Smoky Mountains Sunrise
Showing posts with label First Amendment Free Speech Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label First Amendment Free Speech Rights. Show all posts

Thursday, April 25, 2013

US Military Blocking Southern Baptist Web Site?

Access to the web site of the Southern Baptist Convention has been blocked on US military bases, because of an official judgment that the site carries "hostile content," Fox News has reported. 

It was not clear how many military bases had blocked the Southern Baptist site. A member of the military reported that he had been unable to reach the site, and had been warned that his attempt to access material from the Southern Baptist Convention had been recorded. 

The Southern Baptist Convention represents the largest single Protestant group in the US, and generally takes conservative positions on issues such as homosexuality and abortion. 

The report of blocking of the Southern Baptist site comes shortly after a report that a Pentagon official had classified Catholicism as a form of extremism. 

Additional sources for this story Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Middle School Football Coach Fired for Anti-Obama Song

The song above was co-written by Bryan Glover, a 26 year-old, Christian football coach who was, until recently, employed by Grassland Middle School in Tennessee. Unfortunately, Bryan was unaware that First Amendment rights are no longer protected in Obamunist America, and his lyrics are repugnant to the thought police who manage the government schools. Glover has been fired for expressing his political views.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Democrats Attempt to Silence Unfriendly Bloggers

The Democrats’ DISCLOSE Act is bad enough for attempting to obstruct free speech rights with regard to political campaigning, but the chutzpah doesn’t end there. In case you haven’t heard, the bill would affect how certain incorporated entities exercise their free speech rights, with an exemption for some in the media sphere like newspapers, TV news, and the like.

Never mind that the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Citizens United case said, “Differential treatment of media corporations and other corporations cannot be squared with the First Amendment.” Democrats clearly are not interested in aligning this legislation with the First Amendment. But here’s the kicker – bloggers don’t get the same exemption provided to other media sources.

In order to exercise their right to political free speech, bloggers would have to jump through the same onerous new hoops as many businesses, nonprofit groups, and your local homeowners’ association (seriously).

The Obama administration has already shown itself perfectly willing to freeze out media sources that hurt its feelings (Fox News, anyone?). Would anyone be surprised to see them use the hastily-written DISCLOSE Act to crack down on less-than-friendly political bloggers? After all, election season is throttling up, and there are plenty of New Media types not willing to sing the praises of the regime's reckless agenda.

Incidentally, the bill’s primary author is the guy in charge of getting Democrats elected to the House of Representatives, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). And as a huge contributor to Democrat campaign efforts, Big Labor is – of course – not subject to all the new rules.

For the record, they will put this blogger in one of their FEMA detention camps before we will be silenced by the thugs of the Obama regime.

Friday, March 26, 2010

STEVE FORBES: Could a Chavez-Style Media Crackdown Be Coming Our Way?

Think things are going from bad to worse in Venezuela as Chavez continues to crackdown on his critics? Wait till you hear about plans for "media reform" in the U.S. by Chavez supporter and Free Press founder Robert McChesney.

By Steve Forbes

Recently, the Organization for the American States (OAS) released a new and discouraging, but not unsurprising report about the troubling anti-democratic trend in Venezuela, as Hugo Chavez continues to crack down on those who oppose him – be they in the judiciary, opposition parties or the media. The OAS’s 300 page report by jurists and civil rights activists from Antigua, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the United States points out the increasing role that violence and murder have played in Chavez’s consolidation of his power, including the documented killing of journalists.

Each day Chavez gets closer to his goal of a Castroite dictatorship.

The Washington Post, in an editorial on Monday, called the report “shocking” and suggested that those who continue to defend Chavez against his” Yanqui imperialist” critics ought to be thoroughly discredited.

Many of Chavez’s most ardent supporters here in the U.S. come out of the “media reform” movement, which believes that our corporate media has been thoroughly co-opted by capitalists bent on destroying the benevolent leadership of the likes of Chavez. They think that our capitalist-plagued media world is in dire need of reform.

The chief proponent of this thinking – which amounts to an unprecedented government intrusion into our own country’s media -- is Professor Robert McChesney, founder of the Orwellian-named Free Press, one of the most influential organizations in the growing “media reform” movement on the far-left.

