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Strength of religious freedom must be built in US courts, LDS leader says

By Dave McCann

April 16th, 2014 @ 10:34pm

SALT LAKE CITY Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will give the keynote address at Utah Valley University’s Spring Constitutional Symposium on Religious Freedom.

In an interview with KSL Newsradios Amanda Dickson and Grant Nielsen, he said he won’t be speaking as a leader of the LDS Church, but as an interested, knowledgeable citizen concerned about the condition of democracy and free speech in the United States of America.

The contention that comes from unresolved controversies in this area is poisonous to the civic atmosphere, and it is a disadvantage to all of us as citizens, Elder Oaks said.

Over the last century the U.S. has faced many challenges to religious freedom, but Elder Oaks says his concern now is how political and divisive they’ve become.

Specifically, weve got non-discrimination which is a very important civic value being set in opposition to religious freedom, and people are choosing up sides as if you couldnt have both of them, he said.

He believes some of the current contests also impinge on free speech, and that should concern all citizens.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

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Strength of religious freedom must be built in US courts, LDS leader says



Collapse Of Free Speech
April 15, 2014 What part of 'free speech' do the folks at the University of Regina not get?

By: John Human

Read this article:
Collapse Of Free Speech – Video



Two four videos have been taken down
My school is ordering me to take down 4 videos which I find elimination of free speech and downright ridiculous.

By: Omar Monita

Excerpt from:
Two four videos have been taken down – Video

HAMPTON, Va. The Virginia Community College System has agreed to alter its free speech policy as a means to settle a lawsuit with a Christian student who was barred from preaching the Gospel on campus last fall.

As previously reported, last fall, student Christian Parks publicly preached the Gospel on four different occasions in a courtyard on the Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) campus.However, the third time Parks preached the Gospel in the campus courtyard, he was confronted by three uniformed police officers from the TNCC Police Department. The officers ordered Parks to stop preaching. Though Parks thought the officers actions were unconstitutional, he complied with their order.

A few days later, Parks began preaching in the same courtyard for the fourth time. Once again, campus police officers silenced him.

Following the second encounter with the campus police, Parks asked TNCC administrators why he was not allowed to preach on the schools campus. He was told that, in order to open-air preach on campus, he would first have to join a registered student organization and then receive permission from TNCC officials four days in advance of any preaching.If Parks did not comply with the regulations, he could be subject to disciplinary actions, including suspension or dismissal.

Therefore, Parks contacted the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for assistance, which filed a lawsuit against the university. Attorneysargued that the schools silencing of Parks preaching is a violation of his First Amendment constitutional rights.

It is repugnant to Mr. Parks that he, as an individual citizen and student at a public community college, must notify the government in order to speak on campus when he feels convicted by his religious faith to speak and preach on campus, the suit contended.

The ACLU of Virginia also criticized the schools speech-limiting policies, writing in aletterto the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) that the schools policies deserve substantial revision.

If accurate, the complaint against VCCS describes a clear violation of the constitutionally protected free speech rights of a community college student, it stated. [W]e urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that a revised demonstration policy that takes into account the free speech rights of students, faculty, staff, and the general public is considered and adopted by the Board without delay.

This week, the Daily Press reported that the system agreed to work out a settlement with Park, which primarily includes altering its free speech policy. The current policy has been suspended while the settlement is reached.

Both parties desire to suspend the current policy in order to allow [Parks] and all other students to speak freely on campus, court documents stated, [C]ounsel for the parties believe that they may be able to reach an amicable settlement in this case.

See the article here:
Community College to Reach Settlement with Student Barred from Preaching Gospel on Campus



Obama's IRS launches fascistic attack on free speech
2014 Actual News, Please Subscribe Our Channel! Don't let Obama limit free speech for political gain. Sign the petition now: The Obama Administration recentl…

By: What's News'

Original post:
Obama’s IRS launches fascistic attack on free speech – Video



Gainesville City Police UnConstitutional town
Here is a multiple example of the Gainesville City Police dept. restricting public speech.just one of many videos of this town restricting my free speech, Th…

By: Frank Long

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Gainesville City Police UnConstitutional town – Video

FREMONT — In a move that has caught the attention of First Amendment advocates, the City Council on Tuesday tightened restrictions on public demonstrations, as well as other “disruptive conduct” and free speech that “disturbs and antagonizes” people attending special city events on public property.

The ordinance bans anyone preventing others “from viewing, hearing or meaningfully participating in the event,” and cases where “people conduct free speech in a way that … makes special event participants … unable to access or enjoy the event,” a city staff report states.

