JMHACLJ at AOL.COM
Sun Jun 7 00:22:05 PDT 1998
In a message dated 98-06-06 13:31:06 EDT, Stephen Jamar wrote:
<< On the finer questions - is the government required to ban religious speech
at graduation from a public school? No. Can it do so? Yes. >>
Well, under what rubric? Student as organ of school speaking in a school
production? Sort of an oratorical Hazelwood?
If the school district "bans religious speech" at graduation, isn't running
directly afowl of either the absolute prohibition on viewpoint discrimination,
or the near absolute prohibition on content discrimination?
My dad, then just returned from his second tour of duty in Vietnam (Marine
JAG), attended my older brother's graduation from high school. The class
valedictorian conducted a typically poorly thought out rant against American
policy toward Vietnam and included a smattering of group slanders against
soldiers such as my dad who had served rather than run. Should my dad have
been subjected to this snot nosed brat's abuse? Not among decent folk; could
the Constitution have withstood the damage of silencing the student?
Probably. Should the student have been silenced? No. The best antidote for
that particular brand of ill-informed and poorly formed reasoning was exposure
to it. More to the point, tolerating the silencing of that hothead would have
established the legitimacy of silencing others.
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