Death of Free Speech in the Western World.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote an interesting op-ed in the Washington Post concerning the death of free speech in the western world. The catalyst for this were concerns about the use of, so-called, offensive language against religious orthodoxy.

Turley cites several examples from the Middle East and Europe where drastic punishments have been levied against offenders for degradation of religious doctrines, such as Islam.

Keeping in mind our own First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
These two rights appear in the same amendment for a reason. They are inextricably linked to each other and their purity depends that they be defended equally. No one of any reasonable mind should advocate nor tolerate speech which insights violence or prejudice against any particular group of people, based on denomination or religious belief. However, limiting the rights of dissenters to speak freely about what they interpret from a religion sets just as dangerous a precedent.

The laws of some political systems are purely based on or are heavily influenced by their culture's religious orthodoxy. By limiting the ability to speak out against a religion you might also limit the ability of the people to speak out against the government. Thereby ensuring the rise of a tyrannical and oppressive government.

This is not to say that this is case in the United States, quite the contrary. The Constitutional framers were wise enough to realize the needs of both of these rights to demand equal protection under the law. Although, if this balance is not maintained with a certain degree of earnestness there could come a time where they no longer exist. The result would be a country you wouldn't even recognize, let alone want to be part of.

(H/T memeorandum)



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