It also prohibits unauthorized soliciting or sales at events, or the use of bicycles, skates, skateboards or amplified sound equipment, unless approved by terms of a city-issued permit.

“A lot of our special events are festivals with children walking around, and having a skateboard or bike could cause accidents,” Fremont Deputy City Attorney Bronwen Lacey said before the meeting. “It’s about safety and ensuring that people attending the events can participate without disruption.”

The city also would create a Free Speech Zone at such events to allow demonstrations or other political activity without interfering with the event.

“It protects free speech rights of the participants, but also allows the city to control those activities, within reason,” Assistant City Attorney Debra Margolis said.

However, a San Francisco-based American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said that a person’s right to general political activity is protected by law at public events.

“You don’t have to let someone be part of your parade, but you have to allow them to express themselves at it, even if you have a special permit for it,” said Michael Risher, an ACLU senior staff attorney. “The government must allow free speech as long as it’s not disruptive.”

The question is how exactly is “disruptive conduct” being defined.

“It may be permissible to restrict a demonstration of 20 people to a particular area,” Risher said. “But forcing someone who is getting signatures for a petition into a free speech zone would be illegal and unconstitutional, unless the zone is very large, because it restricts their ability to engage in political activity.”

More:
Fremont tightens ordinance restricting 'disruptive' speech at special events

Would that the First Amendment actually said: Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press and centuries from now we solemnly trust these sacred rights will continue to prevail with appropriate application of wisdom and common sense pertinent to their context.

Arguably, there would never even have been a need for Oliver Wendell Holmes to point out that, The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater.

Of course it wouldnt unless free speech were an absolute. It absolutely isnt.

Alas, the Founding Fathers were neither perfect nor perfectly prescient neither John Roberts nor Sheldon Adelson was foreseen.

We do the best we can in 2014 without channeling the enlightened but necessarily Fallible Fathers of 1789. Common sense isnt specifically noted in the Constitution, but we preclude it at our own 21st century risk.

It would be societally embarrassing to add an amendment stipulating common-sense recourse, but a 28th Amendment settling the score on money and free speech would more than suffice. From Citizens United to McCutcheon, the democracy-devolving case is already being made.

Democracy for sale is a clear and present danger and results when the political arena morphs into the purview of billionaire ideologues and vested interests. American exceptionalism shouldnt be disingenuous code for money talks.

Its past time to just flat out say that money is not speech under the First Amendment, any more than corporations are people.

Of course, they arent. But it needs codifying, along with the right to limit what individuals and corporate entities can spend on elections, to pull us back from especially the Super PAC brink.

The time for a common sense, common good, limits-on-obscene spending amendment is upon us. Actually, the Moneyball era is engulfing us.

Go here to see the original:
ONeill: Time for a campaign finance amendment



Who took away PM's right to free speech, asks Narendra Modi sarcastically
On the 123rd birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has accused the Congress of insulting India's first Law Mi…

By: NDTV

Link:
Who took away PM’s right to free speech, asks Narendra Modi sarcastically – Video

Published: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM.

In eliminating yet another federal limit on campaign contributions, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 2 reaffirmed the principle that money is political speech and, therefore, protected under the First Amendment.

That notion enrages those who view dollars spent on politics as a threat to democracy. Indeed, although the courts 5-4 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC struck down a relatively obscure law that limited the total amount an individual can contribute to various federal campaigns over a two-year campaign cycle, critics treated it as the death knell of the republic and a harbinger of the coming oligarchy.

All that rending of garments is over the fact that now a donor can give $5,200 to any number of candidates for federal office, instead of just nine as if 10 represented a tipping point.

At the core of the McCutcheon decision is a debate over corruption vs. influence. The courts majority narrowly defines the former, while the dissenting minority seeks to conflate the two.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, argues that the court has identified only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption, and that the only type of corruption Congress may target is quid pro quo corruption.

In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer argues that the definition of corruption should be expanded to include influence over or access to elected officials. But influencing government is a fundamental American freedom, expressed in the First Amendments guarantees of free speech and the right to petition. Indeed, the court has repeatedly ruled that political speech, as opposed to other kinds (such as obscenity), is the primary object of First Amendment protection, and thus held to the highest scrutiny of government interference.

In the case of McCutcheon, Breyer and the other dissenters would uphold laws that restrict an individual citizens ability to influence politics by capping the number of campaigns he can contribute to, but which would allow media organizations unlimited opportunities to opine. Roberts hit on this possibility when he wrote, the Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.

