Free speech under fire (yet again) in Michigan

Dearborn governmental officials are trying to stop Anti-Islam minister Terry Jones from holding an anti-Islam Good Friday protest in this heavily-Muslim Detroit suburb.

Article here.

They’ve actually gone to court to block Jones’ protest. They’ve offered to let him protest if he posts a $100,000 bond.

Jones’ speech may be ugly, uncharitable, inflammatory and irresponsible, but the Bill of Rights’ guarantee of free speech does not exempt unpopular speech from First Amendment protection.

The court has already said that Nazis can march in Skokie, Illinois and that Fred Phelps can picket funerals from Topeka to Timbuktu. Presumably, if Nazis and Phelpses are protected by the First Amendment, Terry Jones is protected as well.

Meanwhile, Dearborn hasn’t tried to stop Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly from holding an anti-Terry Jones/Pro-Islam rally in their city. It went forward without a hitch.

Updated: April 22, 2011 — 9:31 am

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  1. This report reminds me of the ugly demonstrations against the Muslims in New York City. Many people spewed hateful and inflammatory words about Islam in reaction to the planned religious community center. Ironically, they used their first amendment right of free speech to demand that others be denied their first amendment right of free worship. Even a few elected officials urged the mob to obstruct the rights that the Constitution protects. And there was also the protest against a Muslim fundraiser in Orange County, California. Very similar case.

    Yet I can’t think of a single incident in this country’s recent history where an Islamic group provoked Christians to the same degree that these folks harrass Muslims. Nor can I remember any such agitators that were Jewish, or Hindu. (Atheists, yes.) Rev. Jones claims to hold the US Constitution in great regard, but I strongly suspect that his admiration of the rule of law is strictly situational.

    As for what Frank called the “anti-Terry Jones/Pro-Islam rally”, the coordinator said this to the crowd:
    “We come here today not as Christians, not as Muslims, not as Jews, but as Americans.”
    “We will protect his [Jones] right to speech with our blood and our life.”

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