Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Sep/12

14

First Amendment Watch

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Cross-posted in the Corner:

Writing in USA Today, Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, reveals that she hasn’t quite got to grips with this whole First Amendment thing:

[W] hy did I tweet that Bacile should be in jail? The “free speech” in Bacile’s film is not about expressing a personal opinion about Islam. It denigrates the religion by depicting the faith’s founder in several ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes to incite and inflame viewers.

Completely wrong. The film is ludicrous, quite remarkably so, but if it does one thing it makes Bacile’s personal opinion of Islam all too obvious.

And then there’s this:

While the First Amendment right to free expression is important, it is also important to remember that other countries and cultures do not have to understand or respect our right.

The heckler’s veto. Endorsed.

Good to know that ideas of American freedom are alive and well at the University of Pennsylvania.

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6 comments

  • Polichinello · September 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I wonder how many of these people out for Bacile’s head were crying over Pussy Riot?

    Not, you, Andrew. I know, but it would be interesting to go through the list later.

  • Jules · September 15, 2012 at 4:29 am

    I’m suuuuuuure she never said anything derogatory towards Christians or Mormons in her classes, right?

  • Snippet · September 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Just wondering…

    If the response to this guy’s movie had not been murderous violence, would Queen Anthea of Tolerance-land be advocating his arrest?

    It’s almost as if these folks are supportive of violent, aggressive, intolerant, murderous extremism or something.

    She didn’t advocate the arrest of those who incited (I mean really incited as in TOLD THEM TO DO IT.) this violence.

    Strange.

    Mystifying…

  • cdogzilla · September 20, 2012 at 2:18 am

    How can someone be so ignorant of the First Amendment be a professor of anything, anywhere? Good grief.

    And, as a secular leftist who did a fair amount of hand-wringing over the whole Pussy Riot situation, I’d like to point out that those of us who spoke out for Pussy Riot were (or should have been) among the first to defend the free speech rights of makers of shoddy movies insulting religious figures. My reaction post from that night is here: http://goo.gl/Bcv2x

  • Polichinello · September 25, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Another secular leftist has a different take:

    The World Doesn’t Love the First Amendment
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/09/the_vile_anti_muslim_video_and_the_first_amendment_does_the_u_s_overvalue_free_speech_.html

    “Americans have not always been so paralyzed by constitutional symbolism. During the Cold War, the U.S. foreign policy establishment urged civil rights reform in order to counter Soviet propagandists’ gleeful reports that Americans fire-hosed black protesters and state police arrested African diplomats who violated Jim Crow laws. Rather than tell the rest of the world to respect states’ rights—an ideal as sacred in its day as free speech is now—the national government assured foreigners that it sought to correct a serious but deeply entrenched problem. It is useful if discomfiting to consider that many people around the world may see America’s official indifference to Muslim (or any religious) sensibilities as similar to its indifference to racial discrimination before the civil rights era.”

  • Steve Cardon · September 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Politicians in the US have a hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy includes but is not limited to:

    1.Appearing to champion the constitution and its guarantee of rights.

    2.Furthering ideological goals.

    3.Helping to further the goals of generous supporters.

    4.Maintaining order, and perpetuating the illusion of control.

    5.Increasing their public profile by appearing in various media.

    6.Achieving power, status, and influence among their political peers

    These needs can be ordered as you like, but all serve and are subordinate to the over-arching need to GET RE-ELECTED. I would say however, that people’s higher need for security places “maintaining order” towards the top of the list. Politicians will curtail personal freedoms to the degree necessary to avoid the appearance of losing control… or actually losing control.

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