Freedom of speech

At Missouri State University, in Springfield, a pro-life group put up 4,000 crosses made of popsicle sticks to symbolize little graves of abortion victims. So pro-abortion students trampled them, destroying the display. When called on their vandalism, the pro-choicers said they were just exercising their freedom of speech! (That claim is in the video with the linked article.)

That is to say, I can deny your freedom of speech because of my freedom of speech.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    What else would be expected from liars and pro-abortion murderers of unborn children?

    This kind of “get in their face” mentality will only increase in an 0bamessiah administration.

    Expect the school administration to bend over on this, too.

    These pro-abortion domestic terrorists, like other terrorists, will need to be stopped by the legal use of force.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01763924682909630509 Orianna Laun

    Apparently, my rights trump your rights if you are doing something that is your opinion and telling me that my opinion may be wrong.
    In other words, if you do something to indicate I may be wrong, I can take any action to show that you are wrong, and claim whatever amendment I need to justify my action.

  • WebMonk

    Vandalism isn’t “free speech”. Painting graffiti on a public wall isn’t “free speech”. Destroying others’ property, even when that property is set up on a public space, isn’t “free speech”.

    I’m not 100% sure, but the pro-life group could probably press charges. I don’t think they should, but they probably could because what the tramplers were doing falls under the category of vandalism.

    Vandalism != Free Speech

  • The Jones

    Will somebody call me when “punching somebody in the nose” is an acceptable outlet to express my frustration with the political, economic, and social atmosphere of the country? We’ve already got “Obscenity,” “Public Indecency” and “Disturbing the Peace” down. Now it seems we’ve got “Vandalism,” too. I can’t wait for “Assault.” I’ll be all about that. Let me jump in the fray. Freedom of Speech will pave the way for the Will to Power. How ironic!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I don’t know but I think this one might ought go to court. As you said Webmonk, vandalism is not free speech. Would it be free speech if I defaced every bit of anti-Christian art I saw in a museum? I don’t think I would get away with that.

  • CRB

    I think this is a good picture of the natural sinful condition of mankind: he/she does not want to be told he/she is doing wrong. And, in this country, “rights” have become something akin to divine. When those “rights” are taken away, then we shall see the fruits of repentance (or non-repentance!)
    Point of information: It was very hard to hear 2/3 of the tape because of the loud singing in the background.

  • Joe G.

    This post references an event that is an excellent example of the point made by Dr. Don Carson, a professor of NT Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, in his lecture entitled “The Intolerance of Tolerance.” In this lecture, Dr. Carson makes a distinction between an ‘old’ or ‘modern’ tolerance and the ‘new’ or ‘postmodern’ tolerance, which is being posited today. In the ‘old’ tolerance, one was willing to fight for your right to express your views, regardless of that view. Your views could then be challenged in the public square, and the belief was that through this dialogue truth would emerge. This ‘old’ view of tolerance is based upon the idea that truth does not only exist, but that it may be discovered. This tolerance was directed towards individuals; we must be tolerant of individuals and their right to express their views.

    The ‘newer’ form of tolerance, however, is different. In this view, it is said that we must be tolerant not of an individual’s right to express his view, but that we must be tolerant of all views. Attacking one’s view or one’s truth is intolerant. We have the right and obligation to attack all those views which are intolerant of other views. Carson speaks of this change taking place because of the fact that we no longer believe truth is objective; it cannot be found; it must be created by the individual in community.

    He goes on to speak of the contradictory nature of this ‘new’ type of tolerance. This view says that we must be tolerant of all views, except a view which is intolerant to other views. If one view is intolerant to another view (which is wrong), then it is necessary to become intolerant of that view, which is intolerant (this is called right). As you can see, this view of tolerance is actually rather intolerant. I have done a rather poor job of summarizing one of his arguments, but it seems especially applicable this event. If you search for “The intolerance of tolerance Carson,” you will find a few websites where you can hear the lecture.

