Archived Story

Do we encourage free speech?

Published 10:04am Friday, May 3, 2013

In the news this week was the first ever announcement by a professional male athlete that he is homosexual. His name is Jason Collins, and he is an NBA center with 13 years of professional experience.

For the most part he was congratulated for his courage in coming forth and revealing that even in macho sports there are natural differences in sexuality and expressions of love.

One supportive Tweet went to Collins from retired Packer LeRoy Butler who simply wrote “Congrats to Jason Collins.”

That tweet cost Butler $8,500 when a speaking engagement he had contracted to do for a Wisconsin church was cancelled. The church cited a “morals clause” in justifying the cancellation of his contract.

Butler was given the opportunity to win back the speaking opportunity and income were he only to take down the Tweet, apologize to the church, and ask God for forgiveness.

He declined.

By disinviting Butler the church will miss a speaker who is an active church member, who is known for his work with churches in Wisconsin, and who has done a good deal of philanthropic work since his retirement.

The greater loss though is part of a broader trend in America, the construction of domes of views, where others are simply not welcome.

The trend is easily seen as well in many of our universities, locations historically known for their willingness to exchange ideas from all perspectives that have, in recent decades, turned their speaking opportunities more and more to liberal ideas only.

Ben Carson is a surgeon who has recently been popular in conservative circles by his clear and candid views on traditional marriage. He was asked to deliver the commencement address at Johns Hopkins University, but withdrew when a group of students objected to his views before hearing from him directly.

His is not the only conservative perspective to be shouted down from those with differing views on college campuses. But colleges should not be shaped in their choices of exposures to ideas by minorities or majorities when ideas are at stake.

Our highest educational opportunities should, and must, expose students to the broad range of ideas across the full spectrum of thinking; ideas that do not demand allegiance, only tolerance and consideration of their underlying merit.

Increasingly we are a nation that too often talks at each other instead of to each other, a nation polarized by a binary that pretends every problem poses an “either-or” solution instead of a “both-and” possibility.

When Republicans champion border security they deserve to be listened to and Democrats need not reject rational arguments for border control out of hand.

Likewise, when Democrats reject sending 11 million illegal immigrants “home” Republicans ought to recognize that solution simply will never work and the discussion merits more thoughtful solutions.

But all too often instead both sides lock in on “talking points” and fail to grant creditability to the arguments of the opposition. We can do better in constructing a national dialogue, and we should do better.

Still, improving our national conversation requires everyone to first genuinely listen to the voices of others, find the logic of their argument, seek out some common understanding and, most of all, tolerate a difference of opinion.

Whether the issue is free speech, voting rights, abortion, or the social safety net, we are better citizens and better elected officials when we listen and practice civility.

You may agree or disagree with LeRoy Butler’s Tweet to Jason Collins, but we are all better to respect Butler’s views than to deem them unacceptable.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

 

  • mikehaney

    Keta, thanks for the heads up on Dr. Mortensen-Center for immigration Policy”. I signed up for his newsletter. Will have to admit was confusing it with the liberal,“Immigration Policy Center”.
    Whew, that was close!!

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    POTTER: To see for ourselves, NBC News hid three motion-sensitive cameras in remote Southern Arizona. And recently 11 miles north of the border we recorded this scene, a group of smugglers on private U.S. ranchland carrying marijuana loads in broad daylight. Elsewhere we found other border crossers making their northbound treks at night. But even worse, border patrol agents say, is the situation in South Texas along the Rio Grande, where immigrant apprehensions are rising dramatically. By 65 percent last year and 55 percent this year as more people flee Central America. Deputies in Brooks County, Texas, say they seized a smuggler’s cell phone loaded with this video allegedly showing immigrants being brought illegally into the United States.

    GONZALEZ: We suspected that they had at least 25 to 30 people in here.

    POTTER: Police Chief Juan Gonzalez says in San Juan, Texas, he’s seeing a surge in immigrant smugglers setting up stash houses. If the undocumented immigrants have made it here that meant that they cross the border.

    GONZALEZ: Sure.

    POTTER: And is that happening regularly in your town?

    GONZALEZ: Yes, every single day.

    POTTER: So just how secure is the U.S. border? Many who live there say it varies depending on where you look.
    —————————————-
    And keep in mind that these drug smugglers have to have a destination. Do you really know your neighbor?

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  • keta

    Dr. Mortensen discovered the following amnesties for illegal aliens
    ———————————————————

    I think you might have Dr. Mortensen and his “Center for Immigration Policy” mixed up with a legitimate enterprise in DC called the “Immigration Policy Center”. Dr. Mortensen and the CIS are in the business of blaming immigrants for everything that’s wrong with America. Their “distinguished Fellows” hire themselves out as speakers in lineups that include holocaust deniers and idiots who think blacks are primates without fur. They are laughable. And wrong, just like the Americans who hated the Irish and other immigrants who came here a couple of centuries ago.