Free Press’ curious stance on media reform can best be summed up by McChesney who suggests that, “Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself."

Such radical hyperbole coming from the founder of a group called “Free Press” drips with irony. But it’s a rhetorical flourish that Dr. McChesney is apparently quite comfortable with. He has employed it repeatedly to argue that his version of media reform is the first step in the struggle to remake American society in a socialistic fashion. In his attack on the existing media “power structure” in the U.S., he calls for a “class struggle from below…In the end there is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”

If any of this sounds eerily familiar, it should. It’s right out of Hugo Chavez’s playbook. Like Chavez, Free Press’ call for “media reform” harkens back to a bygone era when the radical left’s doctrinarian opposition to a genuinely free press was rooted in the totalitarian political theories of Marx, Lenin, Hitler and others.

All of this could be ignored as the comical rantings of a loony leftist professor safely ensconced in the tenured halls of academia, were it not for Free Press’ astonishing -- and growing -- influence on policymaking within the current administration and Congress.

As hard as it may be to believe, McChesney and his indefatigable band of media revolutionaries are being taken seriously by some policymakers in Washington. They are granted regular audiences with those overseeing our nation’s media policy at the FCC and FTC, and meeting regularly with members of Congress.

Their latest plan to defacto nationalize the media calls for the federal government to bail out newspapers with $60 billion in new government subsidies. As anyone familiar with Washington knows, money does not come free: Such subsidies will virtually invite the government into the fourth estate as overseers. Richard Nixon must be rubbing his eyes in disbelief. But Free Press tells us not to worry. Such media reform will have safeguards in place to protect the freedom of the press from government influence.

So how committed is Free Press to enforcing such safeguards once the government is invited into the media business? Judging from McChesney’s defense of Chavez’s media crackdown in Venezuela, not much.

In full-throated defense of Mr. Chavez in 2007, McChesney laments Western media’s skewed portrayal of theVenezuelan regime.

“Regrettably,” he notes, “U.S. media coverage of Venezuela…says more about the deficiencies of our own news media than it does about Venezuela. It demonstrates again…how our news media are far too willing to carry water for Washington than to ascertain and report the truth of the matter.”

And according to McChesney, the truth of the matter is that everything’s fine with Chavez. In Venezuela, McChesney notes, “aggressive, unqualified political dissent is alive and well in the Venezuelan mainstream media, in a manner few other democratic nations have ever known, including our own.” “1984” author George Orwell, if he were alive, would have used such a quote in a sequel.

But most galling in light of Free Press’ assurances that we have nothing to worry about by inviting the feds into the media business, is McChesney’s defense of Chavez’s crackdown on opposition media in Venezuela. Regarding Venezuelan broadcaster RCTV, a persistent Chavez critic whose license was revoked by the president himself, McChesney suggests that if the station were broadcasting in the United States, “its license would have been revoked years ago,” and that “its owners would likely have been tried for criminal offenses, including treason.”

All of this begs the question: Once the federal government starts subsidizing our own free press, how long until the feds start revoking broadcast licenses of government opponents and bringing pesky reporters up on charges of say, “corruption” or “subversion”? According to McChesney and the Free Press folks, it apparently can’t happen soon enough.

Steve Forbes is President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Obama's "Turn In Your Neighbors" Program is International

The Obama administration is revealing its ruthless, totalitarian Marxism at home and abroad. Their political model has always and everywhere depended on networks of informants, and the White House is wasting no time in soliciting a national network of comrades willing to spy and inform on their neighbors.

Since no communication with the White House can be deleted, it is inevitable that all E-mail messages, blog posts, and other private communications sent to the White House on the proposed government takeover of health care and other matters, will lead to a data bank of names, E-mail and IP addresses. A chilling pall is about to descend on God-given rights that have always been protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Obama's network of red shirt informants doesn't even end at the waters edge. WorldNetDaily has reported that George Mitchell, Obama's Middle East envoy, has set up an "enhanced apparatus based in the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem that closely monitors the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods, incorporating regular tours of the areas, at times on a daily basis."

The website, no doubt already closely monitored by an Obama commissar, further reports:

"Mitchell's apparatus takes things to a whole new level.

They are watching very closely," said an Israeli official.

Jewish leaders in the West Bank said the consulate takes no pains to hide their activities.

