Tag Archives: First Amendment

Free Speech for Me But Not For Thee…

Ever heard of a little thing called the Bill of Rights or the First Amendment? Well, apparently they only apply to “tolerant” liberals. The folks at ExposingLefists.com taped a video at CSU Fresno asking students to sign a petition aimed at banning conservatives from radio and TV.
As each student signed the petition, they asked the students if they believed in free speech.  They all said yes while signing a petition to limit someone else’s free speech.
Check out the guy at 1:29:  “C’mon, this is America. These guys should have an opportunity to express their opinions. But I hate them bas*ards, so…I got no tolerance man.”
Then the other student at the 1:52 mark when asked, “What do you think of the First Amendment?” The response, “I don’t know what it is.”
Yes, liberals proving once again they are hypocrites and nothing but tolerant.
h/t Chlorinated Liberty

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How Elected Officials Scored On American Civics Literacy

Yesterday, I did a post on the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s (ISI) American Civics Literacy Quiz. Many of you took the quiz. This blog’s regular commenters all did spectacularly well, scoring much higher than both the average American (49% right) and college educators (55% right).

One commenter, James Habermehl, wondered how America’s politicians would do on the quiz.

Before you read further, if you haven’t taken the quiz, PLEASE DO SO NOW!!

Note (June 13, 2019): For some reason ISI took down the quiz and the results. But you can take the quiz and calculate your score by going here.

The answer surprised even ol’ cynical me:

Elected officials scored lower than the general public

This is from the ISI website (Note on June 13, 2019: ISI had taken down that page, but you can find both the quiz and the results here):

The ISI civic Literacy survey was not designed to test the civic knowledge of elected officials, but it did discover evidence of an interesting pattern that may merit further exploration.

All survey respondents were asked whether they have ever engaged in any of 13 different political and civic activities. These included, for example, registering to vote, signing a petition, contacting a public official, publishing a letter to the editor, and whether they have ever been elected to a government office.

Among the 2,508 respondents, 164 say they have been elected to a government office at least once. This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected.

Of the 2,508 People surveyed, 164 say they have held an elected government office at least once in their life. Their average score on the civic literacy test is 44%, compared to 49% for those who have not held an elected office. Officeholders are less likely than other respondents to correctly answer 29 of the 33 test questions. This table shows the “knowledge gap” for each question: the difference between the percentage of common citizens who answered correctly and the percentage of officeholders who answered correctly.
Theme of Question Citizens Elected
1. U.S. – Soviet Tension in 1962 70.09% 56.51% -13.58%
2. Declaration of Independence 83.09 69.78 -13.31
3. Sputnik 74.1 62.82 -11.28
4. Definition of Free Enterprise 41.45 32.08 -9.37
5. M. L. King’s “I Have a Dream” 80.5 71.5 -9
6. Electoral College 65.88 57.31 -8.57
7. Scopes “Monkey Trial” 67.76 59.21 -8.55
8. Susan B. Anthony 80.84 72.98 -7.86
9. Power to Declare War 53.6 45.82 -7.78
10. Business Profit 49.11 41.38 -7.73
11. International Trade 37.47 30.45 -7.02
12. FDR’s Government Programs 66.63 59.73 -6.9
13. Abortion 50.77 43.94 -6.83
14. Federal Branches and Foreign Policy 54.71 48.39 -6.32
15. First Amendment Freedoms 79.58 73.32 -6.26
16. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas 29.49 23.29 -6.2
17. FDR and the Supreme Court 25.07 19.24 -5.83
18. Taxes and Government Spending 27.7 22.12 -5.58
19. Free Markets vs. Centralized Planning 16.25 10.71 -5.54
20. Action Prohibited by the Bill of Rights 26.41 21.24 -5.17
21. Commander in Chief 79.04 74.46 -4.58
22. Anti-Federalists and the Constitution 38.22 33.82 -4.4
23. Source of phrase “a wall of separation” 18.92 15.07 -3.85
24. Policy Tool of the Federal Reserve 43.12 40.48 -2.64
25. Powers of the Federal Government 75.01 72.69 -2.32
26. World War II Enemies 68.76 66.58 -2.18
27. The Puritans 19.1 17.32 -1.78
28. Definition of a Progressive Tax 51.26 49.97 -1.29
29. Three Branches of Government 49.65 49.32 -0.33
30. Definition of a Public Good 27.6 28.03 0.43
31. Gettysburg Address 21.06 22.95 1.89
32. Fiscal Policy for Economic Stimulus 36.07 39.93 3.86
33. Lincoln–Douglas Debates 19.06 23.62 4.56

