Monday, December 07, 2015

Hate Speech Isn't Free Speech

I am all about Free Speech; I have opinions, boy oh boy, do I have opinions, and I like the idea that I can share them, here, in the blog-o-sphere, as well as in the real world. And, yes, I even like opinions that differ from mine because I think that sparks discussion, which sparks learning and, can, spark change.

But there’s a thin line between Free Speech and Hate Speech; and Hate Speech isn’t free … it costs. It costs someone part of his-or herself; it costs people their self-respect; it costs people their sanity; and, it can cost people their lives.

On the heels of last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, last week Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late religious right leader Jerry Falwell Sr., while giving the convocation at the Christian school, urged his students to carry weapons on campus:
“It just blows my mind that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control. If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now … Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know, [but] I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in ….”
The rest of that sentence was drowned out by loud cheering from the Christians students though Falwell was heard saying, “and killed them.” Yes, he urged his students, his Christian students, to get a gun, carry a gun, and use a gun to kill Muslims. Yup, a man of God urging people to murder, not terrorists, mind you, but people of a different faith because ... here we go again:

Muslims aren't terrorists; terrorists.

Now, he might say he meant “kill Muslims” when they attack us, but what happens when just one of his flock decides he doesn’t want to wait until the Muslims attack and he, or she, goes on a shooting spree because Jerry Falwell, Jr. urged it?

And Falwell went on:
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course. Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”
And naturally, as his remarks went viral, Falwell tried to back-step, saying that when he referred to “those Muslims,” he was referring to Islamic terrorists, but that’s not what he said; 
“[If] more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in … 
And then he said if given the chance to say it again, he’d say the exact same thing.

Kill. Muslims. Falwell said his comments have generated the most positive comments he has ever received for remarks made during convocation, but I wonder how the 15 to 20 Muslim students — and yes, some Muslims do attend Liberty University — feel about his remarks.

Hate Speech; it’s not free if it costs someone their dignity, their soul, their life. And if even one Muslim student, or one Muslim American, is harmed or killed by someone who listened to Jerry Falwell Jr. and his Hate Speech masked as Free Speech masked as convocation, I would hope that the government steps in and arrest him for aiding and abetting a murderer because that’s what his kind of speech can do.

And he’s not the only one …

On the heels of that terrorist attack in San Bernardino — now believed to have been carried out by radicalized adherents to ISIS ideology — the spread of anti-Muslim Hate Speech is on the rise, from the son of evangelists, and university presidents, to a man who would like to, one day, be the President of the United States.
Last week, former New York governor, and long, long, shot for the GOP presidential nomination, George Pataki, used Twitter to spread hate:

Yes, he’s actually calling for the murder of Muslims. And he aimed his comments at Attorney General Loretta Lynch because she has angered so many of the right, the Christian right, the Republican right, the fear-mongering right, by saying that we need to remain calm in these tense times:
 “I think it’s important, however, that as we again talk about the importance of free speech we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America they are not who were they are not what we do and they will be prosecuted.”
And she’s right; Free speech is free ... but it costs when it turns to Hate. It can costs lives, and well, in my mind, George Pataki should be arrested and charged with accessory to murder should there be any anti-Muslim deaths in this country. He’s asking for it; he’s telling us to do it.

Kill. Muslims. And we’ve seen, in Texas, as I posted last week, anti-Muslim vandalism by these so-called Americans, so it’s not much of a stretch to think that some gun-nut, made all the more paranoid by the right’s rhetoric about the Muslim community, might take matters into their own hands and start shooting.

You have a governor and a so-called man of God telling them to do it. But maybe, just maybe, these two men will be arrested and called out for what they say, what they advocate, what they urge.

United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch has vows that the department of Justice will go after Hate Speech — like Pataki, who dared Lynch to arrest him, and Falwell — that might incite violence against the Muslim community:
“Obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when that edges towards violence…we will take action.”
Since 9/11, the Department of Justice has investigated more than 11,000 acts of anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country; hate speech. Unfortunately, just 45 of those cases were prosecuted, though Lynch sadly thinks that number will rise.

Farhana Khera, Director of Muslim Advocates, along with 46 other religious groups, including the Presbyterian and American Baptist churches, sent a letter in September to the Republican National Committee [RNC] and the Democratic National Committee [DNC] expressing concerns over the “divisive rhetoric being used by some presidential candidates.”

Only the DNC responded to that letter.

And Khera says that inflammatory anti-Muslim language on the campaign trail has persisted; especially with Donald [t] Rump, who advocated a national registry for Muslims — so we can watch “them” — and claimed that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated after the September 11 attacks.

It’s Hate Speech, y’all, from the pulpit to the campaign trail, and the people on the right, the politicians and the RNC refuse to even acknowledge it, because fear is what motivates their base.

Fear and Hate; not Free Speech
George Pataki story via Addicting Info
Jerry Falwell, Jr. story via Washington Post
Loretta Lynch story via ABCNews


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

This is really scary stuff. And it is absolutely hate speech that can trigger some moron to go out and start killing people simply because they are Muslims. And there certainly are enough paranoid, Rambo-minded, trigger-happy morons out there.

I am a new follower of your blog. I'm already liking it very much!

Jennifer said...

Disgusting and terrifying. Those people should be put in prison where they can't continue to do harm.

Master Markus said...

In Canada, we have a law against hate speech. I'm sure some Americans would get up in arms about such a thing because "free speech", but really, I think people like this should be punished. You can't just say something like "kill those Muslims" and get off scot-free.

the dogs' mother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anne marie in philly said...

these so-called "xstains" conveniently forget the commandment "thou shalt not kill". I see no exceptions for muslims there. sick bastards all.

Bob Slatten said...

@Plowing Through Life (Martha)
Thanks for the comments and welcome!
I hope you like it here!

Helen Lashbrook said...

Sadly those who would divide us on religious beleifs are on the rise everywhere. The Beeb reported the rise in Far Right hate groups in the UK and in France the Front National has been surging in the polls after the attacks in Paris.

And we will be back in a world where we all attempt to kill one another because you don't agree 100% with me. Does that give you the right to shoot me, or vice versa?

Mitchell is Moving said...

Thank you for this! Living someplace where hate speech is not readily tolerated is refreshing.