"They come out. They tour our communities. They try to interact with our leadership," David Ha'ivri, spokesmen for the Shomron Regional Council in the West Bank, told WND.

"They drive around the towns, check up on what's going on. They try to mingle with us to get more information on what we're up to and what we're doing," he said.

Ha'ivri said the consular officials present themselves as advisers to the U.S. consul-general.

"But we know they are really spies for the Obama administration," he said.

Jerusalem officials affirm the consular staff report to Obama's envoy, Mitchell.
Americans are waking up to the reality that thugs are in the White House who will use all the tools of a totalitarian, police state to impose their new order. The Tea Parties are already being demonized as "angry mobs" and "Nazis." The days when civil disobedience and heroic resistance will be required are not far off.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Valedictorian Barred from Giving Speech Because of References to “God” Files Suit

From LifeSiteNews

Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a free speech lawsuit in the Montana Thirteenth Judicial District Court on behalf of a high school valedictorian who was forbidden from making any remarks at all in her school's graduation ceremony after she refused to strip references to God and Christ from her valedictory speech.

"This is a case of pure censorship and a denial of the freedom of speech," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "If we don't begin protecting the right to free speech in the schools, we are going to lose the right to speak entirely."

Renee Griffith was a co-valedictorian of her 2008 senior class at Butte High School, which is operated by Butte School District No. 1. By virtue of her scholastic achievements, Renee was selected to speak at the graduation ceremony on May 30, 2008, along with several other students. The students were instructed to speak about what they had learned during their time in high school. Although the valedictorians were asked to prepare their own remarks, Renee and another student, Ethan, planned to deliver their speeches together, alternately mentioning things they had learned in school.

The list of lessons learned ranged from the mundane (Renee: "I learned that Homecoming Week is a time when people can wear underwear on the outside of their pants and no one cares") to the heartfelt (Ethan: "I learned that [i]t takes just one person to get a rock rolling down a hill, and likewise, it takes just one person to traverse this planet to gather change. The power for change is inherent in humanity and each individual. We all have the framework for greatness and impact. Thus, it is important that we all realize the foundation within all of us and step out to better and further the world").

Although school officials allegedly did not object to Ethan's testimonial about humanity's inherent power for change, they did object to Renee's heartfelt statement about how she learned to persevere and not fear by standing up for her religious convictions: "I learned to persevere these past four years, even through failure or discouragement, when I had to stand for my convictions. I can say that my regrets are few and far between. I didn't let fear keep me from sharing Christ and His joy with those around me. I learned to impart hope, to encourage people to treat each day as a gift. I learned not to be known for my grades or for what I did during school, but for being committed to my faith and morals and being someone who lived with a purpose from God with a passionate love for Him."

Just prior to the graduation ceremony, Renee was ordered to remove the words "Christ" and "God" from her speech and replace them with the following phrases: "sharing my faith" and "lived with a purpose, a purpose derived from my faith and based on a love of mankind." When Renee insisted on her right to use the words of her choice, she was forbidden from speaking altogether at the graduation ceremony.

A copy of the complaint is available here:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Christian Valedictorian Case Headed for Supreme Court

From OneNewsNow
By Jody Brown

Attorneys for a high school valedictorian whose microphone was turned off when she began sharing her Christian faith say they'll appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Rutherford Institute is representing Brittany McComb, whose lawsuit against school officials was dismissed Friday by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court stated that "by preventing her from making a proselytizing graduation speech," McComb's free speech and free exercise rights were not violated, nor was her right to equal protection.

In June 2006, McComb strayed from her school-approved script to tell how faith in Jesus had filled a void in her life. Her microphone was shut off in mid-sentence as she said, "God's love is so great that he gave up -- gave up his only Son..." The audience responded with boos and shouts to turn it back on, and responded similarly when school officials attempted to introduce the next valedictorian speaker, saying "she deserves this chance to speak."

John Whitehead (Rutherford)One month later, McComb filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Foothill High (Henderson, Nevada). The school's attempts to have that original case dismissed were rejected by the U.S. District Court for Nevada in June 2007, and school officials subsequently appealed to the Ninth Circuit to have the case dismissed.

The Rutherford Institute says it will now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that school officials violated McComb's constitutional rights.

