From the "free speech is complicated" department.
Egyptian-born U.S. reporter Mona Eltahawy was arrested yesterday after she spray painted an anti-Islam ad that the subway system fought to prevent.
In the Rochester area, the chairs of the DFL and GOP parties have issued a joint statement on something on which they agree: People should stop vandalizing the campaign signs of people whose ideas they don't like.
In Buffalo, Minn., five churches were the targets of what police are calling a "biased crime," according to KARE 11. "It's a 'vandalism spree' when Christian churches are involved, but what do you bet it would be a 'hate crime' if it happened to a mosque?" one commenter on the station's website said.
Sort of left out all the context, didn't you Bob?
The poster is a racist attack on Muslims by Pamela Geller Oshry, a rabidly anti-Muslim activist who you could not, for the most part, even quote on this website.
The Subway Authority fought against these posters, and a rightwing judge overrode common sense and past practice to allow these highly provocative posters to be put up.
And no, Mona Eltaway doesn't behave well, but her points are valid. No anti-Jewish poster would ever be put up in the subways. These posters are incredibly inflammatory, calling Muslims "savages." Yes, the people who gave us algebra are now savages to those who support Zionism and the never ending always widening war in the Middle East.
Oshry wants war with Iran. Her friends all want war with Iran. This poster was put up in support of war with Iran. A war with Iran would make Afghanistan and Iraq look like a walk in the park but that's what this is all really about.
"It's a 'vandalism spree' when Christian churches are involved, but what do you bet it would be a 'hate crime' if it happened to a mosque?"
Dear Kare 11 commenter:
Because privilege. Because history. Because Crusades. Because a "war on Christmas" is nothing compared to actual war fought in your own country among different sects of your religion.
well, the StarTribune article I just read about the Buffalo incidents quote the police chief:
"When we see religious institutions in multiple attacks, it certainly gives us reason to believe there is a religious bent on those attacks," the chief said. "An attack against a religion in and of itself is a bias or a hate crime."
He keeps this up and I might have to vote for him ( OK, is his speechwriter running for anything?)
So, tell me again why the ads are free speech, but the spray paint is not?
When I heard the story about the ads on NPR the other day, all I could think was that Pamela Gellar Oshry sounds like a nasty woman with a lot of money to burn.
These ads are protected by the First Amendment because the limitations of the First are very few and being offensive is not one of those limitations.The Court has, for the past 100 years given speech very wide latitude and only narrowly restricts types of speech, and again offending someone, or being obnoxious are not reasons to quell speech.
But this was restricted public space in the subway system, a place where the people in charge had always kept a strict standard to keep offensive speech out of an area used by everyone. The Supremes have ruled countless times that commercial speech can be regulated.
Ever since Clear Channel bought up all the billboards in the USA, liberals have found it very difficult to rent billboards for their free speech. Now here's a place where they don't want inflammatory stuff of any kind, and Oshry used a judge to bully them so she could put up a poster to intimidate Muslims using the subway.
The American right has no class. They routinely deny free speech and the vote to others, but insist on their right to be as boorish as they want to be.
Right, time, place, manner restrictions are certainly valid methods to limit free exercise (speech or religion), but this does not apply in this case. This is a public domain, and if the TA decided to accept ads that were seemingly anti-Muslim, they are then open to accepting anti-Catholic, or Jewish, or Atheist ads too, but absent a ban against any religious ads, they are not violating the First. It may not be good PR or good common sense, but then again, who is the arbiter of common sense.
I have come to the conclusion that I am a 1st Amendment absolutist, or pretty close to one. The video which most likely caused the death of American citizens is reprehensible, but to quash that speech because it may, in someone's mind, cause them to resort to violence as a rebuttal, is worse than the offenses, even the deaths of innocent people. Where does the standard lie, and who decides what is outside protection of the 1st, and what is okay. I certainly don't want to be that decider of what someone might do if they are insulted, and nobody on this forum should be either.
Heather said: So, tell me again why the ads are free speech, but the spray paint is not?
Both are speech. However, the spray painting in this case was also vandalism of the property and battery of the person.
People have the legal right to speak most things in most places. However, it should be obvious that the act of speaking doesn't immunize speakers from the rule of law.