Interesting Question

Check this out and let me know what you think:

http://www.wgrz.com/news/local/islam-billboard-in-st-augustine-beach-draws-international-criticism/128537269

Of course, this is hateful speech.  Maybe it should be considered hate speech.  I don’t agree with the sentiment at all.  Should it be against the law, though?  Should the 1st Amendment protect this?  Should the fact that it’s on a billboard make a difference?  I’m not a constitutional attorney and don’t know the actual answer but I do have an opinion on it.  Isn’t that the great thing about the 1st Amendment, that you’re free to say just about anything?  Beyond yelling “fire” in a theater or something similar, there are very few limits on speech.  That has to include speech we are uncomfortable with, doesn’t it?  Maybe it being on a billboard makes a difference, legally?  I think this is a very interesting topic.

I’ve always loved this album from The Nevilles.  This song features a great vocal from Buffy St. Marie and a lyric that has always stuck with me.  “It’s freedom of speech, as long as you don’t say too much”.

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4 thoughts on “Interesting Question

  1. The question becomes when does “Free speech” begin to incite a physical reaction in a negative manner. I suppose one could argue that that’s the “price” of free speech but a quick jog back to Europe mid 1930’s might provoke some questions.

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    1. Absolutely. This is a tough issue. If this is deemed illegal, where is the line drawn? Are people allowed to say hateful things on TV or on the Radio? In the Press? As much as I think the billboard is despicable, I think I have to come down on the side of free speech. Not an easy one though.

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  2. I guess it would come down to the “Roth test”. Tough to define but you know it when you see it. Is the sign “hatefu” or “inciting”…. or more just stupid?

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  3. Personally I don’t find it to be a difficult question. It’s protected speech and should be allowed to stay there. I think the sign falls into the category of stupid and in poor taste.. It’s only viewed as hateful and inciting because the group it targets is notoriously thin-skinned on these matters. If you put up a billboard that said all Atheists were going to hell nobody would bat an eye. If they react “physically” and “negatively” then they are the ones breaking the law and should be held accountable. Seriously though.. St. Augustine Fla? Take it out in Dearborn Mi if you really want to see fireworks. Have you asked yourself.. of the people asking for it to be taken down.. what % are… A.) Muslim and insulted B.) SJW’s speaking out for the unjustness C.) People afraid of inciting terrorism

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