Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
The First Amendment For Dummies
Raymond Grezel, pastor of the Rockville Church of the Nazarene near Vernon, Connecticut, the town where the Connecticut Valley Atheists erected their "Imagine No Religion" display, is a little confused about what the First Amendment is. According to him, it was apparently written specifically to protect the wilting-flower Christians in his church from being offended by all those nasty, unpopular opinions that they don't like.
[link] ...he didn't have a problem with the all-inclusive policy allowing the sign, but had hoped it would have been more appropriate.
"If you're going to allow everyone to have free speech or a display, then they should have to show a compelling reason ... without allowing inflammatory comments that ultimately harm others," Grezel said.
Hmnn. Interesting. He says, "If you're going to allow..." as if freedom of speech and expression is something that is voted on by the town council or something. As if it was not a right - the first and foremost right - already guaranteed to every American citizen by the First Amendment to the Constitution. So, Pastor Grezel thinks that us dirty atheists should have to show "a compelling reason" to exercise our civil right of freedom of expression as enumerated in the First Amendment, that our speech should be "appropriate", not "inflammatory", or "harm others".
Well, golly gee, Pastor. I had no idea that the First Amendment had all those very specific requirements that you just pulled out of your ass.
U. S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan seems to disagree with the good Pastor:
If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. - Texas vs. Johnson, 1989
In regards to Pastor Ray's delicate sensibilities and indignant squealing about the massive injustice of a group of atheists having the unmitigated gall to demand that they be afforded actual civil rights like the freedom of expression and speech, just like us regular decent people, I have to agree with General Colin Powell:
Free speech is intended to protect the controversial and even outrageous word; and not just comforting platitudes too mundane to need protection.
In other words, get used to it. It's called being an American. You still want to be one of those, don't you?