POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Debate continues about constitutional free speech

By James Hull and Ed Holliday

The credo of America is the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Isn’t it interesting that those “patriots” who constantly rely on words like “patriotism” and “government infringement,” don’t want government to infringe on their lives, but encourage government to infringe on the lives of those with whom they disagree?

Point/James Hull
I do not believe in the Ku Klux Klan or what it stands for, but I do believe it has the right and freedom of speech to say it. That’s what our country was founded and built on, the delicate, precarious balance of rights and beliefs: Freedom of Speech, the Freedom and Right of Assembly, Freedom of Expression, the Right to Bear Arms.
According to my religious beliefs, I stand against the gay-lesbian-homosexual-transgender agenda, but according to my sense of America, I believe in a person’s right to be whomever they want to be.
The credo of America is the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Isn’t it interesting that those “patriots” who constantly rely on words like “patriotism” and “government infringement,” don’t want government to infringe on their lives, but encourage government to infringe on the lives of those with whom they disagree?
I’m a preacher. I believe homosexuality is wrong. But to my way of thinking, so are cigarette smoking, prostitution and getting drunk. It is my right to preach against them, and even take action against them when they pose risks to public safety. Yet, I welcome, smokers, drunks, prostitutes and homosexuals to come and worship with me.
Homosexuality isn’t eroding the values and morals of our country. It is eroding the values and morals of those who engage in it.
I believe exclusively in the sanctity of union between a man and a woman. But I don’t believe that government or governmental agencies should deny the rights of those who don’t share my beliefs.
Counterpoint/Ed Holliday
The national and international attention given to Itawamba County recently is a wake up call for everyone about the issue of homosexual behavior. The federal court has ruled that a student’s freedom of speech also includes actions and conduct such as bringing a same-sex date and wearing clothes the student prefers taking precedent over the school board policy.
How can a federal court in Mississippi rule in favor of free speech rights for a student going to a prom but then tell another student in Texas that if the name of Jesus is mentioned in a graduation speech it would mean jail time? Wow! Does any judge or the ACLU understand what Lincoln said when he stated (using the Bible), “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Either there is free speech for a student or there isn’t. In fact, the student got all the free speech she wanted and the school board applied its policy and treated all students equally. But the ACLU argued for special rights. When will the ACLU argue for a Christian student to be allowed to speak the name of Jesus? In one court they argue for others not to impose their views on someone else, and yet in the Itawamba case they argue for one person to impose her view on hundreds. Special rights and one-sided privileges seem to flow to the ACLU’s favorites, but conservatives, people of faith, and those in the ex-gay movement are denied that same right. If we are going to protect a student’s freedom of speech (and actions) then let’s do it for all students everywhere – even those who want to say the “J” word during school functions!
The bottom line in the Itawamba drama is this: in all things, God is always working.
Dr. Ed Holiday is a Tupelo dentist who has written two successful books, the most recent entitled “Walk with Me: A Patriot’s Guide from the Boston Tea Party to Today’s TEA Party Revolution.” Contact him at ed@teaparty.com. James Hull is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist and political consultant. Contact him at hullmultimedia@aol.com.