11 Apr You can’t say that!
The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. However, all over the nation businesses, the government, schools, and universities are revoking those rights because the person in charge does not agree with what is being said or written.
A small example of this happened to my daughter when she was in the second grade. My daughter along with several other second graders was to go to the microphone during the second grade music performance and say what she was thankful for. In the rehearsal, my daughter got up to the microphone and said, “I am thankful for Jesus”. A flushed and embarrassed teacher pulled her aside and said that saying that was not appropriate and she would have to think of something else to be thankful for. My daughter, confused at the teacher’s reaction, agreed to change. Later, we informed her that the teacher was wrong. She still chose to change what she said.
In Wyoming, a city attorney ordered a restraining order against a pro-life group, Operation Save America, without notifying them. When the group went to set up their pro-life signs, they were arrested. Just yesterday, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled in their favor.
Also in Wyoming, the state government wouldn’t allow the pro-life group, WyWatch Family Action, to display non-graphic pro-life posters in the state capitol. The ACLU took the case stating, “While the ACLU doesn’t agree with WyWatch’s anti-choice message, we firmly support their right to say it.” The state government has agreed to pay the $30,000 in attorney’s fees plus $1 in nominal damages.
In Phoenix, AZ, a local resident planning to hand out flyers and speech to interested passerbys about his Christian religion at South Mountain Community College was told that he would have to pay a fee, take out special insurance, and give the school two weeks’ notice. Faced with a lawsuit, filed by Alliance Defense Fund Lawyers, Maricopa Community College officials acknowledged their decision to revise these policies. ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jonathan Scruggs stated, “Free speech can’t come with a price tag and a burdensome waiting period.”
In Minneapolis, MN, the city’s Park and Recreation Board effectively exiled a group of Christians handing out Bibles to an isolated “no pride zone” during the Twin Cities Pride Festival. The Alliance Defense Fund filed a federal lawsuit, March 30th.
In Waynesville, OH, a student wore a T-shirt that said, “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe”. The school principal ordered the young man to turn the T-shirt inside out. The student did so, but after doing some research that night, concluded that he had a First Amendment right to wear the shirt. This student wore the shirt again the next day. He was told by the principal that he’d be suspended if he didn’t take it off. The student again complied, but with the help of Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal group, the student sent a letter to the Principal and filed a federal law suit.
I may not personally agree with the LGBT legal agenda, but, like the ACLU lawyer representing WyWatch Family Action said, I may not agree with what a person says, but I firmly support their right to say it. I hope the Minneapolis group as well as this Waynesville student wins their lawsuits. It is important for all of us to be able to enjoy the protections given in the first amendment even when someone else disagrees with what we believe or what we have to say.