This just in:
WHAT'S NEW Robert L Park Friday, 17 Sep 2010 Washington, DC
(Portions snipped. see Park's website for the entire Newsletter)
3. FREE SPEECH: COMMITMENT TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT.
Last week I defended the right of a barely coherent Baptist preacher to
burn the Koran, or for that matter the Holy Bible or any other religious
text. "Why shouldn't he as long as he pays for the books and doesn't
violate any municipal burning ordinance?" Some thought that line was
irresponsible. I have never burned a Koran or a Holy Bible, but I defend
anyone's right to do so. Thousands of Americans have died and are still
dying to defend the Constitution. I stand with them. Meanwhile, in
Damascus, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US government of orchestrating
desecrations of the Koran with about 1000 protesters chanting death to
America. There were also riots over the non-burning in Kashmir, but there
are always Muslim riots in Kashmir.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the
University of Maryland, but they should be.
Archives of What's New can be found at http://www.bobpark.org
Dear Dr. Bob Park,
I too am a staunch defender of the First Amendment. Indeed, offensive
speech is the only kind that requires legal protection. But the right
has never been unlimited. Yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, or
inciting to riot come to mind. We eschew these on public good
grounds. Disallow Koran burning and we allow ourselves to be held
hostage to the mere threat of violence. But to allow Koran burning
even when a reasonable person can expect a violent response is clearly
not in the public interest. I take some comfort in the final outcome.
A wacko Preacher made his point, some wacko Muslims made theirs,
nobody's pocket was picked nor leg broken. Public square democracy
Thanks for your attention, and your clear thinking.
Cronin B. Vining