This page has a collection of articles written about the attack on the free speech of the religious in the United States. The articles are:
A Most Hateful Way to Stifle Free Speech by Rod Dreher
The New Blacklisters by Jeff Jacoby.
Don't Equate Disapproval with Hate by Ron Dreher
There's No Free Speech At the Brooklyn Museum
A MOST HATEFUL WAY TO STIFLE FREE SPEECH
By ROD DREHER
New York Post 3 12 2000
DOES free speech have any place on Staten Island? Not if you believe in the Old Testament -- which is to say, the Hebrew Bible -- or adhere to Islam or any other religious faith that prohibits homosexuality. On Staten Island, they expect you to shut your trap, or else stand accused of being a hateful bigot. In fact, gay leaders, civic officials and businessmen will shut your trap for you, all in the name of tolerance. The same crowd that lectures you to be forbearing when a public art museum desecrates an image of the Virgin Mary will tell you you have no moral right to quote from your own holy scripture in public. So learned the Rev. Kristopher Okwedy last week, when he rented space on two Staten Island billboards to post a Bible verse, Leviticus 18:22, which reads, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination." Hundreds of millions of devout people the world over believe this and have for millennia. Quite a lot of them are so inconsiderate as to live in New York City. It is not illegal -- yet -- to hold or state this view. But outraged Staten Island gay leaders rose up to condemn the billboard as evidence of "hate." Borough President Guy Molinari joined in the chorus of condemnation, and the billboard owner ripped the offending Bible verse down. Scapegoated by the borough government and others for speaking out about his religious beliefs, Okwedy, 37, a born-again pastor from Nigeria who ministers to the inner-city poor, is now receiving death threats from the tribunes of tolerance. "Somebody called me from a city office phone" -- Okwedy has Caller ID -- "and told me they were going to kill me, that I was a nigger and a bastard. Another person said they were going to come after me when this cools down and throw acid in my face." A supporter suggested he contact the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the billboard company in court. Okwedy thinks that's futile. "I don't think the ACLU is for Christians," he sighed.
Okwedy has obviously learned a lot in his 10 years in America. He has surely observed how quick gay activists are to employ the word "hate" to impugn the motives of those who disagree with them and to discredit their opponents' actions. That majority of California voters, who balloted against gay marriage on Tuesday, did so out of "hate," we are told. Dr. Laura Schlessinger, an Orthodox Jew who has the audacity to actually believe her religion, is excoriated as "the Queen of Hate Radio" for voicing disapproval of homosexuality. And on and on. This is the bully tactic used by self-absorbed adolescents throwing a temper tantrum because they can't persuade their parents to agree to their demands: "You hate me! You hate me!" But it is proving a brilliant political strategy. As soon as a dissenting opinion is labeled "hate," it need not be countered with reason, and those who hold that opinion need not be taken seriously -- except inasmuch as they are a threat to decency and order and must be suppressed. The presumption is that no one can object to homosexuality for any reason other than uncut malice. This fails to consider that orthodox religious faithful believe moral and theological truth exists outside mankind's will. That truth is for us to discern, not create. And often the moral truths taught by religion will speak prophetically to the community at large. "The word of God is not just there to make you feel good," Okwedy says. "It's there for correction, too."
Nowadays, almost everyone agrees that the courageous black ministers who led the civil-rights movement were indeed prophets of a just cause. Back then, Southern segregationists tried to silence those ministers by denouncing them as "communists" trying to upset the peace and saying they had no right to speak out as religious believers on political matters. Those Southerners were wrong, not only in their support of segregation but in their views on the proper place of religion in public life. Today, those Northerners clamoring for pastor Okwedy to be silent should recognize that the rights of religion to challenge secular orthodoxies are not contingent upon whether or not religion supports political goals of the left or the right. They do not have to agree with Okwedy. If their conscience demands it, they should try to convince him (and everyone else) that he's wrong. They do not have the moral right to put on the rhetorical jackboots to demonize Okwedy and his point of view, particularly when he speaks for so many. In his 1993 book, "The Culture of Disbelief," Yale law professor Stephen Carter argues that liberal democracy is ill-served by haranguing diverse voices like Okwedy's out of the public square. "What is needed," writes Carter, "is a willingness to listen, not because the speaker has the right voice but because the speaker has the right to speak. "Moreover, the willingness to listen must hold out the possibility that the speaker is saying something worth listening to; to do less is to trivialize the forces that shape the moral convictions of tens of millions of Americans."
