Hindus and Baptists
kcolby at CLSNET.ORG
Fri Oct 22 14:50:51 PDT 1999
Isn't this the issue addressed in Cantwell v. Connecticut? Mr Cantwell, a
Jehovahs Witness, stopped two men, who were Catholics, on the street (of a
town in which the population was 90% Catholic) to play records with strong
anti-Catholic content. "Both were incensed by the contents of the record
and were tempted to strike Cantwell unless he went away." 310 U.S. at 303.
Government officials arrested Mr. Cantwell for inciting others to
breach of the peace, and the trial court convicted him on that charge.
The Supreme Court reversed, saying the government officials had violated
Mr. Cantwell's free exercise of religion and freedom of expression. The
"The people of this nation have ordained in the light of history, that,
in spite of the probability of excesses and abuses, these liberties [to
persuade others to one's religious or politicals views] are, in the long
view, essential to enlightened opinion and right conduct on the part of the
citizens of a democracy." 310 U.S. at 310.
Is Cantwell wrongly decided?
Senior Legal Counsel
Center for Law and Religious Freedom
Christian Legal Society
From: JMHACLJ at AOL.COM <JMHACLJ at AOL.COM>
To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu <RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu>
Date: Friday, October 22, 1999 12:22 PM
Subject: Re: Hindus and Baptists
><<Are there circumstances in which religious speech such as this would rise
>to the level of fighting words? Many religious groups seem to target other
>religions for conversion during big festivals and events. Will Esser Law
>1. The focus on fighting words is the fault of the Court in the first
>instance. Why not focus on "fighting audition?" Why not punish -- instead
>of intemperate, unkind, truly harsh, horrific speech -- those auditors of
>expression who lack the judgmental maturity to refrain from responding in
>kind? Does it ask to much that people live out the children's adage,
>and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."
>2. How about expanding the scope of that newly reinvigorated speech
>suppression method to reach the truly mean taunts of pro-abortion and
>pro-isogender activists "racists, sexists, anti-gays, born again bigots go
>away"? Perhaps all the supposed "violence" that attended Operation Rescue
>activities at abortion businesses in that movement's heyday resulted from
>"fighting words" taunts of those who opposed Operation Rescue.
>3. The very idea of subjecting religious speech that proselytizes by
>pointing to the perceived deficiencies of other religions to the bogus
>"fighting words" exception to the First Amendment should be treated as its
>own form of "fighting words," as an idea undeserving of protection.
>Jim "Down Boy, Down" Henderson
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