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  • mikehaney

    Dr. Mortensen discovered the following amnesties for illegal aliens and their employers:

    Amnesty for the estimated 75 percent of illegal aliens committing Social Security fraud.
    Amnesty from returning to home countries for 10 years before adjusting status.
    Amnesty for illegal aliens committing Identity theft.
    Amnesty for illegal aliens by officially authorizing them to continue committing identity theft by using fraudulently obtained Social Security numbers belonging to American citizens.
    Amnesty for illegal aliens who have committed perjury on I-9 forms.
    De-Facto amnesty from the token $1,000 penalty, since it effectively pre-pays services provided to illegal aliens.
    Amnesty from existing exclusion, deportation, and removal orders:

    While illegal aliens would be granted amnesty for crimes they have committed, government employees who discover Social Security fraud, identity theft, or perjury on I-9 forms while reviewing applications for provisional status would be prohibited from notifying victims, law enforcement, etc. with a threat of a $10,000 penalty. This is 10 times more than the $1,000 penalty paid by an illegal alien who has committed felony identity theft.

    Amnesty for employers found to have employed illegal aliens or who are currently employing illegal aliens. Moreover, employers may continue to employ illegal aliens, accept fraudulent Social Security numbers, and renew falsified I-9 forms for those who apply for provisional status.
    Amnesty for employers who did not withhold and/or submit payroll taxes for individuals illegally in the United States.
    Amnesty for employers who violated labor laws by paying unfair wages, who failed to pay wages, etc.
    Amnesty for employers who facilitated Social Security fraud and identity theft by providing or accepting false Social Security numbers.
    ————————————–
    The beginning of the end?

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Gosnell Jury Recesses for the Weekend, apparently now have moved on to considering charges against abortionist.
    ————————————–
    Crawford–Whether the issue is free speech, voting rights, abortion, or the social safety net, we are better citizens and better elected officials when we listen and practice civility.——-Civility???

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  • mikehaney

    “In other states that have recently redefined marriage such as New York, Maine, Vermont and Washington, people of faith have faced consequences for refusing to accommodate genderless marriage in violation of their deeply-held faith,” wrote Plante, and referenced several different cases to justify his concern.

    “A Christian couple in Vermont was sued for not hosting a same-sex ceremony in their inn, and was forced to pay a fine and agree to no longer accommodate any weddings in their facility,” Plante wrote. “Recently the Washington State Attorney General has taken legal action against a Christian florist for declining to utilize her artistic talents in celebration of a same-sex wedding, which she opposes on religious grounds. The florist has also been sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU. Notary Publics in Maine have been warned that they must surrender their certifications if they refuse to solemnize a same-sex marriage even if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Town Clerks in New York faced similar threats.”
    ————————————
    The beginning of the end?

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  • keta

    The left claims FOX and talk radio is right wing and wants them to be censored or dropped by their sponsors. If you want respect
    ———————————————————–

    LOL…if FOX wants respect, they’ll have to clean house, or administer IQ tests to their anchors. They reported that solar energy won’t work here – it’s not as sunny as Germany. A female anchor reporting on rape in the military said, What did they expect? These people are in close contact. (!) It’s daily, hourly, the most astonishingly stupid bullsh*t imaginable. Obama’s $200 million dollar per day travel budget. Gun owners don’t want background checks. Trayvon Martin’s hoodie was responsible for his death. Obamaphones. All of it quickly and easily checked and disproved, but instead they allow themselves to be scorned and mocked pretty much nonstop. Why? Why not just hire smarter people? Pointing out that something reported as “news” is in fact a laughable fabrication isn’t censorship. You get that, right?

    (Report comment)

    • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

      Thanks Keta. You proved me right. I knew I could count on you.

      (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Saturday, May 4, 2013
    Columbus Bishop risks jail defending Catholic school that fired teacher for coming out as lesbian.
    ——————————————-
    The beginning of the end?

    (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    There is a difference in respecting one’s opinion and accepting said opinion. I believe you have a right to say and believe what you want and to express it but you do not have a right to be heard. Witness the media that the right claims is leftist and deservedly so but nobody calls for them to be censored. But the left claims FOX and talk radio is right wing and wants them to be censored or dropped by their sponsors. If you want respect, respect the opposition or you are nothing but a hypocrite.

