The First Amendment does not say “except” or “unless”. In fact it exists specifically to protect peaceful assembly and controversial and offensive speech from governmental intrusion.
After school, on a public (key word there, public) sidewalk next to the Downington STEM Academy in PA, Christian teen siblings Lauren and Connor Haines held signs protesting abortion, including one with a picture of a dead aborted baby, while peacefully discussing the issue with passersby. Their assistant principal Dr. Zach Ruff came out harassing, threatening and cussing them, while using his large girth to stand in front and impede viewing of their message.
The school authority’s message: “You can go to hell where they are, too. They’re not children. They’re cells. … I’m as gay as the day is long and twice as sunny. I don’t give a f*** what Jesus tells me about what I should and should not be doing. … You do not have my permission to speak and engage. You are harassing public school students, and I will call the police if you don’t shut up.”
Full 18-minute video:
During his assault on the First Amendment, the self-described “twice as sunny” principal (under PA law) assaulted Connor too, by getting within inches of his face and trying to rip a sign from him. That’s not all. Following the assistant principal’s pathetic example of bullying and threats, other students and parents (!) engaged in mob-scale harassment by sending Connor, Lauren and their families hundreds of messages, some profane.
These are the tactics of oppressors and anti-freedom mobs, folks: herd-mentality threats, intimidation, and authoritarian bullying.
Fortunately, this time, by eliciting legal aid from legal-defense nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom (one I am proud to support tangibly), the good guys courageously prevailed over hateful authoritarian bullies. Ultimately the school had to apologize and acknowledge the violated First Amendment freedoms of Lauren and Connor, the vice principal was suspended, then resigned, and Lauren and Connor are free as they should be to exercise their free-expressive rights on public property.
Unfortunately it doesn’t end there. This is but a microcosm of public-school and college incidents of First Amendment violation all across the nation, hundreds of them and adding up yearly. With his PhD and “educational” background, Ruff very well could get a job elsewhere around students, where the same bigoted anti-Christian bullying can begin anew. And he’s far, far, far from the only one with that mentality. Protectors of freedom must be vigilant and call out the destroyers of freedom at every turn in this era of hate and intolerance of peaceful dissent.
You see, freedom is our greatest earthly gift and is God-ordained. Support and protect it, even when people freely express things that bother or offend you. No question, I wholly endorse and approve of Connor and Lauren’s message, and defend their right to say it. Even as an open and unapologetic social and fiscal conservative, I also am a governmental libertarian to the core, and defend the right of those peacefully expressing messages I don’t approve, to do so in the public arena…yes, even left-wing messages! Freedom is for all, not just liberals, conservatives or “moderates” (whatever that is…seems everybody from far left to far right thinks he/she is a moderate). This includes artistic freedom from the vicious viceroys of political correctness.
I fully am using my freedom of expression to post this…and folks, it has been happening for decades and is not going to stop. I have my ideals, opinions, and biases as well. I absolutely do preferentially post instances of left-wing violations of freedom, in large part to counter the intense bias of most mass media against the right, and against Christians. So be it. As long as I breathe, and as long as the left violates others’ rights (anymore, a given) there’s plenty more where this came from. Deal with it.
Don’t like my expressions of free speech, or others’? Ignore it, or argue non-violently. Don’t weaponize authority to squash others’ God-given and Constitutionally codified right to free expression! If you do, expect a well-earned backlash in support of freedom, and expect to lose — ideologically for starters, and in court if necessary.
Want to fight ideas you disapprove? Use facts, reason, logic, and levelheaded, rational counter-argument. Never threats, intimidation, bullying, or violence! And yes, that applies from the President (hardly a role model here) right on down to some spiteful vice principal, and ultimately, you and me.