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...]

Turkey Overturns Pianist’s Blasphemy Conviction

Finally, a bit of good news concerning "blasphemy" in the Muslim world. The supreme court of Turkey has overturned the blasphemy conviction of Fazil Say, a very famous pianist who was convicted for joking about religion on social media. The case got a lot of attention a few years ago, for good reason, and this is a very welcome development that hopefully portends greater freedom in that country. … [Read more...]

Even Conservatives Wary of Carson’s College Censorship Plan

Credit: Michael Vadon

Showing once again that he either doesn't understand the First Amendment or doesn't give a damn about it, Ben Carson last week came up with the idea of having the federal government monitor and cut off federal aid to any university that shows "extreme political bias." It's a plan that even his fellow conservatives seem to be rather wary of, for rather obvious reasons. Dana Loesch challenged him on it on her show: … [Read more...]

Cruz, Carson Appear in Film Promoting Pro-Slavery, Dominionist Pastor


Many of my readers are no doubt familiar with Douglas Wilson, the incredibly far-right, pro-slavery, dominionist preacher from Idaho. This is a guy who claims that slavery in the south was an idyllic society based on "mutual affection" between slave and master. He's also a dyed-in-the-wool theocrat, demanding a Bible-based society where adulterers would be put to death. So why are Ted Cruz and Ben Carson in a documentary about him? … [Read more...]

Wait, Texas Was Still Banning Flag Desecration?


Someone sent me a link to this article and I was a bit confused. The state of Texas tried to prosecute someone for desecrating an American flag for throwing it to the ground, but a state appeals court overturned that conviction because the law he was charged with violating is a violation of the First Amendment. How is this still an issue? The Supreme Court ruled on this more than 25 years ago. … [Read more...]

For the Millionth Time: Criticism is Not Censorship


It always drives me crazy when the right wing pretends that if you criticize someone, you've somehow violated their First Amendment rights. The latest example is from Jonathan Saenz, the virulently anti-gay leader of the group Texas Values, who is outraged -- or so he says -- that "hero" (actually, baseball player) Lance Berkman is being criticized for coming out against the Houston human rights ordinance. … [Read more...]

Russia May Punish Apple for Gay ‘Propaganda’


Russia's infamous anti-gay law not only punishes people for being gay, but also forbids anyone from engaging in gay "propaganda," by which the law means anyone who advocates for equality anytime for any reason. Officials there have now apparently opened an investigation under that totalitarian law against Apple for including an emoji of a gay couple in a recent update. … [Read more...]