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)
January 31, 2011
Joe Pettit argues wrongly, I think, in characterizing Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's argument for traditional marriage as simple free speech ( "Rodricks is wrong on separation of church and state," Jan. 28). Mr. Miller reportedly said he supports a traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman because it was "blessed by God. " If that had been simply a statement of personal sentiment, it would indeed be constitutionally protected religious expression, but if it was offered by a legislator as a rationale for legislative action, it represents an attempt to impose one religious outlook on all the people of Maryland, which is a constitutionally prohibited establishment.
June 4, 2012
Kristian Feldstein (letter, May 17) asks if there is any harm in same-sex marriage. It is true that religious people believe marriage is between one man and one woman; a person entering into matrimony should work toward the good of his or her spouse and be open to the procreation of children. The very word "matrimony" comes from the Latin mater or "mother. " The trials of married life, usually involving children, forms a core bond of love over time that starts with the family and expands into a love of neighbor, benefiting society.
July 28, 2011
It's time for the Maryland State Police and the Attorney General's Office to stop wasting time, back off and settle with anti-abortion protesters who were arrested in the summer of 2008 in Harford County. Yes, the protesters were mostly from out of town. Yes, the posters they were displaying to traffic on Route 24 were graphic and unpleasant. And they probably were looking to maximize their exposure and their arrest probably did more to help publicize their cause than the initial demonstration.
October 7, 2010
The editorial about the Westboro Baptist Church's protest at a soldier's funeral ("Hateful, but not illegal," Oct. 7) entirely misses the point. Of course the speech is hateful. Of course it is not illegal. It seems to me that this is not so much a free speech case as it is a gate crashing case. People holding a funeral have their own rights: freedom of assembly, freedom of association, privacy. What is more private and personal than a funeral? And there is the issue of public order.
October 13, 2010
I was mildly surprised, to say the least, to read that the Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 that the president and his staff have the right to remove people from public speeches on the basis of their bumper stickers ("Court rebuffs 2 ousted from '05 Bush speech," Oct. 13). Upon discovering that a woman and her friend had come to the speech in a car with a bumper sticker reading "No Blood for Oil," officials ejected them from the event, despite their possession of paid tickets. The Secret Service has admitted that this was the sole reason, and thus we are given to believe that there is nothing to suggest these women had intentions to do anything disruptive or even mildly distracting, which I can only assume is the rationale for their removal.
September 19, 2011
The arrest of a man selling paintings at Baltimore's Inner Harbor has renewed debate over the confusing rules governing free speech along the waterfront promenade - an issue that already is the focus of an eight-year-old federal lawsuit. City officials had been nearing a settlement in the lawsuit filed in 2003 by the American Civil Liberties Union, which contended that restrictions governing protests along the harbor are too restrictive. But those involved in the negotiations warn that Sunday's arrest of artist Mark Chase could complicate discussions - especially if he chooses to sue the city.
March 21, 2007
It's probably fair to say that if school authorities in Juneau, Alaska, had kept cooler heads, the odd case of a high school student who was suspended for holding an irreverent banner on a public sidewalk might not have developed into a major free speech case before the U.S. Supreme Court. In oral argument Monday, some of the justices raised troubling questions suggesting a willingness to narrow student free speech rights. This should not be a hard case that makes bad law. In 2002, Joseph Frederick, an 18-year-old senior, and other students at Juneau-Douglas High School had been excused from class to watch the Olympic torch relay as it moved through the city.
March 24, 2005
LET'S DISPENSE with some tangents right off. It's a bad idea for teachers to spank students. There's evidence that women are not innately handicapped when it comes to math and science. And it's offensive hyperbole to cast the World Trade Center victims of the 9/11 attacks as "little Eichmanns." But that aside, we don't have any problems with a student writing a school paper supporting corporal punishment, a university president raising the issue of possible gender differences, and a professor espousing radical ideas.