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LA Times: Movie on Islam isn't Free Speech

Former NPR reporter and former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sarah Chayes wrote a piece in the LA Times saying that the movie about Islam that the left is pretending caused all the riots isn't covered under free speech.

So now we have the left deciding what's free speech and what isn't. How long, I ask you, will it be until stating Christianity's traditional morality on issues such as marriage and abortion isn't covered under free speech.

While many 1st Amendment scholars defend the right of the filmmakers to produce this film, arguing that the ensuing violence was not sufficiently imminent, I spoke to several experts who said the trailer may well fall outside constitutional guarantees of free speech. "Based on my understanding of the events," 1st Amendment authority Anthony Lewis said in an interview Thursday, "I think this meets the imminence standard."

Finally, much 1st Amendment jurisprudence concerns speech explicitly advocating violence, such as calls to resist arrest, or videos explaining bomb-making techniques. But words don't have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."

Indeed, Justice Holmes' original example, shouting "fire" in a theater, is not a call to arms. Steve Klein, an outspoken anti-Islamic activist who said he helped with the film, told Al Jazeera television that it was "supposed to be provocative." The egregiousness of its smears, the apparent deception of cast and crew as to its contents and the deliberate effort to raise its profile in the Arab world a week before 9/11 all suggest intentionality.

The point here is not to excuse the terrible acts perpetrated by committed extremists and others around the world in reaction to the video, or to condone physical violence as a response to words — any kind of words. The point is to emphasize that U.S. law makes a distinction between speech that is simply offensive and speech that is deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk. Especially in the heightened volatility of today's Middle East, such provocation is certainly irresponsible — and reveals an ironic alliance of convenience between Christian extremists and the Islamist extremists they claim to hate.
You've got to marvel at how she lumps in the "Christian extremists" with the "Muslim extremists" who murdered ambassadors and burned down embassies on the anniversary of 9-11.

It's never the fault of the radical Islamic nutjobs. It was the Christian extremists what done it. And they should be prosecuted.

If we allow them to define the parameters of free speech in such a way, Christians will pay the price. And believe me, they'll define any orthodox Christian as a "Christian extremist." If you're reading this, that probably means you.

*subhead*Not free.*subhead*

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John Frank said...

>>>So now we have the left deciding what's free speech and what isn't. How long, I ask you, will it be until stating Christianity's traditional morality on issues such as marriage and abortion isn't covered under free speech. <<<

Speaking out against gay marriage is already illegal in Canada. The voices for such action are getting louder in the USA as well.


TomG said...

Anthony freaking Lewis! A lefty political hack if there ever was one. Rupert Murdoch once said (when Lewis was the Paul Krugman chair at the NYT), "life is too short to read Tony Lewis."

Margaret said...

I'm boiling this argument down to "free speech only applies to offensive speech when the offended parties will probably not react violently. If the offended parties will likely have a violent response, then the First Amendment is null and void." Does sound about right?

Proteios1 said...

I agree. How dare you ever think an islamist is responsible for his own actions. No! When they attack women...it's her fault for not dressing like the elephant man. If they murder innocent women and children...it's someone else's fault or a crusade that occurred 1000 years ago. Insane. Go back to the middle east or grow up!

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