The elected officeholders come from the ranks of Democrats (40%), Republicans (31%), Independents (21%), and those who say they belong to no party or indicate no affiliation (8%). None were asked to specify what office they held, so the proportion in which they held local, state, or federal positions is unknown.

Not all officeholders do poorly, of course. Some elected officials rank among the highest scorers. But the failure rate on the test among those who have won public office is higher (74%) than among those who have not (71%). Officeholders scored lower on all sub-themes of the test: political history, cultural institutions, foreign relations, and market economy.

In each of the following areas, for example, officeholders do more poorly than non-officeholders:

79% of those who have been elected to government office do not know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the U.S.

30% do not know that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence.

27% cannot name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

43% do not know what the Electoral College does. One in five thinks it either “trains those aspiring for higher political office” or “was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.”

54% do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. 39% think that power belongs to the president, and 10% think it belongs to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Only 32% can properly define the free enterprise system, and only 41% can identify business profit as “revenue minus expenses.”

On some questions, Americans who have held elected office do better than Americans who have not. They are a little more likely, for example, to recognize the language of the Gettysburg Address (23% to 21%) and to know that the question of whether slavery should be allowed to expand into new territories was the main issue in the Lincoln–Douglas debates (25% to 20%).

Officeholders and non-officeholders find it equally difficult to identify the three branches of government. Only 49% of each group can name the legislative, executive, and judicial.

All of which suggest that too many of America’s elected officials run for office for all the wrong reasons. Now we know why our government is so incompetent and corrupt. We are so screwed….

What do we do about this?

Good people who love America and are informed and knowledgeable about this country’s history, government, and most importantly, the Constitution, must answer the call and run for political office ourselves.

Instead of cursing the darkness, let us be the light!


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Should Constitutional Protections Apply to the Practice of Islam in America?

I am delighted that Dave from Atlanta took on the difficult but urgently needed task of how Islam should be treated in America. Is Islam like other religions? If it is fundamentally different in nature and intent from other faiths, should its practitioners be accorded the same First Amendment rights of freedom of religion? Thought provoking. Highly recommend!

