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RE: Why Freedom of speech is so important.
Message edited:

I'm going to backtrack a bit here and respond to Lancelot's second to last post that he directed to me, which starts as follows:

"Now I'm confused Banana. I agree with you. I said basically the same thing...It seems like we are saying the same thing. I am not focused on religion, just the importance of free speech, and it appears that you agree with that."

My response:

Yes, I do agree, regarding the importance of free speech. It would be difficult to overstate its importance. Too often, though (especially in today's climate), it becomes a necessary evil. I felt the need to reinforce the instances in which hate speech IS illegal, so those reading will fully understand that, even though hate speech is technically legal, it often crosses the line into illegality.

Unfortunately, many people think that, because it is technically legal, that gives them license to spew the most vile hatred and cruelty regardless of the harm done to others. As I believe Craig and Emma said, those who are the object of this hate have rights, too - rights that are just as important as free speech. One right does not trump the other, and in fact, the 9th Amendment literally states this:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The right of the speaker does not override the right of others to be free from harassment and intimidation, and the right to live their lives without fear that who they are can bring danger and harm to them.

Based on Craig's extensive research, it looks like the preacher in the video may very well have crossed the line you and I both agree on.

Perhaps more important for me, is why there are so many people in our society who are compelled to take something that should be essentially good (freedom of speech) and use it for cruel purposes. This is also a point Craig and Emma made previously. I believe the proliferation of hate speech in our country poses much more of a danger than limiting one's right to spew hate speech would pose. The harm done is significant and problematic and goes well beyond people being offended. Hate speech has incited widespread violence and death.

BUT, while all this is taking place in the name of freedom of speech, we are seeing the true and egregious eroding of freedom of speech by Republican states like Florida and Texas. The book bans in both states, and other red states, DeSantis' "Don't Say Gay Law", and other Republican laws limiting what a teacher can say and/or teach, and attempts at censorship of the media are all clear violations of the First Amendment.

These types of free speech are more in the spirit of the 1st Amendment than the right to spew hate and filth. Unlike the suppression of hate speech, which simply forces someone to keep their depraved thoughts to themselves, the free speech violations above have serious ramifications. It suppresses knowledge and enlightenment, the free exchange of ideas and thoughts, and the truth about history - all hallmarks of an enlightened and free society. It is what authoritarian regimes do to control the people.

Do you agree that the violations of free speech I referenced above are of serious concern, at least equal to the suppression of hate speech?

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