Secular Right | Reality & Reason

TAG | Censorship

Jun/12

16

“Offensive”

Via Detroit News:

Lansing – House Republicans prohibited state Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking on the floor Thursday after she ended a speech Wednesday against a bill restricting abortions by referencing her female anatomy.

Brown, a West Bloomfield Democrat and mother of three, said a package of abortion regulation bills would violate her Jewish religious beliefs and that abortions be allowed in cases where it is required to save the life of the mother.

“Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,'” Brown said Wednesday.

Brown’s comment prompted a rebuke Thursday by House Republicans, who wouldn’t allow her to voice her opinion on a school employee retirement bill.

“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

It rarely fails does it? The moment that some public figure starts jabbering on about something that he or she finds “offensive”, an attack on free speech is never far behind.

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Mar/12

16

Big Government Rick (Again)

Here’s Josh Barro writing for Forbes with details of some Santorum plans for wasteful and intrusive government:

The Daily Caller flags a little-discussed position paper on Rick Santorum’s campaign website—his pledge to aggressively prosecute those who produce and distribute pornography. Santorum avers that “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography.” He pledges to use the resources of the Department of Justice to fight that “pandemic,” by bringing obscenity prosecutions against pornographers.

I would note that this is very different from what the Bush Administration did. The Bush DOJ did establish an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force in 2005, but this body focused on bringing prosecutions against small-time producers who made porn with extreme content. (Even so, it faced significant pushback from U.S. Attorneys, some of whom viewed such prosecutions as a distraction and a misuse of resources.) Many social conservative groups were disappointed with the task force, contending that more mainstream hardcore porn violates obscenity laws, and they urged the Bush Administration to bring obscenity cases against major producers.

Santorum promises that he would do exactly this. His statement references going after pornography that is distributed not just on the Internet, but also “on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV.” Perhaps I am not staying in the most interesting hotels, but my impression is that porn distributed through such channels is almost definitionally not extreme. Santorum’s statement also touts his work on this issue with “groups including Morality in Media, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Family Association”—many of which were among the groups calling on the Bush Administration to prosecute mainstream porn producers in 2007. And he says he “proudly support[s] the efforts of the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition,” which advocates the use of obscenity laws against mainstream porn.

Some of Santorum’s defenders have taken the tack of separating his personal views from his policy views. Santorum thinks contraception is “not OK” and he has announced his intention to use the bully pulpit to discuss “the dangers of contraception.” But he doesn’t think contraception should be illegal, and he voted for Title X contraception subsidies (though he said in a recent debate that he opposes Title X, despite voting for it.) On pornography, though, Santorum’s views can’t be written off as purely personal—he has stated a clear intent to use the levers of government to stop adults from making and watching porn.

And, of course to fritter away taxpayer money (and prosecutorial resources) while doing so.

Now that’s obscene.

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May/10

11

Attacking The Infidel

Reason‘s Michael Moynihan has the details (complete with video) of yet another attempt to suppress free speech in the name of religion:

Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who drew Mohammed as a dog, was recently told that a scheduled lecture on free speech, to be held at Jönköping Högskolan, would be canceled due to “security concerns.” This, of course, is a common evasion, intended to protect the brittle sensibilities of Muslim students while supposedly standing four square behind the right of free speech.

Alas, the administrators in Jönköping had a point. During a lecture in Uppsala today Vilks was attacked by a pack of feral fundamentalists, one of whom managed to headbutt the artist and break his glasses. Police intervened and waged a short battle with the religious nutters who can be heard in the video below, captured by the newspaper UNT, shouting Allahu Akbar!

The disruption was thuggish, and the physical attack on the cartoonist was revolting, but the thing that most struck me about the video footage was the level of  hysteria displayed by some of the protestors, a hysteria made all the more disturbing by the fact that it was not the reaction to some sudden, unexpected shock (the protestors can have seen little at the lecture of a nature that they had not already expected) but was instead a manifestation of a deeper, longer-lasting rage that has long since lost any connection it may ever once have had with rationality.

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