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The First Amendment Protects Hateful Speech

Dateline October 23, 2012.  You’ve read it here before: Free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution, but there is a fine line drawn for illegal, unethical and downright mean behavior in our right to speak out. Americans United for Separation of Church & State (au.org), the premier watchdog organization for violations of free speech and the , has issued this: “AU asks IRS to investigate Texas Church for ‘Vote for the , not the Muslim’ sign. Ray Miller, pastor of the Church in the Valley in Leakey, Texas, posted the message on the church’s marquee. The full message read, ‘VOTE FOR THE MORMON, NOT THE ! THE CAPITALIST, NOT THE COMMUNIST!’

“Pictures of the sign have appeared on several news website and other sources. Miller told a Texas television station that he displayed the sign because “he feels strongly about the election.”

“This sign is a blatant attempt to intervene in a political campaign,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “I urge the IRS to crack down on this over-the-top law-breaking.”

So, I ask you—is this over-the-top?  Is this a violation of the First Amendment?  It is a church sign on church property, and if this church hierarchy or members want to keep the tax-exempt status, then it should be taking the IRS seriously!  What if the church doesn’t cooperate? Will the IRS issue the fine?  I hope so.  The IRS has a history of not upholding the law when it comes to churches violating the law concerning not openly supporting a candidate or a party. It’s as though the IRS is afraid of churches. Well, it’s about time we citizens stood up for the First Amendment!

And what about the message on the sign? Is it a case for libel?  Who’s being called what?  It’s a hate-filled message…on the edge of breaking the law…or it has already broken the law.  Perhaps the U.S. courts would hear this case?  It is time for someone to be called out for unethical and un-American behavior, if for nothing else.

It is a shameful day we Americans choose to endure with the bigotry and hate over airwaves and on church signs–YES!  a church sign! If ever there was time for God to smite evil-doers it is now.  It certainly would get our attention, wouldn’t it?

Short URL: http://joannmacdonald.net/?p=331

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