  • Anon

    So they trample on the Cross. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, since they also destroy the Image of God.

    The pro-lifers should leave the smashed crosses as a mute witness to the mindset of the real baby-killers.

  • http://copolitical.blogspot.com/ Sarah Anderson

    That is terrible. I believe in free speech, but I also believe free speech stops when it infringes on another’s right to free speech. It’s a hard line to draw, though…

  • http://joeldueck.com Joel

    This isn’t a free speech issue, this is a property rights issue. The question is, who owned the crosses and the property on which they were displayed.

    Apparently the display was approved to be set up on a campus lawn, which means it is totally up to MSU whether they want to take any action to protect the expression of pro-life views on THEIR campus. Not that it wouldn’t be ridiculous if they decided not to – after all, it wouldn’t really be fair for them to implicitly approve the destruction of a display that had their own prior approval. But it’s silly to talk as though anyone’s free speech rights are being “trumped”.

  • http://barbtheevilgenius.blogspot.com Barb the Evil Genius

    Will somebody call me when “punching somebody in the nose” is an acceptable outlet to express my frustration with the political, economic, and social atmosphere of the country?

    Actually a female McCain volunteer was assaulted by a male Obama supporter. But the male wasn’t arrested so maybe assault isn’t completely acceptable yet.

  • http://barbtheevilgenius.blogspot.com Barb the Evil Genius

    I meant the male *was* arrested.

  • The Jones

    I finally got back from work and was able to watch the video with sound. That is TYPICAL of atheist defenses for action. They do not understand a thing that they are talking about. They throw out “freedom of speech” like it’s the trump card for anything. They don’t even understand freedom of speech. They are spoiled little intolerant brats who fancy themselves philosophers because they are not religious, but can’t construct a single logically consistent argument if their life depended on it. Atheism is no longer based upon rational thought. It’s based on anger and the lack of thought.

    I know Michael the lil Boot is one of the guys on here who might fall into the atheist category, to him and the others who I’ve overlooked, I’ll say this: from your good posts on here that I’ve read, this does not apply to you.. I give you all the credit you deserve. But from videos like this and my interactions with other atheists and reading books like “God is not Great” and such, you are the exception and not the rule. And that’s rather troubling.

    This kind of behavior would be very funny if it weren’t serious. Having intolerance find apologists in society is one thing, but having intolerance masquerade under the guise of “tolerance” is another. This is despicable. And that’s not my opinion. That’s just fact.

  • FW

    #13 jones

    interesting. you see michael as the exception and athiests who are wildly radical as the norm. could it not be the other way around?

    I am a gay man who believe in Jesus as my savior and I am a confessional lutheran as well. could I be typical and the wild gay men you see in gay parades be the exception? that the 90% appear so normal as to be rather modestly invisible and blend into society as such?

    do pat robertson and jim and tammy bakker represent the mainstream of christianity or are they in the minority? how does the secular world see things here? who do THEY thing represents “typical” christians and christianity?

    maybe we should give new thought to the concept that majorities usually are silent?

    stereotyping actually DOES have validity. the world would not make sense without stereotyping. Like any useful practice , used wrongly it is no virtue.

  • FW

    #14 jones

    to further the thoughts on stereotyping….

    secretary powell´s endorsement of obama matters most because of what he said very very importantly about arab americans.

    it was refreshing to see a well known politician finally speak out about this subject.

    me cains campaign seems to have raised the theme of what makes an american patriotic and qualifies one as a “real american”.

    can a muslim qualify? of course.

  • The Jones

    FW,

    Thank you for posting. My poor memory almost put you in the category with Michael because of some of those against the grain posts that you have. Luckily I saved myself some embarassment by refraining from calling you an atheist.

    Yeah, I do see the rejection of reason as the rule and not exception for atheists. I’m currently reading “god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” and I see mainstream atheists who have a great deal of clout and thought behind them as lacking thought, too. They have at the very least large holes in their logic (i.e. Hitchens).

