonny, you have a lot to learn. Try getting out a bit more.

Unwarranted invasion of personal space =/= expressing speech.

Verbal noise pollution = expressing speech, and there's nothing wrong with it. You also have the right to ignore.

And I don't see how spite "interferes with private thoughts".

Do not confuse expressions of opinion with harassment. There is a distinction between the classroom bully acts of expressing opinions and expressing abuse. One is permissible and the other is not: but you cannot say one IS the other when it is not.

Also, yes you do have the right to denounce churches at any place, and at any time. What's your point?

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:56:58 UTC | #604239