Notes on the ‘Inciting Violence’ Exception to the First Amendment


In the wake of the terrorist attack on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, I've seen a lot of people demand that various anti-abortion zealots be criminally charged with inciting violence, conspiracy or being an accessory before the fact. This post will explain why such charges are incredibly unlikely and would be nearly impossible to make stick if a prosecutor did bring them. … [Read more...]

Badawi May Be Pardoned for His ‘Crimes’

Some tentatively wonderful news regarding Raid Badawi, the Saudi atheist blogger sentence to years in prison and 1000 lashes. According to a Swiss diplomat, his sentence has been suspended, which may pave the way for King Salman of Saudi Arabia to pardon him for his "crime" of blasphemy. It's not entirely clear exactly what's going on, but someone I know who is friends with Badawi's wife says this story is "partially accurate" and seems hopeful. … [Read more...]

Ben Carson Wants to Ban Religious Hate Speech

Credit: Michael Vadon

Ben Carson released his plan to defeat ISIS in a Washington Post column on Wednesday and, as one might expect, it's mostly ignorant babble for someone who is utterly clueless about virtually everything. That includes the Constitution, because the weirdest part of his plan is that he wants to ban religious hate speech -- but only Muslim hate speech, I'm sure. … [Read more...]

Bangladeshi Government Has Screwed Up Priorities

Islamic terrorists have gone on a killing spree throughout Bangladesh, particularly targeting atheist and secular writers and those who publish their writings. So what is the prime minister of that country doing about it? Warning people not to say or write anything that offends the religious sensibilities of others. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has this appalling message: … [Read more...]

Anti-Westboro Baptist Protesters Challenge Topeka Ordinance


Well this is certainly a fascinating development. The Westboro Baptist Church has gone all the way to the Supreme Court to (successfully) defend their right to protest at funerals, and now a group that protests outside their church every week is challenging a Topeka ordinance that forbids "focused protests" outside churches. The protesters were charged with a misdemeanor for violating the ordinance. … [Read more...]

Graham Goes to Russia, Praises Putin for Banning Gay ‘Propaganda’


The extremely bigoted Franklin Graham took a trip to Russia and took the opportunity to praise that country and Vladimir Putin for their authoritarian and free speech-destroying law that puts people in jail for "gay propaganda," which includes doing things like waving a rainbow flag. He also criticized Obama for his evil, sinful, anti-Christian ways. … [Read more...]

Trump: First Amendment for Me, Not for Thee


Trevor Timm at the Columbia Journalism Review looks at Donald Trump's hypocritical history with the First Amendment and lawsuits. He has repeatedly had reporters thrown out of his campaign events or denied the right to cover them, and when Univision canceled the airing of the Miss Universe pageant after he said Mexican immigrants were rapists and murderers, he claimed this violated his free speech rights. But he'll happily sue or threaten to use anyone who says things about him that he doesn't … [Read more...]

Benham Brothers Again Confuse Criticism With Censorship


"Is Mets star free to express himself?" asks the headline on the latest Worldnetdaily column from Jason and David Benham, two wingnut brothers who appear to share a brain (or part of one). The two lunkhead frat boys have a very difficult time with that whole coherent thinking thing, which explains why they can't seem to tell the difference between criticism and censorship. … [Read more...]

School Official Upset That Students are Informed of Their Rights


In Florida, state law requires schools to lead students in reciting the pledge of allegiance every day but also requires them to inform students that they have a right not to do so. The superintendent of the Santa Rosa County school district doesn't like that posting requirement and is publicly making it clear that if he had his way, he would keep students ignorant of their First Amendment rights. … [Read more...]

Islamists Murder Publishers of Atheist Books and Magazines

The barbaric Islamists in Bangladesh has now moved on from killing atheist bloggers and writers to killing those who publish their work. They attacked two publishing houses in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, killing one and injuring several others with machetes. The International Humanist and Ethical Union reports that the attacks were coordinated and carried out by people pretending to be customers. … [Read more...]

The Absurd Hypocrisy of Anti-Gay Groups


The World Conference of Families annual conference is going on right now and advocates of equality have been criticizing the group and many of the speakers. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council puts his hypocrisy on stark display by claiming that criticism of the group or the conference is an attempt to "silence" the group. … [Read more...]

Michigan School Pulls Book With Gay Character

A school in Monroe, Michigan has pulled a very popular children's book series from a school book fair because one of the characters in the most recent book in the series is gay. And if they keep the book there, it might give kids and parents gay cooties or something. The school principal and the PTO made the decision and the superintendent is supporting that decision. … [Read more...]