Freedom of speech

Student Religious Liberty Bill In House Committee Monday Morning!

On Monday morning, the House Education Committee will vote on SB 236, a priority for The Family Foundation that protects the rights of public school students to express their faith at various school events. Its patron is Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax), a longtime defender of religious liberty in the General Assembly. Curiously, the bill has caught the attention of Governor Terry McAuliffe. Based on existing law in two states that has not been challenged in the courts, Senator Carrico's bill would create what the law calls "limited public forums" at certain public school events, which restrict schools from censoring subject matter simply because it is from a faith perspective. The schools can still "limit" the speech to the matter at hand; for example, a graduation speech must be about graduating, but it can contain statements about the importance of faith, etc.

The bill also protects students' rights to organize prayer groups, have events such as "see you at the pole" gatherings, wear clothing with religious expression, and he like. The bill is based on federal court precedent.

Opposition to a similar House bill earlier this session was fierce and misleading. Coming from the ACLU and other groups, the opposition claimed that the bill was an attempt to circumvent Supreme Court rulings concerning school prayer, but the bill isn't really about school prayer — it's about freedom of speech and association. Opponents also expressed concern that the bill could be "dangerous" and that it is certain to cause lawsuits. But that assertion is baseless. The law has existed in two states for several years but has not elicited lawsuits.

ACTION: Please click here for members of the House Education Committee and urge their support of SB 236 on Monday! 

 

Governor McAuliffe Has Kept One Promise: He's NOT Reading The Bills!

As we've previously noted, and other media as well, Governor Terry McAuliffe hasn't rushed out to stake a claim on too many issues — unless it's to support the abortion industry or promote Medicaid expansion. Today, though, out of the blue (or, gray, as dark tornado-warning clouds enveloped Richmond), he spoke — kinda. His spokesman did. Of all things and of all bills, the spokesman said that the governor will veto SB 236 — a "prayer bill" — which passed the Senate early in session and now is in the House of Delegates, if it  reaches his desk. The bill's patron is Senator Charles Carrico (R-40, Galax).

There's a problem. The man who infamously said during the campaign that he wouldn't read bills because he would hire people to do it for him (see Washington Post), apparently hasn't read this bill or doesn't want to — because it's not a prayer bill! It's a freedom of speech bill. But according to the Post today, the governor has his sights set on the "Prayer Bill."

We don't know why. We hope he takes a break long enough from his 60 parties in 60 days to actually read the bill. Then he might find it's not offensive at all — as if prayer is offensive — and that he would be doing a good thing by strengthening students' rights of freedom of speech, expression and association on campus.

T-Mac drinking

Read more, party less. Sign the students' rights bill.

(State Approved) Roommate Wanted

Opponents to our values often tell us to keep our noses out of their lives, that what happens in private isn't anyone's concern. Mind your own business they tell us. Apparently, as is usually the case, their standard doesn't apply equally. A case in point: A Michigan woman is facing a federal investigation because she posted an ad on her church bulletin board seeking a Christian roommate.

Seriously. State approved roommates!

Finding a roommate is stressful enough — trying to find a complete stranger who has a compatible lifestyle, sometimes under financial pressure. But according to our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund (see Speak Up Movement blog), the government now is in the business of telling us with whom we can and cannot live:

The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, alleging that this 'posting' was discriminatory. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has turned this over to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which notified this lady that it will now be handling this investigation.

The lady under investigation is not a landlord or manager of multi-family apartments. She simply owns a home and is seeking someone of like faith to share her 900 square feet living space. But apparently, in the United States, in The Age of Obama, the desire to have a roommate who shares one's faith is such a threat to our national well-being that it requires state and federal investigations. So much for our freedom of privacy . . . or of association . . . or of religion.

You might wonder why this matters to us in Virginia. After all, we don’t have a "Department of Civil Rights" going around investigating similar "threats."

Or do we?

In Virginia we have something called the Human Rights Council that is tasked to . . .

investigate, seek to conciliate, refer to another agency, hold hearings pursuant to the Virginia Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), and make findings and recommendations upon complaints alleging unlawful discriminatory practices.

Now don't get me wrong. If serious acts of real discrimination take place there should be a way for victims to be protected. But it is undeniable that such an entity can be used to intimidate and threaten people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong but practicing their freedom.

The Alliance Defense Fund makes it clear (see news release) that the woman in Michigan . . .

has a fundamental, constitutional right to seek out a Christian roommate. To claim that she loses her constitutional rights to freedom of association, freedom of religion and freedom of speech just because someone else might be offended that she wants to live with a roommate of the same faith is preposterous.

This week's elections demonstrated a serious mistrust in our government. Citizens spoke loudly that our government is far too big and threatens too many of our freedoms. While much of the debate has surrounded fiscal issues, a government that can control what doctor you see or how much income you have can very easily control which roommate you choose. That is what citizens across the nation voted against on Tuesday.

