Saturday, April 23, 2011

First Amendment: Sometimes It's Hard To Swallow

Preacher Terry Jones and the signs of his times.
The First Amendment to the Constitution frequently tests our commitment to our form of Republican government, perhaps more than any other portion of that document (including the divisive section about guns).

In Michigan yesterday, the right to free speech came face-to-face once again with a despicable human being who was practicing that right. True to its founding purpose, the American Civil Liberties Union was there to defend the unpopular and many--including me, I'm afraid--reacted with favor on the court's decision against the amendment and against this redneck hate monger.

The case was brought against 59-year-old preacher Terry Jones, the Gainsville, Fla., cretin who burned the Koran recently and was instrumental in the deaths of a lot of people. (A news report is here.) He was planning a Good Friday protest at one of the largest mosques in America when the court stopped him. The ACLU fought for his right to be an idiot, but lost.

I have a deep and abiding admiration for an organization that can defend people like Jones and American Nazis while fighting for my right to say what I want within the broad, broad borders defined by "free speech." It is a cornerstone of our democracy and speech is a right we dare not lose. It is a much stronger defense than guns. Thank you, ACLU for doing what not many of us can stomach.


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