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First Amendment

Civility and Free Speech in Education

David Moshman | Posted 03.23.2015 | Education
David Moshman

Charlie Hebdo could be published in the United States. But what if it were distributed in schools or assigned for students to read? Is uncivil speech protected by the First Amendment? This is a question not so easily answered. The short answer is this: In general, yes; but in education, no.

Why Suppressing Free Speech to Protect Religion Is a Bad Idea

Sanjay Sanghoee | Posted 03.21.2015 | Crime
Sanjay Sanghoee

All we will accomplish is an environment where prejudice and hatred fester and grow in the shadows, and where extremists use incitement as an excuse for their atrocities (at least in their propaganda). It shouldn't be hard to see why this is a bad idea.

The Attacks in Paris Are a Clarifying Moment for Freedom of Speech

Peter Scheer | Posted 03.17.2015 | Politics
Peter Scheer

The terrorist attacks in Paris, for all their horror and barbarity, are a clarifying event. Freedom of speech, we can all see, is the ultimate soft target, as vulnerable as it is precious.

Controversial 'Ag-Gag' Charges Dropped in Utah -- But There's Still Work to Do

Michael A. Webermann | Posted 03.17.2015 | Green
Michael A. Webermann

If you aren't familiar with ag-gag laws, think of them as anti-whistleblower laws, criminalizing the act of photographing abuses on agriculture facilities or slaughterhouses. Six states have successfully passed these laws.

Vague Professional Codes Threaten Student Speech Rights

Will Creeley | Posted 03.17.2015 | College
Will Creeley

The stakes for student speech in Keefe and Oyama are high. Like FIRE and other free speech watchdogs, students nationwide should hope that the First Amendment isn't expelled from professional programs at our public universities.

We Need Free Speech Because We Are Ignorant

Michael Shammas | Posted 03.16.2015 | Politics
Michael Shammas

We are all ignorant; none of us have all the answers. That fact is not only a strong argument in favor of free speech and against those who would suppress it -- it is a spur toward greater wisdom.

Je Suis Larry Flynt?

Victor Dorff | Posted 03.16.2015 | Politics
Victor Dorff

In our society, vulgarians like Larry Flynt and the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo are the vanguard who protect freedom of speech. They are the canary in the coal mine, whose death warns us of the unseen dangers gathering around us.

And the winner is...

Marcia Liss | Posted 03.11.2015 | Comedy
Marcia Liss


Nous Sommes Charlie: Offence Is Never Given - Only Taken.

Robin Koerner | Posted 03.09.2015 | Politics
Robin Koerner

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are like all other rights: to keep them you have to exercise them -- and sometimes that takes courage and involves risk. We should be profoundly grateful to those who help keep that right for us by exercising it.

Honor Charlie Hebdo: Let Satirical and Offensive Images Speak Louder Than Terrorists' Actions

Clay Calvert | Posted 03.09.2015 | Politics
Clay Calvert

In the United States, where we have a First Amendment, the remedy for speech with which we disagree or find offensive is not censorship. The remedy, instead, is counterspeech -- to add more speech to the marketplace of ideas.

Free Speech on Campus

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 03.09.2015 | Education
Geoffrey R. Stone

Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.

Jason Linkins

Maryland Lawmaker Thinks Journalists Need His 'Authorization' To Use His Name, 'Kirby Delauter' | Jason Linkins | Posted 01.06.2015 | Politics

Got a little story this morning about the Streisand Effect -- which, if you're unfamiliar with the term, is that thing where an inept attempt to censo...

Why Christians Should Support the "Satanic" Statue in Oklahoma

Christian Piatt | Posted 03.08.2015 | Religion
Christian Piatt

Oklahoma may seem an unlikely place for what has been called a satanic sculpture to be installed on government property. In fact, there may be no better place for it.

Of Rose Parades in Pasadena & Marriage Equality in Florida

Rev. Susan Russell | Posted 02.02.2016 | Queer Voices
Rev. Susan Russell

Yes, we are still on a journey toward making that dream of liberty and justice for all not just a pledge we make to our flag but a reality we live in our nation. And next week -- when same-sex couples start getting married in Florida -- we will be a little closer to that goal.

Promoting Press Freedom -- U.S. Spends Over $100 Million Per Year

Frank Vogl | Posted 03.01.2015 | Media
Frank Vogl

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.

Four Times Federal Judges Kept the Government Honest in 2014

Evan Bernick | Posted 03.01.2015 | Politics
Evan Bernick

The federal judiciary has allowed government at all levels to devour the Constitution for so long that we are essentially stuck with leftovers. But this year, federal courts of appeal vigilantly guarded those remaining morsels in four important cases.

Sony Pictures Mans Up: Now We Need to Watch The Interview

Clay Calvert | Posted 02.23.2015 | Entertainment
Clay Calvert

The good news on Tuesday afternoon from Sony Pictures does not, however, end the fight. Not in the least. Now it is time for two more very important things to happen.

First Theater to Screen The Interview Loses Internet for 5 Days

Keith Thomson | Posted 02.25.2015 | Entertainment
Keith Thomson

Jubilant Plaza employees added big red letters spelling out "Freedom Prevails" to their marquee, then took to the Internet to share the news. Or, rather, they would have taken to the Internet.

Freedom of Expression Is Worth Fighting For

Michael Keegan | Posted 02.18.2015 | Politics
Michael Keegan

For The Interview, it appears for the moment, the show will not go on. It's hard to know exactly what motivated the theater chains that cancelled the show. The end result is that we have now allowed the government of North Korea to dictate content.

2014: The Year of the Heckler

Greg Lukianoff | Posted 02.17.2015 | College
Greg Lukianoff

The problem with granting heckler's vetoes over speech is that it incentivizes threats of disruption or violence from the least tolerant members of our society.

Cowardly Sony Pictures Caves: The Slippery Slope of Self-Censorship

Clay Calvert | Posted 02.17.2015 | Entertainment
Clay Calvert

The bottom line is that this has become a fiscal and free speech fiasco for Sony. It sends a terrible message to this country's enemies and it sends us down a slippery slope of self-censorship and silence. When Hollywood is asked to put up or shut up, it will shut up.

EU Bureaucrats Want to Dictate What Content Americans Can View on U.S.-Based Websites

Peter Scheer | Posted 02.16.2015 | Technology
Peter Scheer

Although the Right to be Forgotten ruling, to date, may have affected content that is mostly trivial, the precedent of governmental censorship across borders, once established, can't be easily confined to information that society doesn't much care about.

I'm With Stupid: Jesus and Marijuana Chain of Offense

Todd Hartley | Posted 02.14.2015 | Comedy
Todd Hartley

Answer this question truthfully for me: Who's worse these days, people who say or write offensive stuff or the people who get really offended by it? Once upon a time, I imagine the obvious answer was the offenders, but with the way things are now, I honestly think the offended may have become the bigger problem.

Analyzing Ferguson

William B. Bradshaw | Posted 02.05.2015 | Politics
William B. Bradshaw

It is unimportant whether we agree with the decision of the grand jury or the juries of future trials and the actions of special investigations. The United States is a nation of laws, and the grand jury has spoken for now. We need to move forward in a peaceful, thoughtful and lawful manner.

Mindfulness Meditation in Public Schools: Side-Stepping Supreme Court Religion Rulings

Candy Gunther Brown, Ph.D. | Posted 02.04.2015 | Education
Candy Gunther Brown, Ph.D.

Why is mindfulness sweeping American public schools? There is a perceived crisis in U.S. public education.