The world we leave our children -Reply
rduncan at UNLINFO.UNL.EDU
Thu Oct 9 11:41:19 PDT 1997
Jim Henderson writes:
> (1) An unattended display is not speech, unless an attended display also is
Agreed. Attended or unattended, a cross is speech.
> (2) An unattended display does not speak a different message than an
> attended display.
Hmmm. Generally I agree, but an unattended cross sends a different
message than a cross attended by several men dressed in Klan sheets.
> (3) If the concern is that the fact of "unattendedness" communicates
> "approval" of the message, there is another way beside silencing the speaker,
> to correct that misunderstanding. Visit any popular national park, or nearly
> every airport terminal in the United States, and you will see the
> "disclaimer" sign posted by government functionaries. The disclaimer advises
> the public that one consequence of having a Constitution with a First and a
> Fourteenth Amendment is that some folks will actually seek to communicate
> their views in public places. The disclaimer further advises the public that
> it should draw no conclusion regarding the endorsement of such speech by the
> involved government body.
I wasn't calling for the suppression of speech. But I think it is
reasonable for the government to say "we don't want the courthouse
lawn to be littered with anybody's and everybody's unattended
displays." It is better to completely close a forum than to
selectively close it to exclude, say, only religious displays.
Rick Duncan (rduncan at unlinfo.unl.edu)
"So if I stand let me stand on the promise that You will pull me
through, And if I can't let me fall on the grace that first brought me
to You, If I sing let me sing for the joy that has born in me these
songs, But if I weep let it be as a man who is longing for his Home."
--Rich Mullins (October 21, 1955-September 19, 1997)
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