Atheists are a Protected Class! But a Religion?

The First Amendment of the Constitution is an interesting paragraph. It begins with “Congress shall make no law…”

When teaching Communication Ethics, my classes discuss a lot of examples of what is and is not a violation of the Amendment. We speak about what restriction on free speech a state university or college can make and what restrictions private college can make.

The University of Missouri, for example, has a “Speaker’s Circle,” a centrally located cement “stump” that is open for anyone to say anything about everything. Of course there are some restrictions for this and other true public venues. 

If the speech creates and “clear and present danger;” if it consists of “fighting words” that may create immediate violence; or, if the language can be found in a court of law to be slander or libel.  There are also limits concerning obscenity, or conflict with government interests.

My class talks about University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who made some very public comments concerning the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Churchill was accused saying that the United States deserved to be attacked because how our government treats Muslims.

Read more: Atheists are a Protected Class

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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