THE NEW BLACKLISTERS
By Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
May 25, 2000
You can hear arguments for and against same-sex marriage. You can hear arguments for and against gays in the military. You can hear arguments for and against taking the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality literally.
Should openly gay scoutmasters be allowed in the Boy Scouts? Should "gay pride" be celebrated with flamboyant parades? Should churches ordain gay and lesbian clergy? You can hear arguments for and against each proposition.
Or can you?
Increasingly, gay activists are insisting that you *not* be allowed to hear the arguments for and against. Instead of trying to refute opinions they don't share, the new strategy is to label them "hateful" or "dangerous" and to silence the people making them.
The campaign to kill the "Dr. Laura" TV show before it debuts this fall is an alarming case in point.
Laura Schlessinger's views are anathema to many. A moral traditionalist, she makes it clear that she disapproves of homosexuality. It is a form of "deviant sexual behavior," she says -- the result of a "biological error" that impedes gays and lesbians from being attracted to the opposite sex.
Homosexuality is hardly the only practice Schlessinger disapproves of, as anyone who listens to her knows. She opposes premarital sex, abortion, single motherhood, serial marriage, people who cheat on their spouses, working parents who put their children in day care, and most divorce. She is rigid and censorious and blunt. She is also stunningly popular, far and away the most successful woman in radio history and the author of four bestselling books. In the marketplace of ideas, she has found many takers.
Not surprisingly, she also has many detractors, who denounce her views as "homophobia" and bigotry. But rather than debate those views, her opponents aim to suppress them. They are aggressively lobbying Paramount to cancel "Dr. Laura," flooding TV stations that have signed up to carry it with letters and calls of protest, and putting pressure on advertisers to shun not only & Gamble yielded to the pressure, dropping its plan to sponsor the new program. A few days earlier, United Airlines announced it would no longer run ads for Schlessinger's radio show in its in-flight magazine.
Once upon a time, activists on the left hated blacklists and loved free speech. They embraced the classic position attributed to Voltaire: I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Gay-rights advocates especially appealed for tolerance. Live and let live, they said. To each his own. Be open-minded.
No more. "Tolerance" now means no tolerance for speakers whose opinions on homosexuality are politically incorrect. We don't like what Dr. Laura says; therefore, she may not say it.
It isn't only Dr. Laura.
On a growing number of college campuses, evangelical student groups are being punished for adhering to traditional Christian views on homosexuality. When the Christian Fellowship at Tufts University would not allow a lesbian member to run for a leadership post -- not because of her sexual orientation, but because she rejected the group's belief that homosexual activity is wrong -- it was stripped of its status as a legitimate campus organization. That meant it lost its student government funding and the right to use "Tufts" in its name, and was barred from communicating through university channels.
In short, one administrator reportedly told the group, "on the Tufts campus, you do not exist."
The ruling was later overturned on due process grounds, but it may be reimposed in the fall. Meanwhile, there has been no reprieve for the Christian fellowship at Grinnell College in Iowa, which was "derecognized" in 1997. Similar campaigns to penalize evangelicals are underway at Middlebury College in Vermont, Whitman College in Washington, and Ball State University in Indiana. No doubt more are in the works.
Those leading the assault on the Christian groups claim they simply want to stop discrimination against gays. But the religious fellowships *don't* discriminate against gays; they welcome members of any sexual identity. The groups do, however, insist on the right to decide for themselves what they believe, and that is what the campus inquisitors cannot abide. Like the protesters trying to get the plug pulled on Dr. Laura, they demand outward ideological conformity. No one may dissent from their particular gay agenda, and those who do must be stifled.
As this intolerant "tolerance" spreads, so does the chill it generates.
Last month, The New York Times reported on three religious scholars -- "respected Protestant theologians" and "thoughtful conservatives" all -- who had been invited to join a televised discussion of same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay ministers. Each refused, afraid of being vilified as "anti-gay and anti-compassion" if he deviated from the liberal line. None of the three would even allow the Times to quote him by name. One said he worried about family members who "had felt the 'heat' for his previous public statements."
Intimidation, censorship, blacklisting, "derecognition" -- these are the coward's ways to win an argument. Those who believe in gay rights used to also believe in reason, persuasion, and the free exchange of ideas. What happened?
(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org)
Don't Equate Disapproval with Hate
By Ron Dreher
New York Post 6,6,2000
So you would think if you took cues from the gay-grievance gantlet picketing outside CBS-TV's Fifth Avenue studios yesterday.