There is a better way to reduce the role Big Money plays in politics, without encroaching on the First Amendment: Give it less to influence.

The increase in the number of lobbying and advocacy groups and the money they spend coincides with the growth of the regulatory state. The more aspects of our lives government attempts to control, the more those affected will seek to influence those decisions as is their constitutional right.

More here:
Editorial: A government not worth influencing



grgr Rubio: This tweet would land me in jail in Cuba grgrg
Sen. Marco Rubio defends the USAID's secret Cuban Twitter program by blasting Cuba's restrictions on free speech. rgrgrg Rubio: This tweet would land me in j…

By: News

The rest is here:
grgr Rubio: This tweet would land me in jail in Cuba grgrg – Video

Preacher Angela Cummings preaches in a free speech zone defined by barricades at UTC in this file photo.

Campus preacher Angela Cummings talks aloud to passing students and some scoffers in this November photo from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The UT system is adopting new rules for people who wish to speak on its campuses.

Poll

Should would-be university campus speakers have to have a sponsor?

Free speech, for some at least, soon will require sponsorship on University of Tennessee system campuses.

Though no one ended up in handcuffs like a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student did in November, a group of controversial street preachers returned to the UTC campus recently and reignited the discussion about whether taxpayer-backed universities should be a forum for public demonstration.

The issue is divisive. But the UT board of trustees already has weighed in.

A policy passed by trustees at their February meeting will require parties unaffiliated with UT to obtain the endorsement of a campus organization, faculty member or university faction before coming to any campus in the UT system to spread their message, regardless of what that message is.

Currently, unaffiliated people wishing to exercise free speech on campus simply notify the university of their desired location on campus, and the two sides arrange a time for their visit.

If the policy is approved by the state’s attorney general and secretary of state, it will replace the existing UT campus speaker policies that a federal court ruled contradictory and vague.

Read the original post:
Permission to speak?: UT policy would restrict street preachers, others who want to speak on campus



Islamophobia or free speech
Islamophobia or free speech.

By: IslamExpo

See the rest here:
Islamophobia or free speech – Video

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) The latest in a string of successful court challenges to college "free speech zones" is unfolding in Virginia, where lawyers are negotiating a settlement in the case of a student who was barred from preaching on campus.

Continued here:
Va. college 'free-speech zones' latest to fall

The recent stir about Brendan Eichs departure as Mozilla chief executive and the reported backlash related to free speech issues are baffling to me [Mozilla CEO resignation raises free-speech issues, Business / Technology, April 5].

Yes, corporations are considered people under the law and hence are entitled to First Amendment rights. Eich, as the living, breathing personification of Mozilla, is entitled to support any cause he deems fit.

Consumers and advocates of gay equality similarly have the right to confront Eich with the discriminating nature of his opinion. And if that in turn causes stockholders or the board of a publicly traded company to deem him a liability to the company, nobody should be surprised nor dismayed if he is urged to step down.

The right to express an opinion does not protect one from the consequences of expressing an opinion.

Jos van Schagen, Seattle

See the rest here:
Mozilla: The right to free speech doesnt protect you from consequences

Apr 112014

Turkey has lifted a much-criticised block on Twitter, 24 hours after its highest court overturned the ban as a breach of the right to free speech.

Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 20 shuttered access to the social media site after it had been used to spread a torrent of anonymous leaks implicating his inner circle in corruption.

Turkey’s NATO allies and international human rights groups strongly criticised the ban – as well as an ongoing block of video-sharing website YouTube – as a step backward for Turkey’s democracy.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled the Twitter ban violated free speech and ordered the communications ministry and telecoms authority to reverse it ‘with immediate effect’.

The government took 24 hours to react. First the telecoms authority TIB removed from its website a court order on the Twitter block and started contacting internet service providers to lift the ban.

Shortly after – as many of Turkey’s Twitter accounts came live again – the transport and communications ministry confirmed the move in a brief statement.

‘In line with the decision made by the Constitutional Court … the measure blocking access to the Twitter.com Internet site has been removed,’ it said.

‘After the necessary technical arrangements, the site will be opened to use.’

The ban had been widely circumvented by many of Turkey’s almost 12 million Twitter users, who have instead sent tweets via text message or by adjusting their internet settings.

Many Twitter users quickly commented on the move, with Nervana Mahmoud writing from Egypt, ‘Joy to the world, the Sultan has agreed’, using a common nickname for Erdogan.

