“You must pledge to support the laws of this land that I don’t agree with!”

Here we go again.

Another teacher is in trouble for demanding that a student participate in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, but this time it’s the teacher’s response that makes me giggle.

The student refused because the pledge contains the words “Under God” and stated (correctly) that it is illegal to force someone to say the pledge. The teacher replied, “I don’t care about the law.”

The Justice League saying the Pledge of Allegiance from a comic book in the 40s. Notice something missing?

The Justice League saying the Pledge of Allegiance from a comic book in the 40s. Notice something missing?

Got it? The teacher wants to teach respect to our country and wants everyone to pledge allegiance to that country while at the same time ignoring the very laws of that country.

The teacher then called her “disrespectful.” Let’s see — which one said that people should ignore the laws of this country? Was it the student?

Such a patriotic attitude this teacher has! (Insert comic German accent) “You vill obey und salute the government. Ve do not allow individual thought here!”

This is America — where we don’t force people to love the government. After all, of what use is a forced pledge? If someone forces you to say something against your will, what’s the point? How is it meaningful? Does the irony not hit people? “We are forcing you to pledge against your will — for freedom!!!”

The United States Supreme Court held that no one could be forced to say the pledge over fifty years ago in a case involving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who persuasively argued that such a pledge violated their religious beliefs concerning worshiping objects or something.

I am always amused by patriots who want to force Americans to do things like this — which seem to me to be one of the most unAmerican thing you can do. Say the pledge because you mean it, and not because you have to. That’s true patriotism.

Much of the debate against the pledge would be neutralized if we could just remove the “under God” part that was added in the 50s. (I personally just remain silent whenever it comes to those words.) Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pledge that includes all Americans? Isn’t that what America is supposed to be about?

You don’t have a right to a job!

Give me a freakin’ break.

National Bigot Kim Davis was playing the martyr card again today, complaining that she had to choose between “her conscience and freedom” because gosh darn it, the evil government that she works for wants to make her do her job.

Well, no, Ms. Bigot — your choice is not between “your conscience and freedom”.  It’s between your job and freedom. If you don’t want to do your job, just quit already.

A sign recently erected in Kim Davis' town

A sign recently erected in Kim Davis’ town

This is the same old argument we see time and time again, always by people who have no understanding of their Constitutional rights. Your right to have an opinion doesn’t mean you have the right to force it on everyone else, nor does it mean you are protected from the consequences of that opinion.

Just since I started this blog a few years ago, this issue has come up more than once.

There was that bank teller (also from Kentucky) that complained that her rights were violated when she was fired after she kept preaching to customers, despite being told to stop by her boss.

And that CEO from Mozilla who whined that he was being wrongly fired for fighting against gay marriage while his business was actively anti-discrimination.

And the conservative pundist Charles Krauthamer, who doesn’t understand that he doesn’t have the right to have his column printed in the paper.

And “actor” Rob Schneider who lost his job as an insurance spokesman after dissing vaccinations (which insurance companies like).

In each of these situations, people wrongly thought that losing their jobs because of what they said meant their freedom of speech was violated. You don’t have the right to a specific job! If your speech, religion, or actions stand in the way of you doing your job, then you’re not being “punished” for your opinions — you’re being punished for not doing your freakin’ job.

Liberals are not trying to ban the Confederate flag

Sure, we hate it. It stands for treason, injustice, and slavery. Anyone who flies that flag is either a bigot, an asshole who likes trolling people, or willfully ignorant of what that flag means to people.

That flag does not belong on public property, nor should public funds ever be used to display it (except perhaps in a museum). There is indeed a movement to prohibit it from being displayed on government property.flagthatmattered

But banning it completely would clearly violate the 1st Amendment.

People have the right to hold unpopular positions. They have the right to be obnoxious and insulting. They can fly that flag on their own property all they want, put it on their car, wave it in the air while they walk down the street.

That doesn’t mean we can’t object. That doesn’t mean we can’t protest it and try to encourage people not to support the anti-American Racist Slaver Treason Flag. We can refuse to deal with people who fly it, boycott businesses that support it, and protest using our 1st Amendment rights, too.

There are always extremists on both ends of the political spectrum. There are indeed liberals who don’t understand what “freedom of speech” means who want to ban the flag and force every statue of a Confederate soldier down to the ground. Oh, and statues of Columbus, too. And Andrew Jackson. And anyone else who doesn’t agree with them 100% … because that’s what extremists want — you either agree with them completely or you’re the enemy.

Don’t paint everyone with the same brush, though. Liberals hate that flag and all it stands for and wish for no one to ever fly it again — but a true liberal also loves freedom of speech and is against censorship.

Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” law is different

The outcry over Indiana’s new law allowing discrimination is valid. Arguments that “other states have similar laws” is not.

Many states have religious freedom laws, and they’re good laws. They prohibit the government from interfering with one’s religious practice, as provided for in the 1st Amendment.bigots For instance, such laws protect a Catholic school that only wants to hire Catholics to teach their classes. That makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s the same concept that says a church cannot be forced to perform a marriage they disagree with. These laws often apply to various non-profit charities and businesses where it makes a difference who gets treated and/or employed. Charities often have religious foundations, for instance.

