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-“Hate Speech Is Not Protected By the First Amendment”-Really?

by Dr. D ~ April 21st, 2017

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Recently, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean tweeted that:

“Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment.”

Constitutional lawyer Emily Zanotti took exception to Dean in an interview. From The Blaze:

For Friday’s episode of “Pure Opelka,” host Mike Opelka invited constitutional lawyer Emily Zanotti to discuss how very wrong Dean is.

Mike asked Zanotti, “Is hate speech protected speech?”

She replied that it depends, although the left believe that anything they disagree with is hate speech. The truth is that “speech that incites violence or panic” is the only non-protected speech.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Howard Dean is not the first to make this assertion. I have read dozens of comments in the last year or so that ‘hate speech’ needed to be outlawed. But what exactly is ‘hate speech’?

Zanotti is correct when she contends that many on the left have a tendency to call anything that doesn’t measure up to their PC understanding as ‘hate speech.’ Increasingly this may include some traditional Christian teachings from the Bible.

In the UK street preachers have been arrested for ‘hate speech’ when they merely read certain passages from the Bible that condemned homosexuality. Now in Canada the parliament has voted to combat Islamophobia by identifying and eventually penalizing ‘hate speech’ that is in opposition to Muslims and Islam. In the UN a large number of nations support limiting speech and penalizing ‘blasphemy’ (Anything against Islam).

Fortunately in the USA we have a Constitution that protects speech and religious liberty. Unfortunately there are major political figures including quite a few judges who are now contending that free speech and the freedom of religion should be limited in the cause of  civil rights, particularly LGBT recognition and normalization.

Former President Obama and his administration in particular supported a limited understanding of religious liberty as merely ‘freedom to worship’ within the four walls of an official religious building. It will be interesting to see if that interpretation of the First Amendment continues to gain adherents and influence during the Trump years.

The new administration seems to be supporting a more traditional understanding of religious liberty. However, many of the major law schools training future lawyers and many of the judges appointed by President Obama may continue the march toward limiting the First Amendment- both free speech and religious liberty.                 *Top

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