More:
Turkish govt unblocks Twitter



CEO of MozillaFirefox ousted due to free speech haters!
Brendan Eich, CEO of MozillaFirefox forced to step down due to anti-free speech. His support for traditional marriage did not fit with Mozilla's (lack of) s…

By: Judge Tim

Read the original here:
CEO of MozillaFirefox ousted due to free speech haters! – Video



Michael Kroger on free speech
Michael Kroger, a member of the Institute of Public Affairs' board, says section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act restricts free speech and should be rep…

By: Institute of Public Affairs

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Michael Kroger on free speech – Video



ReportersWithoutBorders: UK is enemy of free speech (05Apr14)
Reporters Without Border brands the UK as an enemy of Free Speech, especially on the internet. The British government / spies target journalists to find out …

By: liarpoliticians

Read more here:
ReportersWithoutBorders: UK is enemy of free speech (05Apr14) – Video

In striking down the aggregate limits on contributions to candidates, PACs and political parties challenged in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court delivered a victory not only to political donors seeking to support more challenges to incumbents, but to everyone who is affected by American politics and law. The reason is a key and often forgotten point about the First Amendment: it protects speech, not speakers.

Freedom of speech is often treated as a contemptible burden in American politics; something that must be endured but not respected. When hateful speech is heard, or a wealthy individual spends huge sums of money on speech we disagree with, we commonly ask why they ought to possess a right that we feel does more harm than good. This was the general reaction to the McCutcheon decision: why does anyone need the right to spend more than $123,000 (the limit declared unconstitutional) on political contributions?

This misses the point by focusing solely on the speaker and ignoring the broader social benefits that result from a free and uninhibited exchange of ideas. Speech is constitutionally protected and unlimited because society benefits from the increased knowledge that is generated by it, and because the government cannot be trusted to decide what speech is “good” and what speech is “bad”. Chief Justice Roberts writes in the McCutcheon decision that “The First Amendment does not protect the government, even when the government purports to act through legislation reflecting “collective speech.”"

The wisdom of this principle has been borne out by history, which teaches us that the power to censor is always used against those who criticize the powerful. This was true a century ago when the government prosecuted pacifists in World War I and communist sympathizers in the Red Scare. It is just as true today, when protestors at political conventions are put in caged “free speech zones”, such as at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and when a majority of the nation’s universities maintain unconstitutional speech codes used to punish criticism, such as occurred in 2007 when Valdosta State University had a student “administratively withdrawn” (expelled) for criticizing the construction of a parking garage on campus.

Speech restrictions of all kinds exist to protect those in power from criticism. In the case of contribution limits, incumbents are protected from challengers. Despite its reputation as a tool of the establishment, money spent on political speech actually creates an opportunity to challenge entrenched political interests by increasing voter knowledge. This is especially valuable for outsider candidates running grassroots campaigns without the aid of connections to the ruling class or major media corporations. Pessimism about politics might lead us to think money spent on political advertising is wasted, but research shows that spending in campaigns is correlated with higher voter turnout and higher levels of public knowledge. This should not be surprising; the more advertisements you see about a candidate, the more likely you are to want to figure out what all the commotion is about and discuss the race with your friends.

This is how unlimited political speech comes to benefit everyone affected by American public policy: through producing a more informed, engaged electorate. Yet when cases like McCutcheon are discussed in the public sphere, they are presented as “wins” for large donors and “losses” for the rest of us.

This is nonsensical – speech is not a zero sum game. We all benefit from the exchange of ideas, regardless of their source. That is why cries of “corporations are not people!” are not an adequate response to the Citizens United decision which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums of money on political speech. The entity speaking does not matter, the speech itself does.

It is an unfortunate indication of our culture’s declining respect for the First Amendment that a ruling which removes an unnecessary restriction on the ability of citizens to participate in the political process is vilified. Perhaps that would begin to change if we recognized that more speech for Citizen A creates ripple effects increasing political participation throughout the system. He often speaks for thousands or millions of others who agree with him, and those who disagree may still be informed or motivated by his message. We must remember that voters are not robots who treat ads as orders, and in this social media age people can nearly instantly respond, rebut, subvert and lampoon the speech with others if the message is false or unpersuasive. And on Election Day, everyone still gets exactly one vote.

The answer to speech is more speech. The First Amendment should mean that the government does not get to say “you’ve said enough.” With McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court has brought us one big step closer to living up to that ideal.

Luke Wachob is the McWethy Fellow at the Center for Competitive Politics.

Go here to see the original:
LUKE WACHOB: A victory for free speech, a win for democracy



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