"This is a very important free-speech case that will affect the rights of all persons across America," states John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, in a press release. "If government officials can extinguish speech by turning off microphones at public assemblies, then none of us will have any rights."

microphone 2He argues that McComb's case is another example of a "politically correct culture" that silences Christians in order not to offend those of other beliefs.

"Brittany McComb worked hard to earn the right to address her classmates as valedictorian," Whitehead says on his firm's website, "and she has a constitutional right -- like any other student -- to freely speak about the factors that contributed to her success, whether they be a supportive family, friends, or her faith in Jesus Christ."

Brittany McComb was one of three valedictorians chosen to deliver a speech at the June 2006 commencement ceremony at Foothill High School. She is currently studying at Oxford University.

Friday, March 6, 2009

UN May Ban Criticism of Islam, Making It a Criminal Offense in the U.S.

The response of the United States government to this proposal should finally awaken Americans to their act of national suicide last November. Will the Obama Administration surrender your First Amendment free speech rights to the UN?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Being Annoying Could Become Costly

From OneNewsNow
By Charlie Butts

Brighton, Michigan, apparently wants to stop "annoying" free speech.

The Brighton City Council recently passed a strict code for public conduct, and those who violate the law, including those who annoy someone else, could be cited and fined. reports Brighton Police Chief Tom Wightman issued the ordinance. Even though the edict features the word "annoy" at least twice, he contends it "is not for somebody that says something annoying" but rather for "some course of action for repeated acts."

Gary Glenn, head of American Family Association of Michigan, disagrees. "I think this ordinance in Brighton is clearly unconstitutional in that it attempts to restrict people's exercise of their free-speech rights based on the content of their speech," he says. "That's clearly viewpoint discrimination."

Police Chief Wightman says the ordinance would apply more to verbal interactions than an upsetting or annoying T-shirt, for example. However, Glen believes it could have a negative effect on individuals and pro-family groups.
Gary Glenn
"If someone dared, in a public place in Brighton, expressed their sincere religious conviction -- for example, that homosexual behavior is sinful -- obviously if someone was offended or insulted or even 'annoyed,' as the ordinance says, they might try to bring charges against somebody for merely expressing their sincerely held Christian beliefs," he points out.

The town is ripe for a lawsuit, says Glenn, if officials try to enforce the new decree.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Graduate Changes Speech, But Fellow Valedictorian Adds Bible Verses to His

While at the request of school officials one West Ottawa (MI) High School valedictorian removed Bible verses from his graduation speech, another slipped some in.

“If they weren’t going to let Jed speak, I figured I could,” West Ottawa class of 2008 President Andrew Webster said of his fellow valedictorian Jed Grooters.

“What I said is what I truly felt and saying anything else would not have been true to who I am,” Webster said. “I wasn’t expressing the views of the school, I was expressing my own views. ... I was told to write an essay about a life
lesson and I did that.”

Each of the nine valedictorians was asked to prepare a two-minute speech to read at Sunday’s commencement ceremony. The speeches had to be pre-approved by school officials. School officials had asked Grooters to remove an extended Bible quotation from his speech and rewrite it in his own words. If he refused, Grooters would not have been allowed to speak at his graduation.

Grooters’ speech was first rejected because it consisted almost entirely of one long quote, West Ottawa Superintendent Patricia Koeze said earlier this week. The school’s legal counsel advised officials that quoting Scripture at the graduation ceremony was a violation of the “no establishment of religion” clause in the First Amendment, she said.

“You may have heard I will no longer be giving the speech I was going to because it is inappropriate for a graduation setting,” Grooters said Sunday afternoon, eliciting a boo or two from audience members.

He did not read 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 as he had planned. Instead, Grooters put together a few words, ending with: “Jesus loves you and that is the most important life lesson of all.”

He introduced the next valedictorian who had to wait for the standing ovation to die down.

Webster’s original, pre-approved speech was along the lines of “life is a game and we spend too much time spinning around and not focusing on important things,” he said.

Without telling officials, Webster changed his speech to include John 16:33, Ecclesiastes 3:10-14, 4:4, 4:7-8, 5:18-20 and 5:10 — “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” — and 5:15 — “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.”Webster said Grooters had inspired him to be true to himself.

School officials did not approach him after the ceremony and will not reprimand him, they said.

