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NEWS
April 19, 2013
It seems we have reached an odd kind of stage in the United States when the Supreme Court has ruled that campaign spending by corporate fatcats is permissible "free speech," but Dr. Ben Carson's utterances against gay marriage are considered impermissible bigotry by his employers. I would note that Dr. Carson did not advocate punishment, imprisonment or persecution for same-sex couples; he only questioned their right to marriage, an institution millions of straight Americans have foregone in favor of mere cohabitation.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 16, 2014
Michael Foucault, the French philosopher who wrote on asylums, hysterical administrators and irrational bureaucrats, allegedly asked his host when he visited America to show him a high school. After closely observing the structure of an American school, its rules and procedures, he complained: "No, no! I asked to see a school, not a prison. " The recent disciplining of a Howard County high school student for unfurling a Confederate flag at a football game is a splendid example of free speech being mocked ( "Rally scheduled Monday in wake of Confederate flags at Howard Co. school," Sept.
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NEWS
December 18, 2011
"Come out to vote on November 6. " "Before you come to vote make sure you pay your parking tickets, motor vehicle tickets, overdue rent, and most important any warrants. " That's the text of a flier distributed in African-American and Hispanic communities the weekend before Election Day in 2002 when Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ran for governor against Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. November 6 would be too late to vote; it was a Wednesday. Failure to pay the rent or parking or motor vehicle tickets is not a barrier to voting; neither is an outstanding warrant.
NEWS
May 29, 2014
Regarding that cross in Bladensburg, when talking about the separation of church and state has anyone actually read the First Amendment to the Constitution ( "Veterans' cross in Maryland at the center of national battle," May 25)? Why is the phrase "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" never mentioned? Doesn't the First Amendment say that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances?"
NEWS
April 18, 2013
The positions The Sun's writers have taken recently with regard to free expression have not fulfilled its higher calling to support these paramount values. First, the essential theme of the Sun's April 3 article about Towson University and the white student union ("Towson U. fights back against negative attention") was that the university needed to apologize for not interfering with the attempts of certain students to form a white student union. But the university should have been commended, not condemned, for taking a principled stand in allowing unpopular speech, weak-kneed though its support may have been.
NEWS
September 27, 2012
The article, "Free speech clash grips U.N. " (Sept. 25) could also apply to the recent lecture at the Baltimore Council for Foreign Affairs (BCFA), where its president, Frank Burd, caved into pressure from pro-Israel groups and would not allow questions concerning the Middle East during a lecture by University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer. Even though the topic was China, Mr. Burd was evidently afraid that the professor's comments critical of Israel and U.S. policy favoring Israel would offend some of his audience so he limited discussion solely to China, something that he had never done before.
NEWS
March 6, 2011
More than anything else, the debacle regarding Westboro Baptist proves how once-powerless people can steer the media to convey their message. Through the prism of modern media we share both very enriching, positive story lines (the Chilean miners) and negative, satanic campaigns (Westboro Baptist Church). While we may detest the way some choose to manipulate media to spread their messages to the masses, we still hold freedom of speech to be one of the most fundamental and necessary building blocks of our great society.
NEWS
April 13, 2013
As a Johns Hopkins University alumna, I am deeply disappointed in the school's decision to chide Dr. Benjamin Carson to the point that he has stepped down from delivering the commencement address to the graduating class ("Dr. Ben Carson steps down as speaker at Hopkins graduation," April 11). A university, especially one with Hopkins' vaunted reputation, should stand for the value of free speech in the marketplace of ideas and the respect for diversity that are the hallmarks of a free and civil society.
NEWS
February 14, 2014
As a fellow Marylander, former teacher, and mother of a college student, I wish to thank Professor Melani McAlister for her intelligent and thoughtful commentary on protecting academic freedom (" Maryland bills would stifle academic freedom," Feb. 12). I have been following this issue closely and was pleased to see a piece that not only laid out the facts of this important debate but highlighted how serious a threat the bills being considered in Annapolis (and the U.S. Congress) are to what the "Free State" and the Unites States are supposed to stand for. What kind of message are our legislators sending to students and to all citizens if their response to the exercise of free speech is to punish those who engage in it?
NEWS
By Jonah Goldberg | September 24, 2012
"No One Murdered Because Of This Image. " That was a recent headline from The Onion, the often hilarious parody newspaper. The image in question is really not appropriate to describe with any specificity in a family newspaper. It's quite simply disgusting. And, suffice it to say, it leaves nothing to the imagination. Four of "the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity," according to The Onion, and yet "no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday.