    It does trouble me sometimes when I see the craziness of some evangelicals who have become typical. I worry that reasonable Christians are becoming the exception and not the rule. I take comfort as I look back over the course of human history and see the grounded thought and theology that has been built over the centuries. I take comfort in the quote (I don’t know from where or from whom it comes) that “A small amount of philosophy will make one an atheist. A healthy dose will make one a Christian.”

    Most all atheists will argue against Christians and not Christianity. Heck, I’ll join them in some of that! But once I do, I think it exposes how they are missing the point, setting up strawmen, and abandoning logic.

  • PT Ben

    Doesn’t this just fit nicely in with the whole teaching of evolution debate.

    If you try and ban the teaching of evolution you are limiting free speech. If you suggest teaching even the Intelligent Design theory beside evolution you are a religious nut.

    why have we allowed ONE opinion to be right and free while the other side is quashed?

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Sign #2 on the lawn:

    This is how the other side debates.

  • Michael the boot

    FW,

    “interesting. you see michael as the exception and athiests who are wildly radical as the norm. could it not be the other way around?”

    In my experience, it is the other way around. Loudmouths like Hitchens are loudmouths whether they’re advocating atheism or the war in Iraq (Hitchens is a fan of both). Dawkins surprises me in this respect, as his other works tend to be more thoughtful than The God Delusion.

    Thanks for pointing this out, man. I think most atheists would keep out of this stuff. And most of them, as with most people in general, would agree that stomping crosses because they are something you disagree with is beyond childish.

  • Michael the boot

    PT Ben @ 17,

    “If you try and ban the teaching of evolution you are limiting free speech.” Yup. Just like if you ban the teaching of the germ theory of disease, or the theory of gravitation.

    “If you suggest teaching even the Intelligent Design theory beside evolution you are a religious nut.” You said it, not me. But ID isn’t science. I actually have no problem with it being taught in schools; but it shouldn’t be taught in science class until it is science. Even its most ardent supporters – Behe and Dembski – are hard pressed to provide evidence when it comes down to it. Why do you think the Christian judge in the Dover, PA, case said ID wasn’t science? Because he reviewed the evidence in as unbiased a way as he could manage, and found it lacking.

    “why have we allowed ONE opinion to be right and free while the other side is quashed?” Scientists tend to have no problem with the teaching of ID in schools. They only object to it being taught in science classes, because it is not science.

    At the same time, are you willing to allow the Hindu/Buddhist/Muslim/etc. creation stories to be taught in a class alongside ID?

  • Michael the boot

    The Jones @ 13,

    Thanks for the nice words.

    “I give you all the credit you deserve. But from videos like this and my interactions with other atheists and reading books like ‘God is not Great’ and such, you are the exception and not the rule. And that’s rather troubling.” Isn’t it more troubling that we judge people based on these groups they belong to, rather than on who they are? I think this points out that people vary even within their own groups. I won’t judge you based on the actions of other Christians – even really vocal jerks like Pat Robertson (you see where I’m going here…) – if you don’t judge me based on the actions of other “atheists.” Sound good?

  • Anon

    The judge in Dover just printed the Darwinists’ brief as his opinion. He didn’t actually consider the case.

    Have you ever -read- Behe and Dembski, or just smears about them by the Darwinist dogmatists?

  • Michael the little boot

    Anon,

    I’ve read Behe. Haven’t read any of Dembski’s books, but some articles and interviews. Thanks for the question, but the fact you asked it belies your belief.

    The judge in the Dover case wrote a really long judgement for someone who didn’t consider the case. Where do you get your info? Were you there? You’re making a value judgement. I guess I could ask you if YOU’VE read the judgement. It seems you haven’t, if you think the judge printed the “Darwinists’ brief.” I’d encourage you to read it with as open a mind as you can manage.


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