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1st amendment revised…. No Jesus in Christmas but burn baby burn the American flag.

December 14, 2016

flag3The first amendment to our nations constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” but apparently many people think the mention of the name of Jesus or quotes from the bible is more offensive than their right to burn the American flag.

Apparently the school board in Killeen Texas did not think they should honor the 1st amendment when a staff member at Patterson Middle School decorated a door with an image of Linus from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the text from his speech about the meaning of Christmas: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord… That’s what Christmas is all about,” because the board voted to remove it.

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On the bright side Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter and apologize to the staff member who put it up. Paxton cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing students and teachers to express their First Amendment rights of free speech. “Rest assured that, should you comply with the law, my office will gladly exercise its discretion under Section 11.151(e) of the Texas Education Code to represent Killeen ISD in any frivolous litigation that might be filed to inhibit the religious expression and diversity of Killeen’s educational community,” Paxton wrote in his letter.

On the other side of the coin protesters at American university in Washington were burning American flags. Camille Lepre, a spokeswoman from American University, issued a written statement, “About 200 students convened this afternoon in a protest to express their reactions to the presidential election outcome. The university supported the free expression of views on all sides of the political spectrum.”
One student was heard to remark, “This is a representation of America! We are going down in flames!”

Some students challenged the protesters, telling them that their words and actions amounted to hate speech. One person tried to grab a burning flag to try to put out the flames, and people were shouting at one another. At one point, some students began chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” and protesters — holding yellow signs that said, “Black Lives Matter.”

 

I have to ask
how can the display of words from the bible
be more offensive than the burning of our nations flag?

How can one be protected by the 1st amendment and the other not?

Or more to the point how could this dichotomy
be rationalized by those who defend it?

Shouldn’t freedom of speech
be equal for everyone?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. tcriggs permalink
    December 14, 2016 8:20 pm

    If I recall, the right to burn the American flag, in protest (or fly it upside down) was awarded because Vietnam veterans were using the tactics to bring attention to the fact that they had been kicked to the side after returning home… but the details are fuzzy, so I will stop there. (basically, it was a veteran initiated right)

    That being said… We can’t really group the people in Washington with the people in Texas… these are 2 separate events, separate groups of people. If it were the same school, the same group of people, contradicting themselves… then I agree with you. However, if we continue down the road of over-generalizing what is perceived as ‘them’ situations… it’s just not conducive to healthy debate or discussion.

    Thank you for your point of view. And, as I said, in spirit I agree with you… these are two ridiculous situations. But they are not the same. For the kids burning the American flag… well, they ‘do’ have that right, thanks to the veterans that challenged it. I doubt they understand or appreciate why they have that right. And the school… it’s a public school. We had this debate in the late 70’s and early 80’s and neither side would compromise. So, prayer, and thus any mention of religion was slowly removed. However, that isn’t even the whole story… religious groups hold meetings on campuses, prayer vigils are held in public places. Besides that, how would many conservatives feel if other religions started decorating their doors with similar pictures and words? Do you think they would be okay with it? Because your question is valid, but it is an all-or-nothing deal.

    Do you think it would work? (I personally would like it to…)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. December 15, 2016 1:10 am

    I too, lodged a protest at my daughter’s private school; the ‘xmas story’ laid out in a hallway as a religious sermon. I don’t mind religion being taught as part of a ‘general history/ anthropology agenda – the study of man, but that’s it. No missionaries.

    Flag burning! What’s the big deal? It’s just a piece of cloth, not a measure for patriotism. Every generation finds something to burn (burning man, weed, flags, Mr Harding). Vibrant democracy allows people to vent their displeasure and concerns peacefully, without injure to property and others while doing so. God bless America.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tcriggs permalink
      December 15, 2016 12:59 pm

      Hi Lex,

      There’s a subtle difference there, isn’t there, in expressing yourself and imposing yourself? I don’t really agree with the tendency (since G.W. years) for us to engage in dialogue about what happens between sovereign individuals (and gov’t entities) in other states or even in other school districts. It muddies the waters, so to speak, and emboldens and encourages self-righteous attitudes.

      That being said, I was taught that it was presumptuous to assume that you ‘know’ anyone that you see (or hear about) for 5 minutes on TV, or in the store for that matter. It isn’t our place to pass judgment.

      When did our faith in other people become so eroded that we don’t trust the people in control, in that school, or that college, to handle the situation?

      What are we doing when we weigh in on these things? Are we making things better, or worse?

      Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful Pete is posting these stories. Because it gives us an opportunity to talk about it on a level, and (relatively) safe, playing field. The reality is that we need to find out what we ‘really’ think in this information age… and testing boundaries is a good thing sometimes… but this year alone… I think we have found that fence, and possibly broken a few. Time to get mending. ;-)

      *Thanks Pete for posting this! :-)

      Like

  3. December 15, 2016 7:30 am

    As usual, well written in terms of perspective, Pete! I support neither the burning of our flag or the ludicrous situation which has arisen regarding Christianity based displays in our schools. However, I will grit my teeth and look the other way when someone does choose to ‘express’ themselves by burning our country’s symbol. I have about had it with the hypocrisy regarding Christian displays in/around schools versus those of other religions While I believe any religion should be able to display their objects and beliefs around schools I also believe any laws affecting this must be applied equally across the board.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. December 22, 2016 4:47 am

    Hey Pete. As usual, I enjoyed reading your point of view. That said, I think this is an “apples and oranges” situation – comparison of a staff member (this is an important point) putting a display of Christian faith in a public school is not a 1st Amendment issue. These questions have been asked and answered several times in our country and, at its core, I believe that nobody would be happy for our government (or any of its representatives, including staff members at public schools) to push or sanction one religious point of view over another. If this had been a student display, then I would agree with you – 1st Amendment applies, but only if student of differing faiths are also allowed to post displays of their beliefs. In my opinion, a great failing of our public educational system has been the lack of instruction about the great faiths of the world (even those you or I might disagree with). As far as flag burning, I am a veteran and, while I would never burn a flag, I fully support the idea that flag burning is protected speech under the 1st Amendment. Using symbols and protests to express differing points of view are essential elements of our great republic. Do we want our government telling us that we can’t peaceably protest?

    Like

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