We can hope that what is happening in Michigan doesn't happen in Virginia, or we can elect men and women to office who understand the limits of government and the constitutional freedoms that we once enjoyed.

QOD: Chamber Of Commerce President Says It Best About DISCLOSE Act

U. S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donahue said it best about the DISCLOSE Act. Never one to shy away from the attention grabbing quote going back to his days at the American Trucking Associations (that's right, it's plural), Mr. Donahue qualifies for our first federal Quote of the Day. From The Hill's On The Money Blog, by Jay Heflin:

The fact that this assault to the First Amendment is being considered as millions are desperately looking for work is a complete outrage. Despite their best efforts, there is no back room dark enough, no partisan motive strong enough, and no cynicism profound enough to barter away Americans' freedom of speech.

As we mentioned posted yesterday, the DISCLOSE Act is a backroom deal of the most nefarious kind to limit what groups outside labor unions and selected others can do and spend on political campaigns, and Mr. Donahue nailed it in the second sentence. (Wasn't the new regime going to end backroom deals?) We do have one concern. Whether deserved or not, the Chamber itself has had a history of flirting with the forces in D.C. not necessarily enamored with free markets and free ideas, as long as it and its members got what it needed. Crony capitalism as it's called. Being "pro business" doesn't mean a politician is for free markets, liberty and constitutionally limited government.

Finally, however, some are waking up to the reality of what happens when you swim with the sharks and lay with the lions too long. At first, you get a bit of a high — untouched in the proximity of such man eaters — thinking you actually can get along with them, cut your own deals, and leave each other to pursue separate agendas. But, in the end, they still are sharks and lions and they have their own instinctive agendas — to rule the seas and jungles. When they want their dinner, they don't care who you are or what you've done together in the past. They need to be satisfied and, if you are in their way, and inevitably everyone is, you will be eaten because what they eat is all the same to them.

More "Tolerance" In The Age Of Obama

From Concord, North Carolina, we have this: A kiosk vendor, who trades as Free Market Warrior and sells conservative swag at one of that state's most popular malls, is getting kicked out for practicing his freedom of expression rights by displaying three bumper stickers and a t-shirt with anti-Barack Obama messages. Mary Curtis, who has the story at Politics Daily, calls it the Battle of Concord — Mall. It's led to protesters at, and boycotts of, the mall. Meanwhile, the vendor, Loren Spivak, is selling his t-shirts and stickers, including those with pro-life messages, faster than a hungry Tar Heel can scarf down a BBQ sandwich. But the kibosh of the First Amendment doesn't stop there. From Curtis, herself:

Mall offices were closed on Sunday, according to the security guard who eventually shooed me away for reporting without permission. ...

A letter to the editor published in the Charlotte Observer started the controversy. It read, in part:

While freedom of speech is a Constitutional right it's difficult not to believe that something just isn't quite right here.

It's not surprising. In fact, it's the leftist-liberal canon — very much like "health care reform" — you do whatever you want except for what we say you can do.

Virginia News Stand: April 2, 2009

The News Stand doesn't have a large inventory today, but what we have is interesting as usual. The gubernatorial campaign is rolling along with Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe continuing to get the headlines. Where are Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran? It's enough to prompt House Republican Whip Eric Cantor to call it for T-Mac already. Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sounds the warning on President Obama's war on churches and charities, squeezing them out in favor of a care-for-all, omnipresent government. Speaking of McDonnell, he's promised to run the most technologically savvy campaign in Virginia history. It's a hard lesson Republicans have learned from Democrats who have outpaced them by far in use of the Internet via social networking and the like. But according to Rachel Alexander, there is a conservative tech revolution going on.

Speaking of revolutions, do they have tea or corn parties in Iowa? For all those gearing up for the various Virginia tea parties on April 15, you might want to read and view what went on in Iowa's legislature recently, where the Democrat House Speaker, Pat Murphy, tossed out taxpayers opposed to his tax increase plan. Ah, yes. Freedom of speech in the Age of Obama!

News:

McDonnell pledges support for business during campaign stop (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign makes local stop (Winchester Star)

McAuliffe's Fundraising: High-Dollar, High-Mileage (Washington Post)

Does Cantor Really Think McAuliffe Wins? (TertiumQuids.com)

Ex-Lobbyist, Kaine Brother-in-Law, Among 4 Proposed For U.S. Attorney(Washington Post)

Analysis:

Web 2.0 and the New Conservative Revolution (GOPUSA.com)

National News:

Obama's 'war against churches and charities' (OneNewsNow.com)

When the American Tax Payer Becomes a Nuissance (GetLiberty.org)

Video:

Taxpayers Kicked Out Of Capitol During Tax Debate — Iowa (YouTube.com/KCCI-TV)