Beyond the Cusp

October 3, 2012

How Not to React to Rioters Demand to Limit Free Speech

First off, let us realize that much of the recent disturbances and all of the American dead in Libya had absolutely nothing to do with any perceived insult by Muslims, these were actions set to commemorate the 9-11 attacks and as payback for the death of the al-Qaeda number two leader al-Libi who was from Libya. Just a few days before the raid on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Ayman al-Zawahiri called for the murder of any Americans in Libya as retribution for the killing of Abu Faraj al-Libi by a drone attack on a meeting he was attending in the tribal regions of Pakistan by the United States military. The riots in Egypt were also related to the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as they were organized and led by his brother, Mohamed al-Zawahiri. There were also claims that the riots in Egypt were sparked by demands for the release of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the Blind Sheik. Whatever the motivating factor in Libya or Egypt, the alleged U-Tube video of a so-called anti-Muhammad film was not the real cause. But, despite the facts, that film has been used to explain other Muslim protests and riots and utilized by the Obama administration as the cause for all the recent violence and have led to some very dangerous that defames Islamic leaders and faith. Such calls are misguided and dangerous in many ways.

Despite the recent calls for limitations on the right to free speech and despite the guarantee of such in the Amendment I of the Bill of Rights, there should not be any considerations given pursuing such a policy. The reason behind ignoring a call for limiting free speech if it offends anybody has been a point which has been bandied about for a few decades. The idea that speech needs to be curtailed so as not to offend is plainly ridiculous. Let us first take the current case in point where the demand is for making any speech deemed blasphemous illegal and punishable under law. The first question would be who gets to decide the definition of blasphemous? The current examples have called for Muslims to decide what is blasphemous. So, would it solely be Muslims who get to make such determinations or does every religion have the right to define what is to be considered blasphemous. Will Muslims be held to the same restrictions of not blaspheming other faiths or is it to be only Islam which must be protected. The one instance I discussed this with a Muslim I was informed that it is only in Islam where negative references to Allah, Mohammed or Islam was a blasphemy and that there are no such items defined as blasphemous speech by other religions. I was informed since the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, did not define any speech as blasphemous it was impossible to blaspheme either Judaism or Christianity. I would assume there is a similar argument for most religions and their holy writings. But this would present an interesting argument for a court of law if we should bend to such pressures. If such laws or legal codes were adopted, would speaking in favor of same sex marriages now be instantly illegal as to even consider such is against Islam? This would present a dangerous road.

But there is worse and it comes from a Supreme Court Justice. Last year Supreme Court Justice Breyer of the United States Supreme Court seemed to indicate that the burning of a Koran might be equivalent to yelling fire in a crowded theater. This is a dangerous road to go down as soon you will be splitting hairs as to what is and is not allowed as part of free speech. Once it is decided that any speech or action protected under free speech becomes unprotected once it causes violent rioting or other dangerous reactions, then all speech can be immediately called into question providing a sufficiently large enough group takes to violent actions in response to any encroachment into areas they hold as sensitive. Imagine allowing all speech to be restricted simply because some other might react violently, much like currently seems to control speech limitations on all too many college campuses in the United States, Europe, Canada and the rest of the Western World. We would very rapidly find riots breaking out whenever anybody made even the least controversial viewpoint as there would still be enough people to make an appearance of sufficient violent response. Political speech would be silenced. Religious speech would be silenced. Very soon, all speech would be silenced. Debate and free discourse would become very very un-good. Candidates for office would no longer be allowed to disagree, actually would not even be allowed to agree as any stance could likely erupt into riots even of those who came to hear what they had to say. Imagine a debate between President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney where the moderator asked if they favored or opposed same sex unions. To claim one was against could easily cause riots in the streets in every city in the country. And as soon as the other one claimed to support them another segment of the population would riot. Once it became evident that all speech against any position could be silenced simply by rioting there would be people who would hire out to riot whenever anybody said virtually anything. All speech would be squelched, possibly even saying it was a nice sunny day if somebody simply hated sunshine. This would be one way to end every political discussion and make governance impossible as how can laws be enacted if simply by rioting people can prevent their discussion? This would not even produce a polite society; it would produce a silent society. Freedom from hearing or reading anything anyone considered to be offensive material, is that even possible?

Beyond the Cusp

September 6, 2012

Why Did the Democrat Platform Omit G0d?

Way back in 2008 before the Democrat Party spun out of control the Democrat Party Platform read in the section titled Renewing the American Dream, “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their G0d-given potential.” Now, flash forward disregarding everything in between to 2012 and the new version of Renewing the American Dream reads, “We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.” According to ABC News, a Democrat Party official clarified the change with the omission of the name of G0d explaining that, “The 2008 platform reference is ‘G0d-given’ and is about growing the middle class and making America fair, not actually about faith. The platform includes an entire plank on the importance of faith based organizations and the tremendous work that they do. Further, the language we use to talk about faith and religion is exactly the same vocabulary as 2008. I would also note that the platform mentions: ‘faith’ 11 times; ‘religion(s)’ 9 times; ‘church’ 2 times and, ‘clergy’ 1 time.”

