Continuing to post responses to the questions on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion as part of our observance of Constitution Day:
From Deondra S. Lewis, Gold Class:
“1. The fact that people feel free to publicize their outrageousness does show the power of Freedom but I think when one’s comment endangers the lives of others, especially your country and more importantly the Christian faith, this becomes an issue.
“2. Freedom of some Religion may be in danger, Freedom of Christianity absolutely not. As long as religious leaders are not trying to sabotage other religions I believe they should have the right to advocate whatever they want as long as its truth about their religion. I am Christian and proud of it.”
From Angelita Buckman:
“Freedom of speech can never go to far, but ignorance and disrespect can. Pastor T Jones was given too much attention by the media and no one from the White House should have responded to him in public. Those actions will increase others to cry out for that type of attention.”
From Darryl Lee, Adjunct Professor of Marketing:
“1. Freedom of Speech: No, Freedom of Speech has not gone too far. Outside of yelling fire in a crowded theatre when there is no fire, the Constitution gives everyone the fundamental right to say what they want no matter how distasteful or wrong others think their beliefs are. Burning the Koran or the American flag are both considered protective speech. In my view, both actions are wrong and ill advised, but we must allow them to occur to protect our own right to free speech. At the same time, we have to right to publicly criticize those whose speech or actions with which we disagree using whatever media we choose: Twitter, Facebook, standing in a public street, TV, print, or radio. The 1st amendment has served the U.S. well for over two centuries. I would not want to see our right to free speech limited on a situational basis regardless of my personal feelings about the speaker or their speech. Freedom of speech is needed to maintain a free society. Compare the United State to those countries that do not allow free speech. In which kind of society would you prefer to live??”
From Sr. Michael Theresa Brauer, SNDdeN
“We have a number of freedoms that seem to be going out the window. I think that what is most sad about the freedom of speech question, and the others as well, is that no one mentions the responsibilities that go along with the freedoms. Because you can say anything you want doesn’t mean you ignore what doing that may mean to others. There is also the question of truth in what you say. Spouting lies is not freedom of speech, but slander. People who feel free to be outrageous are definitely not thinking about what others may do as a result. The man threatening to burn the Koran is being socially stupid, as payment for his hate may be visited on others than himself. We really shouldn’t play into the “eye for an eye” philosophy. That is one philosophy the rule of law is designed to eliminate. I believe that there should be a matching bill of responsibilities to pair with the bill of rights we all think we deserve. Religion provided that before, but now another education area seems to be required.
“Freedom of religion is in danger as long as those who are religious don’t stop the erosion of that right. This country, filled with immigrants, has a Christian religious foundation. It needs to be preserved, even if there are other religions present. The fundamentalist attitude is just as destructive as the militant one, regardless of which religion shows either tendency. Hatred is destructive.”
From Joseph Sheridan, Mathematics Specialist:
“America is the land of religious freedom . . . . . correct? Religions outside the mainstream protestant religions of northern Europe have a long history of discrimination in American. The recent attacks against the Muslim faith follow the same sad path that America has trotted down before – the previous discriminations against Catholics and Jews. No where in the Constitution does it state that the President must practice a mainstream Protestant religion, however the press sure has given lots of time and effort to our current President’s faith, much in the same manner that the press not to long ago made issues of another President from the Catholic faith.
“In the last Presidential election, an issue was made of a gentleman that ran in the primaries for his Mormon faith. Again I ask, where in the Constitution does it prohibit this man from running for office and furthermore why should his faith be an issue? Not too long ago in America’s history Jews were not allowed to hold public office unless they would swear upon his Christian faith – and if he did so, was lying under oath and was thus barred from office. George Santayana once stated that “those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.” How true – here we are America repeating the same religious discrimination of the past, the Jews, the Catholics, the Mormons and now the Muslims.
“Religious discrimination in America is the like a repeating decimal, sooner or later you get tired of writing the same number over and over and over again and you just stop and draw a line over it.”
More to come! Keep sending me your comments and I will post them during the next several days… send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the “comments” link below …