NEWS
By Bruce Friedrich | May 28, 2014
Three years ago, I joined six of my friends in passing out vegetarian recipes and information at the Inner Harbor. Baltimore City Police officers ordered us to stop and demanded that we leave the property, under threat of arrest. So last week, we sued those officers for violating our constitutional rights. We had a First Amendment right to pass out literature at the Inner Harbor, and we had proof of our right to be there - the property management company's specific guidelines - which the officers refused to acknowledge.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | May 26, 2014
Vegetarian activists have sued in federal court two Baltimore police officers who forced them to stop leafleting at the Inner Harbor — the latest legal front after years of disputes over the constitutional rights of protesters in the city. A former Baltimore teacher and three other vegetarian activists filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court over events that took place in May 2011. The lawsuit, which does not name the city nor the Police Department, alleges the officers violated their constitutional rights.
NEWS
By Cal Thomas | May 17, 2014
Once, Social Security was the "third rail" of politics. Touch it and face political death. Now it is homosexuality. Criticize anything gay people do and you risk ostracism, fines, suspension or loss of your livelihood. Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by a National Football League team -- the St. Louis Rams picked him 249th in the last round -- is being treated by the media and those in the gay rights movement as the equivalent of an early American pioneer.
NEWS
By Jonah Goldberg | May 5, 2014
After the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, members of the American left found one thing they could all agree on: America's First Amendment rights were in peril. The American Prospect insisted on Sept. 12, when the rubble was still burning and the dead had not yet been retrieved, that "a number of government agencies and their cheerleaders would be clearly tempted to lock the Bill of Rights away in some basement dustbin of the National Archives. " Two weeks later, novelist Barbara Kingsolver warned, "Patriotism threatens free speech with death.
NEWS
April 14, 2014
Let me get this straight. It is perfectly fine for members of the Westboro Baptist Church to defile a funeral using foul chants and signs because it is their right to free speech, but a commissioner isn't allowed to mention Jesus in an opening prayer ( "Carroll commissioners vote to halt sectarian prayer," April 8)? Where is Robin Frazier's right to free speech? It may have made a few people uncomfortable, but what about the people attending the funeral who were grieving the loss of a young man serving his country.
NEWS
April 14, 2014
Letter writer Brad Schwartz writes that no one is prevented from praying "outside the courthouse" and asks "how is that suppressing [an individual's] right to free speech?" ( "Prayer -- even by a citizen -- shouldn't be allowed at Carroll meetings," April 8). While the privilege granted to individuals to speak during a public comment period is "officially sanctioned," the content of their comments is not. If a government body, during an open forum, were to selectively bar only religious-based comments, the government would be suppressing an individual's freedom of speech, which is precisely what the First Amendment forbids.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Luke Broadwater | April 4, 2011
On weekday mornings, I'll post the most controversial, shocking and (of course) ridiculous stories for your reading pleasure. That way, when you walk into work, you'll be the master of witty conversation. National  • A crackdown on free speech: China imprisons writers, bloggers critical of government,  including country's most famous artis t. (Washington Post)   • Free speech run amok: Koran-burning pastor feels  no responsibility for deaths in Afghanistan . (ABC News)
NEWS
April 9, 2014
Letter writer David Holstein warns that the separation of church and state is impossible ( "Free speech challenged in Carroll," April 6). People of faith must follow the dogmas of their religion. Faith in God is the highest goal of a believer. State and social duties are secondary! This raises the question: Where are the non-believers? Because they are citizens and taxpayers, they must have a voice. I have not read comments from nonbelievers in The Sun. If the Sun is willing to publish the opinion of a man who praises his brother for his faith, where can I read that the god being prayed to does not exist?
NEWS
April 8, 2014
David Holstein's letter accusing the American Humanist Association of suppressing free speech by filing a lawsuit against the Carol County commissioner's for allowing his brother to give a Christian prayer at their public meeting misses the whole point of the First Amendment and the long history of established jurisprudence regarding prayer in state sponsored forums ( "Free speech challenged in Carroll," April 6). The purpose of the First Amendment is to ensure that the government funded with taxpayers' dollars remains an honest broker when it comes to religion and doesn't take any side or show preference to one religion over another.
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