Freedom of speech does not include threats of violence.
Pretty sure that was covered in middle school civics class 101.
So when a Tennessee county commissioner posts on his Facebook page a picture of a man looking down the sights of a shotgun with the caption “How to wink at a Muslim,” that’s not only in extremely poor taste, but can — and should — be interpreted as a hate crime.
But Tennesseeans will have none of it. In fact, members of a large mob in Manchester, Tenn., took it as an infringement on their constitutional rights to be called on the carpet for anti-Islam comments.
Protestor Tim Cummings of Nashville said he is OK with Islam until it begins infringing on his own First Amendment rights, which, to him, include being able to post anti-Islamist threats such as that by the Tennessee mayor.
Messages on placards among the 1,000 protestors read “Keep Calm and Eat Pork,” and “‘Obolish’ communism,” and “Protect the Constitution.”
Protestors took advantage of what was to be an inter-faith discussion sponsored last week by the American Muslim Advisory Council. But no such discussion was allowed because of the disruptive nature of the protestors who overwhelmed the council’s guests, Bill Killian, a U.S. attorney for eastern Tennessee, and FBI agent Kenneth Moore. The two Civil Rights experts were asked to address how hate crimes violate protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution.
Instead, the mob led incessant rounds of booing drowning out the speakers, who after two hours ultimately gave up their messages of peace. Seems the protestors resent being lectured on the Constitution, even more so than being instructed on what being a Christian means.
THE ROOT of the protests is fear of change, that somehow Muslims will adversely affect one’s way of life.
The same line of thinking applies to those against marriage between homosexuals, that, somehow, their lifestyle will impinge on theirs.
This all calls for more discussion, more airing of beliefs, more putting ourselves in others’ shoes. To our credit, the United States is an increasingly homogenous society. To keep our eye on the goal, we must welcome other faiths and other lifestyles — with confidence.
— Susan Lynn
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