--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
> In a message dated 9/11/06 6:30:18 P.M. Central Daylight Time,  
> Yes, I mentioned one earlier. Liberals are the first to want to 
> >  censor the mention of a deity in public settings such as school.
> That  would be publicly funded schools, i.e., those
> funded by the federal  government. See the 
> "establishment" clause of the First  Amendment.
> > Liberal judges have been 
> > known to threaten  graduating school children with jail time
> > if they so much as mention  the name of Christ in a valedictorian 
> > speech. It happened here, in  Galveston, just a few years ago and 
> > continues to be an issue every  year. That is censorship.
> I could have sworn I pointed out to you that  this
> kind of thing is a conflict between two aspects of
> the First  Amendment, and that these conflicts are
> always very tough. No solution is  going to please
> both sides. If it leans toward free speech, it  leans
> toward violating the establishment clause, and  vice
> versa.
> Cite an instance of liberals advocating censorship
> that does *not* involve a conflict of constitutional
> rights.
> (CNSNews.com) - A liberal group that monitors conservative  media 
> wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to remove radio talk show 
> host  Rush Limbaugh from the American Forces Radio and Television 
> Services, formerly  known as Armed Forces Radio.

Yup, that fills the bill.  But it's really quite rare.

The grounds for the request, FWIW, were that Limbaugh
was "undermining the military's command structure and
endangering U.S. troops" by trivializing the abuse at
Abu Ghraib--he suggested, among other things, making
bubble-gum cards with the photos of the abuse--and
condoning the behavior of the soldiers who committed

Part of the problem was that American Forces Radio and
Television Services at the time was broadcasting *only* 
conservative commentators, which itself constitutes 
censorship.  Howard Stern, for instance, was refused
a place on the service because his content was deemed

The Senate voted *unanimously* to call on the service
to provide more balanced public affairs programming,
since the service is funded by taxpayers, so this wasn't
just a liberal issue.

> As for your comment regarding students  giving a valedictorian 
> speech and mentioning a deity whether to give thanks or
> whatever, that is not the "establishment of a religion". That
> is one persons  opinion in their own speech which is
> guaranteed under the first amendment.

It depends a great deal on the context, and different
courts have ruled differently in such cases.  It's a
terrifically complicated and highly nuanced area of
the law.

> Do  you think the congress is violating the first
> amendment when they open  each cession of congress
> with an invocation? Certainly if they were it  would
> have been stopped by now.

I don't think there's ever been a legal challenge to
it, probably because it's so deeply grounded in
tradition, and there are more important battles with
regard to First Amendment conflicts.  I would imagine
it's less objectionable than religious references in
public school graduation ceremonies, because Congress
consists entirely of adults, and they rotate religions.

If it were ever challenged legally, though, the
courts would have to take the challenge very seriously.
It would be interesting to see what their legal
reasoning would be, pro or con.

I doubt, by the way, that the judge's threat to a
student of jail time would have been upheld by a
higher court had the student ignored the judge's
ruling.  I'd like to see a cite to the case, though,
to see just what he was ruling *against* and why.

> The fact that you would oppose free religious speech
> in a forum involving federal tax dollars means you
> advocate censorship.

To the extent that I would oppose it--and it depends,
again, entirely on the context whether I would or not
--it means I think the First Amendment's establishment
clause trumps the free speech clause in certain
circumstances.  That's quite different from 
advocating censorship.

> By the way here is the first amendment, 

Yes, I'm very familiar with it, thanks.

> One can speak about God all he  wants on federal property as
> long as the government doesn't create a law  establishing
> that or any other religion.

The courts construe the law in question as that
which funds the public school system, however.
Therefore, if public schools allow certain types
of religious speech in certain circumstances,
that amounts to putting Congress's stamp of
approval on that religious speech via the law
funding the public schools, and that violates
the establishment clause.

But--once again--the *type* of speech and the
*circumstances* under which it's delivered are
crucially important in determining whether it's
a violation.  As I said, it's extremely complex
and highly nuanced, as well it should be when
two fundamental constitutional rights are in

> To advocate a position in 
> which one can  not invoke or talk about a deity, anyplace, is 
> of free speech.

It would be, yes, but of course nobody has advocated
such a thing.

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