“What I’ll say about that is one of our speeches went longer than what was planned, but overall the kids did a great job,” Principal Kent Henson said after the ceremony.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Holland, Michigan School District Violates Christian Student's Free Speech Rights

Family Group: Holland schools violate Constitution by censoring Christian valedictorian's "life lesson"

Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals: "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between ch
urch and state."

HOLLAND, Mich. -- West Ottawa Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Koeze's censorship of a Christian high school senior's valedictory address -- planned for graduation ceremonies Sunday -- is a "clear, outrageous, and unconstitutional violation of the student's First Amendment free speech rights," a statewide family values group said Saturday.

The American Family Association of Michigan blasted Koeze's censorship of planned remarks by West Ottawa High School valedictorian Jed Grooters, who included quotations from the New Testament book of Corinthians. AFA-Michigan President Gary Glenn, Midland, said Koeze's action "is a clear case of unconstitutional discrimination based on the content of the student's speech, propped up by some obviously very poor legal advice from the school district's attorneys."

"Since the U.S. Supreme Court long ago prohibited school officials from unconstitutionally forcing students to surrender their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door," Glenn said, "Supt. Koeze's heavy-handed intolerance and discrimination toward this student's expression of his Christian worldview is an engraved invitation for a First Amendment free speech lawsuit against the school system for which local taxpayers would have to foot the bill for attorneys fees and damages."

The Grand Rapids Press Saturday reported that Grooters -- a 4.0 GPA student and eight-time varsity athlete who won the sportsmanship award in three different varsity sports this year -- was asked by school officials to give a valedictory address Sunday talking about a "life lesson" he wished to share with fellow students.

But upon submitting a draft of his speech to school officials, Grooters was told he would not be allowed to speak unless he removed his speech's references to the Bible. The student refused, and the matter was referred to Koeze.

According to the Press, Koeze labeled Grooters' comments "a religious speech" and insisted that allowing him to present it during the school's graduation ceremonies would violate the so-called "separation of church and state."

Glenn said the federal Appeals Court which acts on all federal court decisions originating in Michigan has ruled exactly opposite of Koeze's faulty interpretation of the First Amendment.

He cited a April 2006 case in which the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals -- by a vote of 19 to 5 -- upheld a three-judge panel of the court's earlier rejection of the American Civil Liberties Union's claim that a Kentucky courthouse violated the First Amendment by displaying a copy of the Ten Commandments found in the Old Testament of the Bible.

In its ruling, the Sixth Circuit went beyond the specifics of the Kentucky case, issuing a broad statement of the Constitution's original intent, dramatically declaring that religious speech is protected by, not at odds with, the First Amendment.

"The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state," the three-judge panel had unanimously ruled in December 2005 in an opinion authored by Senior Judge Richard Suhrheinrich of Williamston, a graduate of Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law and a full-time faculty member at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing.

The Suhrheinrich-authored decision further characterized the American Civil Liberties Union's repeated references to the so-called "separation of church and state" as "extra-constitutional" and "tiresome."

See page 13 of the Court of Appeals panel's December 2005 decision:

"To quote the same Appeals Court that will eventually rule on any free speech lawsuit that results if Supt. Koeze continues to censor Jed Grooters' quotation of the Bible, the superintendent's false claim that the First Amendment requires her to do so is both 'extra-constitutional' and 'tiresome,'" Glenn said. "In fact, the First Amendment requires school officials to both respect and allow Jed to fully practice his First Amendment free speech rights."

Glenn said if the school district refuses to back off its unconstitutional censorship of Grooters' speech Sunday, "Christian legal defense foundations across the country will be waiting in line to provide free legal representation to this courageous, principled young man and his family."

"The question Supt. Koeze and West Ottawa school board members should ponder is how school district taxpayers are likely to feel about being forced to pay attorneys fees and damages when the federal courts reject her blatant violation of Jeb Grooters' First Amendment free speech rights," he said.

The American Family Association of Michigan's mission is to promote and defend traditional Judeo-Christian family values, Glenn said.


The American Family Association of Michigan is asking supporters to contact West Ottawa Schools Superintendent Patricia Koeze to voice their objection to the district's censorship and persecution of Christians:
Supt. Patricia Koeze
Phone: 616-738-5700