Am I to believe their explanation that taking out any reference to G0d is equal in weight, meaning and respect for the Creator as using the phrases ‘faith’ 11 times; ‘religion(s)’ 9 times; ‘church’ 2 times and, ‘clergy’ 1 time? I guess it does not matter to the Democrat Party that this lack of reference to the L0rd our G0d will likely mean they have left a potentially large group of people feeling rejected. These are in addition to the others they have left when they slid away from being the party that stood for keeping Government out of our personal lives into the party of Big Government which dictates everything you do and don’t right down to what you eat, the size of the portions and so much more. The Democrat Party once ran a candidate for President of the United States who campaigned and followed through on a platform calling for lower taxes and a rebuilding of our military by increasing its numbers, abilities and modernizing it from top to bottom. This was the same man who declared, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” My how things have changed. Now we have a President who made the number-one task for NASA to be, according to Administrator Bolden who announced NASA’s mission as threefold in July 2010: (1) “re-inspire children”; (2) “expand our international relationships”; and “foremost” (3) “reach out to the Muslim world.” And to make sure that NASA does not return to any of its past glories, this same President has cancelled the plans for NASA to return to the Moon. As I said earlier, “My how things have changed.”

But why would one of the major political parties of the United States of America take out any reference to G0d from their platform. The Declaration of Independence makes specific references to our Creator as the origin of our rights. This reference to G0d is the foundation upon which the United States was founded. One can only question such an omission, especially when done intentionally as they could have gone back and corrected the lack of reference to G0d had it been an error of omission. Not doing so makes this an intentional act with obvious forethought. The only thing I can see as the reasoning for not having any mention of our Creator or the grace of G0d which has often been credited for American greatness would be a complete and total single-minded tunnel-visioned dedication to a misconception of the idea of a wall of separation between church and state. This would be a misconception of Amendment I which does not state, nor does anywhere in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, any of the other Amendments to the Constitution or any of the founding documents, that a wall of separation exists between Church and State. The phrase originates in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the leaders of the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 in reference to their fears of potential for religious persecution as they were a small sect and feared government interference.

Thomas Jefferson’s letter reads and can be verified here.

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson

Jan. 1. 1802.

A careful reading of Thomas Jefferson’s phrasing reveals that this wall of separation placed between Church and State, actually religion and Government, is a one way wall. The wall of separation guards the Church and religion from any influences or interferences by Government actions, laws, regulations, limitations and coercions. It says nothing that limits religious influence, persuasion or influence by Churches or religions upon the State. This prevents Government from establishing a preferred religion or an actual State Religion or making laws requiring or forbidding prayer or religious participation. What Amendment I does not limit is any influences by Churches or religions on the State. Should a single Church or an entire religion decide they wished to enter politics and run a candidate technically that would be permissible. Where the limits would kick in would be should a religion actually run candidates in sufficient numbers and actually win an unstoppable majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the President, they would then quickly run into the limitations of Amendment I. Despite the obvious popularity and near universal support it would take to win such majorities, this religion would still be denied any powers to give their churches or the religion itself any advantages in any way, shape or form. They would be prevented from giving their religious institutions any tax advantages over other religions, granting their church preferences of any kind not also guaranteed for all other religions, and they could not mandate or enact their cannon or other religious laws, customs, preferences, or any form of influence upon the public as all such actions would violate the wall protecting religion from the State. When we refer to the “wall of separation between Church and State” we would be far more accurate to say “wall of protection of the Church from the State”. But even going completely overboard in one’s zeal regarding separation between Church and State, regardless of direction, still leaves one to wonder if completely devoiding the Democrat Party Platform of any and all references to the Creator, G0d, the L0rd, or any reverential tribute to the source of our unalienable Rights. Perhaps the Democrat Party no longer respects either our unalienable Rights or the source thereof.

Addendum:

After receiving far more publicity and criticism than expected or bearable for their omission in mentioning the Creator, our G0d, in their platform, the Democrat Convention rethought this and has decided that to avoid further scorn it would be easier to simply bend to the pressure. It still says a lot about the importance the writers and thinkers behind the original draft of the Democrat Party Platform place on the founding concepts, ideas, ideals, and credit to something greater than ourselves which weighed so heavily from the Founding Fathers up until their 2012 Platform. One has to wonder if their hearts are behind their new wording or if it is simply another attempt to dodge responsibility for their true feelings.

Beyond the Cusp

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