    (Report comment)

  • keta

    ‘Marriage equality’ becomes ‘marriageelasticity’
    ———————————————————–

    Since more than half of all marriages already end in divorce, it’s crazy to think GAYS are going to promote ‘marriage elasticity’. Seriously, while you’re worrying about the private lives of gay citizens and waiting for your guns to be confiscated, truly awful things are happening to the constitutional rights and the livelihoods of average Americans. You should look into it.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    n September 2012, Masha Gessen was appointed as director of the Russian Service forRadio Liberty, a US government funded broadcaster based in Prague. The writers of Forbes spoke in her favor in the past, saying, “Gessen can be difficult to work with because of her penchant for taking non-negotiable moral stances… Although I often disagree with her conclusions, Gessen has always struck me as someone of remarkable moral consistency and impeccable honesty.”

    On May 19, 2012 when Ms. Gessen appeared at the Sydney Writer’s Festival on a panel titled, “Why Get Married When You Can Be Happy?” The YouTube video has since gone viral.

    In this video, lesbian activist Masha Gessen claims gay marriage is a lie to loud applause by a LGBT audience:

    “Gay marriage is a lie. Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there. It’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. … ‘Marriage equality’ becomes ‘marriageelasticity,’ with the ultimate goal of ‘marriage extinction.’ ”
    —————————————-
    To repeat**** a US government funded broadcaster based in Prague*****

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    The president is smart and eloquent. But leadership, especially for someone who has achieved that level of power, requires three elements: It must communicate a clear vision and a commitment to its realization; it must mobilize and inspire others into action; and it must produce results.–Frida Ghitis
    ——————————–
    The problem with Obama. Maybe if he would tell the truth even sometimes, he could accomplish something. But, if he told the truth, even the democrats would run as fast as they cold from him and he would be standing all alone.

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  • keta

    vowed to stop the stranglehold on faith
    ————————————————————-

    Oh, bull. The Stranglehold on Faith must be a bastard cousin of the War on Christmas. It’s juvenile to pretend Christians in America have to struggle to practice their faith. They don’t. The rights of gay citizens is a legal issue that affects millions of Americans. The #1 reason for keeping gays in the military is because we need them, and they’re fed up with the pretense and nonsense involved in serving. Your example of the suicidal soldier is ridiculous. American soldiers are committing suicide by the thousands, mostly because they can’t get the medical and psychiatric attention they need. The concern you & Mick seem to have about their sex lives and their religious beliefs is a little weird, when you consider that kind of widespread, crushing despair. Get a clue, for heaven’s sake.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Goes much deeper than that Crawford. We’re in trouble.
    ————————————-
    As our own Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin told WORLD magazine yesterday, “Coercing people to believe what we believe is not part of the Christian faith.” Either way, the policy is incoherent, and the DOD’s attempt to clarify it only muddled matters more. One thing we do know for certain: the Pentagon is flustered that it got caught. Some of the military’s most senior officials were “contemplating policies that violate the rights of American service members,” FRC’s Ken Klukowski writes, “and they are literally attempting to rewrite the dictionary through a press release to offer a disingenuous explanation of why things are not as disturbing as they appear.”

    While the rest of the country tries to parse the Pentagon’s words, one admiral is willing to put his career on the line to fight for the right of military members to share their faith. In an emotional moment at yesterday’s National Day of Prayer service, Coast Guard Rear Adm. William D. Lee stood at the microphone and said that he had 10 minutes of carefully prepared remarks ready but decided to “speak from the heart” instead. He told the story of so many servicemen searching for reasons to live, and talked about one 24-year-old who had tried to commit suicide and failed. Despite the protocol, Lee said he felt strongly that he should give the soldier a Bible. “The lawyers tell me that if I do that, I’m crossing the line,” he told the crowd. “I’m so glad I’ve crossed that line so many times.” To a standing ovation, Admiral Lee promised not to back down from “my right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope.”

    If you want to know what courage is, this is it. It’s not a basketball player fielding flattering calls from the President and admiring tweets from Hollywood. It’s standing in the fire and fighting for truth when 30 years of service hang in the balance. For now, Admiral Lee asks people to please “pray that we will be able to weather the storm that I am almost certain will come.” And in many cases, is already here.

    Lee will have plenty of company in the foxhole, as Congressmen Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) both vowed to stop the stranglehold on faith. For Collins, the policy is personal. An Air Force Reservist and Chaplain, he was appalled that the military “of the freest nation in the world has labeled people of faith as religious extremists and continues this hostile attitude even after offering a half-hearted, public apology… Our country’s religious liberties are founding principles to its unique history, and after over two centuries of safeguarding and protecting these inalienable rights, I refuse to let it fall through on my watch.”

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Jim Crawford; You went a step to far. Abortion is murder, there is nothing civil about it. Homosexuality? It gets a little complicated. It crosses the line of “civility” when it is actively practiced. Unnatural sexual inter-course is called sodomy. This practice is detrimental to society in general. Caution is in order when it comes to advocating, so called, same sex marriage. There are issues where compromise is not to be considered.

    (Report comment)

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