Every Idea is an Incitement
Brad M Pardee
bpardee at unlnotes.unl.edu
Fri Sep 2 08:23:58 PDT 2005
A couple of thoughts.
First, although a case can be made that the establishment prohibition
prevents the school from directing a person to give a religious address, I
was always under the impression that a commencement speaker is
representing their own views, not those of the school. For example, if the
person speaks out against the war in Iraq, it would not be understood as
the school district endorsing their views of the war, so there shouldn't
be an establishment violation if the person references religion, which
should similarly not be understood as the views of the school district.
Second, Marc's post that I was responding to referred to "the objection
and offense felt by person entitled to attend the ceremonies of which he
writes but who object to speakers using them as an occasion to promote
their religious beliefs". He didn't refer to an establishment violation
but rather "objection and offense". My observation was that people
attending commencement ceremonies are going to hear things to which they
object or take offense, yet nobody has suggested that objection or offense
is a basis for censoring any viewpoints other than religious ones.
Steven Jamar wrote on 09/02/2005 09:55:59 AM:
> On Sep 2, 2005, at 10:39 AM, Brad M Pardee wrote:
> > It seems to me, though, that there are going to be people who object
> > to the views of any commencement speaker who goes beyond Hallmark
> > greeting card platitudes. The person who strongly supports the war
> > in Iraq isn't likely to appreciate a speaker along the lines of a
> > Michael Moore. The person who strongly opposes the war in Iraq
> > isn't likely ot appreciate a speaker along the lines of President
> > Bush. Most commencement addresses that have any substance to them
> > in addressing contemporary issues are going to go against the views
> > of a measurable portion of those entitled to attend. Why is it that
> > only religious beliefs have to be censored to avoid objection and
> Maybe its because of the special status of religion in the
> constitution -- i.e., the prohibition of establishment?
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