Most of you probably remember Terry Jones. He is the preacher that burned the Qu'ran in Florida which angered radical Muslims who rioted and killed 21 people in retaliation.


A few weeks ago, he started trolling for more attention when he announced that he was going to protest outside of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn Michigan. Dearborn has a large Muslim community and the mosque is the largest in the United States so it is understandable why he chose that particular venue.


Dearborn officials were worried that his actions could start a riot. Additionally, there were other logistical concerns such as the roads leading to the mosque just weren't big enough for the amount of people expected to turn out to the event. Therefore, the prosecutor in the city filed a petition to prevent him from holding his demonstration. The city then told Jones that he could only hold his protest in one of the four designated free speech zones. I want to note that these free speech zones are not new. The city has had them in place long before Terry Jones came into the national spotlight.


They also required him to pay a $40,000 bond because they anticipated that his actions may cause an outbreak of violence or rioting. Jones refused to pay the bond and refused to hold his demonstration in the designated places. The officials then told him that he would be put in jail if he demonstrated outside of the mosque.


Well, fast forward to yesterday 4/23. Terry Jones is in jail because he attempted to stage a protest outside of the mosque. Jones is claiming that his free speech rights have been violated.


"You may not agree with what we've done," Jones said, addressing the court for the first time in his baritone preacher's voice Friday morning. Quick to defend his constitutional rights, he added, "This is, to a certain extent, a First Amendment issue ... and the First Amendment does us no good if it confines us to saying what popular opinion is."


And the ACLU wrote a brief agree with him:


The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a friend of the court brief. "If the First Amendment means anything, it means that the government cannot interfere in a person's free speech simply because it doesn't agree with the message or because someone else may not agree with the message," spokesperson Rana Elmir penned in the statement. "As reprehensible as his beliefs may be," Elmir added, "we believe this is an unconstitutional attempt to limit his unpopular speech."


You can read the article on Huffington Post.


The incident raises a couple of issues. First, I don't agree that Jones' right to free speech was impacted. As I understand the First Amendment you can say what you want. However, the government can limit where you say it especially if there is concern that your words could result in physical harm. The common example given is that you can't yell fire in a crowded movie theater because that could incite a panic where people get trampled to death.


The second issue that I think is even more interesting is actually something that has been brought up several times since the Qu'ran burning incident which is the reaction of the Muslim community to criticism of their religion. Why should the Dearborn government be afraid that the Muslim community is going to react violently to a protest of their religion?

I've never heard of riots in Dearborn before even after the Qu'ran burning incident. So I guess my question is are the Dearborn officials thinking of what happened overseas and thinking the same thing may happen in their city if Jones confronts them or is this an example of the Muslim community earning a reputation, perhaps undeserved, of being a religion that will cut the head off anyone who criticizes them?


Then the other thing is, is it really our responsibility to not offend them, or any other religion, out of fear of a violent reaction? Or is it their responsibility to not be offended or find a different way to express their unhappiness at the thing that offended them?



Views: 150

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Fear, this what this is about. Terry Jones is about manipulating fear, the Free Speech zones is about governments manipulation of fear, not offending someone is about fear. The only thing in the story that has merit on the city's side is the $40,000 bond because of the fear it could have been a very expensive day for the city and Terry is looking for that reaction.

I maybe cynical but there is no question that government knows how to use fear, it's their stock and trade.

The pastor has a congregation of about 30,  burn a Qu'ran, does his thing on Facebook and about 9000 start following him, has he thought it out? This is where my cynical tendencies come into play.

Now he will have another day in the headlines.

Have to protect his right of free speech, even if you find him disingenuous to keep our own.

I think a Government is well within its to block someone from going to a place where they think he might cause a stir(read riot). They didn't stop him from speaking his mind. The $40,000 bond was a tad extreme. If some damage did occur due to riots incited by his speech, they should've take punitive action after the fact.

Events are routinely required to foot the bill for extra security, medical staffing, clean up, etc,  and quite often have insurance relating to potential destruction of public and private property.  That's just good housekeeping, 'You break it you buy it'. 

Also, I don't really see how it can be a First Amendment issue (though I'm no US constitutional expert). Noone restricted his speech, just the location, and only slightly. In any event, religion belong in churches, not on the streets.

Btw, what exactly was he going to protest anyway? 


Michael Jackson's funeral required some exorbitant amount of money to be put up as bond.
Which begs the question: Why the hell bury something which ain't even gonna decompose? ;)

Have to protect his right of free speech, even if you find him disingenuous to keep our own.


That's fine but let's say for example he was shot and killed by Islamic religinuts; well you would have to say he had it coming, you play with fire and you get burned as with free speech comes respnsibilities. 


At the same time of course, the Islamic nuts who chopped off the heads of U.N workers are more to blame, but Pastor Jones does not get a free pass here.


Thus comes the question. Should we have an absolutist stance on free speech? That is, should we protect the free speech of all those hateful nutbags, even if it will knowingly incite hatred and violence?

Your example first: If Jones was killed by a muslim because of the insult the muslim perceived what makes the muslim more or less a religinut than Jones. Jones has to know that there is a danger involved in his action and his death could be a possible outcome.

Second: Islamic nut cases have more blame than xian nut cases? The xian nut case deserves a free pass? Neither party gets a pass.

Three: the thus the question, yes we should have an absolutist stand on free speech, it is allowed. If we can expect voilence then precauions should be exericed. The KKK and white extremists have had the protection of the police even when their speech was not welcome in the community.

I don't find Islamic nuts as scary as the christian nut jobs. As I stated in my first post, this is about fear, but a christian nut job in congress can effect my life more than any Islamic beheader.

I am not suggesting a limit on free speech. I'm saying that the attention seeking hate filled idiot pastor, who probably didn't get enough love as a child, does not get a free pass here.


He knew what he was doing, he intentionally went out of his way to stir up trouble.

One religion is not "worse" than another, they're always fundamentally flawed by hate and intolerance.


No. Some religions are worse than others. Islam's suppression of women, gays, apostates, is far worse than anything found in any religion today. There seems to be a myth that all religion is some kind of homogeneous whole, this is simply untrue. Just take one look at Jainism.



Slippery slope arguments are if not extremely weak then fallacious. You actually have to demonstrate that A leads necessarily to B, C, ...  Z.

I respectfully submit that he did accurately diagnose the fallacy, and adding an ad hom doesn't undo that.  Both fall outside the parameters set for posting guidelines.

It's hard to hear "free speech zones" and not think that the 1st Amendment is being used as toilet paper.


"Please exercise your Constitutional Rights in designated areas only"


Terry Jones may be a troll and a nut, but I'm with him (and the ACLU) on this one.  Sorry, the government doesn't GET to tell its people when and where they can have their rights.  Fuck that noise.


© 2018   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service