Under Islamic Sharia law, adultery is punishable by death by stoning

Should Constitutional Protections Apply to the Practice of Islam in America?
By D. Bouchard (aka Dave from Atlanta)
A columnist for Fellowship of the Minds
There is a certain naïveté on the part of many Americans in that we assume Muslims are entitled to the same freedom of religion in this country which other Americans enjoy. In the great debate over the proposed Ground Zero mosque, I also have repeated the popular mantra: “Sure they have a constitutional right to build the mosque there, but is it the respectful thing to do?” However, based on some recent reading I have done, I now have to say “Wait, not so fast. It may be that Muslims don’t have the constitutional right to build the mosque near Ground Zero.” Let me explain by examining what the U.S. Constitution actually says about religious rights.
The first part of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” In the United States, we hold the “separation of church and state” as a sacred tenet and part of our cultural heritage. Our history is replete with stories of the Quakers and other fundamentalist groups who founded the first American colonies to seek freedom from religious persecution in England and Europe. 
The Founding Fathers intended the Constitution and its limits on government to be rooted in God-given freedoms. At the same time, the Founding Fathers were children of the Enlightenment who valued the human capacity for reason. And so they designed a government of reasoned principles, not based on religious dogma, which in our modern age is understood as the “separation of church and state” — words not found in the Constitution but in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist’s Association in 1802: “wall of separation between church and state.”
Due to this socio-political heritage, it is easy for us to make the assumption that religion is by nature not government, and that government is not religion. I am by no means a religious scholar, but I have seen enough information lately to know that Islam, one of the world’s biggest religions by population, is quite different from our American idea of religion.
Islam, by nature and by its founder’s intent, is both a religion AND a political system. The establishment of Islam as the political system of theocracy is through Sharia law. In other words, there is no wall of separation between the Islamic “church” and state. Wherever Islam becomes firmly established, Muslims have attempted to usurp the political system there by Sharia law. The examples below will make clear the fundamental incompatibility of Sharia law and US Constitutional law. The two cannot coexist.
In the Judeo- Christian tradition, we have the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments originate in the Pentateuch — Judaism’s Torah and the first five books of Christianity’s Old Testament, believed to have been authored by Moses. Understood to be God’s Laws, those commandments had provided a basic framework for Western civilization. Although the West adapted much of the intent of those ten laws, the ten commandments were not applied verbatim to Western government. As an example, it is illegal to commit murder (“Thou shall not kill”), but it is not illegal to fail to observe the holiness of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is strictly a religious observation and is therefore exempt from enforceable laws.
Religious freedom is one of the core tenets of American freedom. We hold religious freedom very close to our hearts, so it is very difficult for Americans to think in terms of limiting religious freedom for anyone. However, due to the nature and aspiration of Islam, our generosity may be our undoing if we keep extending those same freedoms to Muslims in this country. In order to protect our way of life and the Constitution, we must draw a very clear delineation between Islam as a faith and Islam as a governmental system.
The fact that Islam is both a religion and a political system provokes many questions regarding Islam’s protected status in this country: What is the legal definition of “religion”? Is a religion that is also a political system still just a religion? Can a religion whose political tenets conflict with the Constitution be afforded religious protection? How can we, as a people, be protected from the encroachment of the Islamic practices that are already usurping the Constitution of the United States in some areas in this country? Should we challenge the status of Islam as a protected religion in this country? For our very survival, do we need a landmark decision stating that recognizing Islam being both a religion and an aspiring (if not actual) theocracy, the practice of Islam therefore should not be accorded the same protection that we give other faiths?
To evaluate the possible threat to this country by the steady encroachment of Islam, we need only to look at the history and recent experiences of countries like France, Britain, Iran and Turkey to see Islam’s totalitarian grasp on its host society as the number of practicing Muslims increases in that country. The United States can be an exception to that pattern only if Muslims practice their religion without invoking and imposing Sharia law.
Mike Ghouse is an American Muslim and religious scholar who maintains that “public sharia” must be left behind in America while “private Sharia” should continue to be practiced by Muslims. In his own words, “We can retain the private Sharia and let go of the public Sharia; the civil laws of our nation provide ample justice, and we don’t need a duplicate system. Sharia law was never considered divine to begin with. Hence, there is no need to even dream about it.” At the same time, however, Ghouse also states that many Muslims are led to believe that Sharia law is divine.”
Ghouse was not only trying to allay the fears of Americans, he was also trying to teach Muslims that Sharia law is not needed in this country. But many of his faith believe differently. At the same time as he tries to paint a moderate face on Islam in America, Ghouse singled out several people on the political right (whose faith in Christianity is perhaps equally as intense as his own) as being hate-mongers against Islam: “This may be bad news for the likes of Bridgette Gabriel, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, John Hagee and a host of other right-wingers, who thrive on selling hate and painting chaotic scenarios.” So even a man who claims to be a voice of reason trying to chart a peaceful course for Muslims in America cannot restrain himself from slinging a little mud at Christians who have expressed concerns regarding the spread of Islam in this country.
At the very least, there is a huge chasm of understanding between the traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs in this country and those of Islam. At worst, we are quietly being overrun by a primitive, totalitarian religion-ideology whose aim is the destruction of the US Constitution and western civilization itself. How can we, as Americans, feel safe in allowing Muslim communities to grow and flourish in America when all of the examples we have seen thus far of Muslim incursions into Europe and the Middle East have resulted in the barbaric practices of stoning and beheading, and the oppression of women and religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews?
Until we have a viable, proven model of an American Islam that assimilates into the larger culture and respects as ultimate law the U.S. Constitution instead of Sharia, Americans should be very wary of granting instant “religious freedom” to practitioners of Islam. In my mind, and based on what I have seen and heard thus far, Islam is really not a religion as we understand it. It is a religion that is also a totalitarian political ideology. Until we have established a legal precedent that clearly defines the “free” expression of Islam as excluding the practice of Sharia law, Americans should be on guard against the spread of Islam in this country.
The American Thinker has exposed 10 pillars and beliefs within Sharia law that are contrary to American laws:

  1. Islam commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped.
  2. Islam allows husbands to hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives.
  3. Islam allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge-physical eye for physical eye.
  4. Islam commands that a male and female thief must have a hand cut off.
  5. Islam commands that highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated.
  6. Islam commands that homosexuals must be executed.
  7. Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death.
  8. Islam orders death for Muslim and possible death for non-Muslim critics of Muhammad, the Quran, and Sharia.
  9. Islam orders apostates to be killed.
  10. Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad.

Quran verses calling Muslims to war with nonbelievers:

  • Quran (2:191-193): “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter of non-believers and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”
  • Quran (2: 216): “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”
  • Quran (3:56): “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”
  • Quran (3:151): “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority.” This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity.
  • Quran (4:74): “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”

Recommended Readings:

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TEA Party Group Denied Constitution Day Rally

Tomorrow is Constitution Day!

September 17, 1787, was the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution. Originally called Citizenship Day, in 2004 the day was changed to Constitution Day via an amendment to a spending bill proposed by the late Democratic senator, Robert “KKK” Byrd. [Source]
So it is the height of irony that the trustees of the Ohio small town of Andover denied a TEA Party group from holding a Constitution Day rally in the public square because they thought the rally to be “too political.” In so doing, the trustees violated the group’s Constitutional rights of freedoms of speech and of assembly.
Happily, a nonpartisan law center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the TEA Party group, and a federal judge just overruled the town trustees.
Remember to fly the flag tomorrow!

Tea Party Wins Fight to Mark Constitution Day in Public Square

FoxNews.com – September 15, 2010
A federal judge on Wednesday overruled a small Ohio town that had blocked a local Tea Party group from holding a Constitution Day rally in the town’s public square because it was deemed too political. 
Judge Donald C. Nugent issued a temporary injunction against Andover Township until the merits of the case can be decided. That clears the way for the Andover Tea Party to commemorate Constitution Day in the town square on Friday.
The town trustees who tried to block the rally “need to learn the Constitution,”  Peg Slingluff, a local Tea Party organizer, told FoxNews.com. “It’s very ironic that an effort to celebrate the Constitution results in a violation of the Constitution,” attorney Curt Hartman, part of the legal team representing the group, added.
The three trustees initially agreed in May to allow the activists to hold their rally when they thought the fledging group was going to have a picnic, serving tea and cookies, Slingluff said. Then they rescinded the offer in July when they learned that the group was affiliated with the conservative grassroots movement that has taken the nation by storm in the last year and a half.
“Who’s been living under a rock for the last 18 months that they don’t know what the Tea Party is,” said attorney Christopher Finney, another member of the group’s legal team.
The trustees denied the group access to the park based on a township resolution that allows officials to determine public space usage “on a case by case basis” and to ban speech that they deem too “political.”
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a nonpartisan law center in the state, filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing the group’s First Amendment rights were violated. “The First Amendment clearly protects the right to gather on the public square, speak out in support of limited constitutional government, and critique the current state of affairs,” 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson said. “The townships’ self-aggrandizing authority to pick and choose who may speak, based upon whether they approve of the speaker’s message, is entirely unconstitutional.”
Attorneys for the group said the park is used for public events that often have far more political overtones. Neither the trustees nor their attorneys could be reached for comment.
Finney said he’s not sure whether the trustees tried to block the event because it was “conservative or it was political, period.”
The attorneys said the trustees will meet next week to eliminate the resolution. “What makes this so great is this is not just a local issue in Andover,” Slingluff said. “It’s a national issue.”

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