Indiana’s law is different.  Indiana’s law explicitly allows for-profit businesses to have these same rights. Thus, Jim-Bob’s restaurant is allowed under this law to discriminate when it violates Jim-Bob’s personal religious views. “Sorry, my religion says no coloreds can sit at my lunch counter.” (This, of course, is exactly what we predicted would happen when the Supreme Court decided the terrible Hobby Lobby case, giving corporations a religion.)

This is unprecedented. Here in Pennsylvania, for instance, our “religious freedom” law specifically prohibits for-profit businesses from doing this.

If you want to open a business, you need to open it to everyone. Don’t give me that tired libertarian argument that the marketplace will solve this. It didn’t do that for a hundred years before civil rights laws were passed, and clearly it is not doing that now or else we wouldn’t even be discussing this. In some small communities, there may only be one store within close distance, so don’t go arguing that this is a minor inconvenience.

Bigotry has no place in our laws, and the government should be supporting the people who are being discriminated against, and not those who wish to discriminate.

Just because it’s historical doesn’t make it not religious

“But it’s a historical statue!” was the weak-ass defense of the legislators who placed a huge monument to the Ten Commandments in a courthouse in New Mexico.  “The fact that it promotes a specific God and religion to the exclusion of all others, and the fact that there are absolutely no other similar monuments anywhere else on this property is meaningless.”

Fortunately, a judge who actually took the time to read the Constitution (you know, that document all the legislators swore on their Holy Book to obey) said “Give me a break, what are you, stupid?Ten Commandments Memorial Ordered Removed In Alabama

Okay, that’s not a direct quote, but you get the gist.

We’ve been through this many times before, and will continue to go through it again and again as Christians in America think that since they are the majority religion, everyone else can just suck it up.  And then when people say, “Hey, you know, I don’t really think this is allowed under the Constitution” and fight back, the Christians respond that we’re waging a War on Christianity.

Trust me, if Muslims, Hindu, Jews or Wiccans were doing this, it will still violate the Constitution.  That’s how it works, you see.

You want a monument to the Ten Commandments?  Fine, put it on your own property.  But public property belongs to all of us, which means you can’t favor one and not the others.  This is why even Satanists have been able to fight to get equal time on public property.

Don’t like it?  Then stop doing it.  Prohibit all religious symbols on public property and there’s no problem.

We should be able to discriminate because religion

The photographer who refused to provide service to a gay wedding because it went against his religious beliefs lost again, this time with an appeal to the Supreme Court.

This has some religious people quite upset, because they believe — try to follow this logic — that laws that prevent cruelty to and discrimination against other human beings violates their rights.  Their right to deny rights to others.

I know, right?

The law in that particular state prohibited this exact kind of discrimination, so the photographer thought that there should be an exemption for those who disagree with the law.  You know, in the same way that there are exceptions in other laws that allow you to disobey them if you don’t like them.  In the same way some religious folks were able to ignore laws that struck down interracial marriage back in the ’60s.

Oh, right, I remember now.  That never happened.

Republican leader Mike Huckabee thinks this decision is just terrible.  After all, the Bible is against this and our laws should do whatever the Bible says.  Which means that not only should we be stoning gays to death, we should also bring back slavery.

As Huckabee stated, “unless God re-writes it, edits it, sends it down with His signature on it, it’s not my book to change.” I wonder how many gays Huckabee stoned to death this week?

Here in this place called the United States, we have a Constitution in which the Founding Fathers said, in the very first amendment, that our government would not promote a religion in any way (the “establishment clause.”)  There are other parts of the Constitution that prohibit any sort of religious test be given to anyone in our government, too.

Is it all that surprising that people like Mike Huckabee pick and choose what parts of the Constitution they think should apply to them in the same way they do with the Bible?

 

Freedom of Screech

“You’re violating my freedom of speech!”

This statement is often heard from people who have no idea whatsoever what they are talking about.

The 1st Amendment prohibits Congress from taking away your freedom of speech.  That’s why they can’t pass a law censoring your views or punishing you for speaking your mind. There is absolutely no way an individual citizen can take away your 1st Amendment rights. Only the government can do that.

So you have freedom of speech. That doesn’t mean you have the right to spout out whatever you want without being criticized.

The people who argue this usually are just upset that someone has disagreed with them.  Well, sorry, my freedom of speech means that I can do that, too, you know.

This came up today when some conservatives recited the inane “freedom of speech” mantra after liberals were writing to the Washington Post to complain about Charles Krauthammer’s latest column.post  You see, Charlie boy  was complaining about climate change — which he denies — and whining that people were trying to silence the dissenters.  When people who understand science complained and suggested that having him say such stupid things in a respected newspaper was like having an Flat Earther pen an op-ed column — and that maybe it might be a good idea for the Washington Post to not print lies about climate change — this was seen as proof of what Charlie said.  See?  They want to violate his freedom of speech!

Freedom of speech does not guarantee you an audience.  You don’t have the right to be in the Washington Post.  People have the right to complain about your column, and if you think that is wrong, then you clearly don’t understand what freedom of speech is about in the slightest.

Somehow, conservatives who boycott advertisers, yell at politicians to prevent them from speaking, and fight to censor books from school libraries that teach evil things like science never seem to think that they are “violating someone’s freedom of speech” do they?