These illiberal hysterics, who want to stop the wildly popular radio host's planned TV show, can't tell the difference between principled dissent from their views and "hate."
"They wouldn't let David Duke host a show," said protester Alan Klein, one of more than 100 demonstrators at the rally. "Why is there a double standard when it comes to gays and lesbians? We want to stop her from spewing more hatred on TV."
This is disingenuous. For one thing, only fringe kooks believe race hate can be justified by their twisted view of "morality." But people who engage in homosexual acts - or sexual activity of any kind-are making a moral choice, whether you think it's a good one or a bad one.
Secondly, Dr. Laura has already agreed to sidestep homosexuality on her TV program, which is slated to air locally on WCBS. What protesters really want is to ruin her for holding incorrect views on the issue.
Why stop at Dr. Laura? They've got 125 million more people to read out of the human race.
According to a recent Newsweek poll, 46 percent of Americans believe, as does Dr. Laura, that homosexuality is sinful - even though 4 out of 5 in the same poll believe gays should be protected from housing and employment discrimination.
Clearly, most Americans have complex views on homosexuality, and recognize a difference between tolerance and approval. To imply that nearly half the people in this country are seething cauldrons of homophobic spite is to risk mockery as a paranoid lunatic.
Except these paranoid lunatics have clout. In their hands, the word hate is like an empty pistol: There's nothing in the chamber, but you can still scare people into doing your bidding just by waving it around.
You can even persuade people into looking away from the ugly truth.
In April, Massachusetts dads Scott Whiteman and Brian Camenker attended a taxpayer-funded public workshop on gay issues for teachers, school administrators and students. They tape-recorded gay instructors explaining and encouraging kinky sex techniques to kids, among other things, and made those tapes public.
Gay leaders in Massachusetts couldn't deny the shocking evidence on those tapes. So they accused Whiteman and Camenker of - here we go - "hate." The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is threatening a lawsuit.
GLAAD, which was out in force at yesterday's anti-Dr. Laura protest, participated in a transgender conference and expo in February. Among the many exotic offerings at the Alexandria, Va., event was a sadomasochism workshop teaching hot-iron "branding," "piercing," "cutting" and "blood sports" - sex play requiring the shedding of blood.
Think that's sick? What kind of hate-spewer are you, anyway?
That companies like Procter & Gamble, which abandoned sponsorship of Dr. Laura's show, would kowtow to a group trying to normalize this kind of deviance is dismaying.
Two company sources say its switchboards have been jammed with consumers angry at the P&G cowardice - particularly after popular Christian radio broadcaster Dr. James Dobson denounced P&G.
Last Friday, P&G's director of global marketing flew to Colorado for a meeting with Dobson and Focus on the Family officials. Though a P&G spokeswoman described the atmosphere as "cordial," others present report it did not go well.
"It was intense. We achieved absolutely no agreement," says Focus vice president Tom Minnery. "Dr. Dobson intends to keep the pressure on."
The next meeting with social conservative leaders is scheduled for June 12 at P&G headquarters in Cincinnati - the day after the city's gay-pride parade, to which the company contributed $1,000.
"Procter & Gamble, this is a family product," says Brooklyn Rabbi Isaac Levy, who has come to the defense of Dr. Laura, an observant Orthodox Jew. "There's not a house in America that doesn't have their products. Why don't they take that into account?"
No Free Speech at the Brooklyn Museum
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2001
If a so-called artist portrays Jesus Christ as a nude black woman, that's merely a case of free speech, argues Brooklyn Museum director Arnold L. Lehman. But when another artist displays a painting showing Lehman planting a wet one on a pig's behind, that's grounds for arresting the man.
That's what happened when Scott LoBaido showed up at the museum with a 3-foot painting of a dead hog on its back with a knife in its belly and a man's lips pressed against its curly tail, according to the New York Post.
Despite LoBaido's claim he was merely "expressing" himself, he was arrested and charged with creating "a public nuisance."
Speaking of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has castigated the museum for displaying the blasphemous "Yo Mama's Last Supper," LoBaido shouted, "Giuliani's the bad guy, right," as his painting was taken away. "But this freak here who runs the museum says I can't bring my art work in here."
It wasn't the first time LoBaido has protested sacrilegious art displayed at the Brooklyn Museum. Sixteen months ago he was arrested after he expressed himself by hurling horse manure at the building, which had displayed a controversial portrait of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung.
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