“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.”
This is, of course, the text of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Some people just don’t seem to understand the meaning of those very simple words.
On January 9, 2015, Megyn Kelly interviewed Catholic League President Bill Donohue. After the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris Donohue ignorantly said, “It is too bad that (Stephane Charbonnier, the editor) didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death … had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive.”
Donohue also described the cartoonists as “pornographers disguised as satirists”, and he said that “they may have a legal right to insult religion, but don’t have a moral right. Freedom of speech is not an end. It’s a means toward an end.”
Kelly, an attorney countered with reality. “No, it’s also an end.” She quoted the Hustler Magazine v. Falwell Supreme Court decision, which read, “The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself (i.e., an end) – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole (i.e., a means).”
Donohue has no excuse for his lack of understanding of the Constitution. He is an American sociologist and civil activist. He has been president of the Catholic League in the United States since 1993.
Pope Francis made similar foolish statements about the event. Of course, the Pope is from Latin America where nothing like our Constitution exists. He might be excused for his fallacious statements following the Paris attack. Given the lunacy of his statements, however, I don’t see why. The Pope said, it was wrong to provoke others by insulting their religion and that one could “expect” a reaction to such abuse (Reuters, 1/15/15).
So, according to both the Pope and Bill Donohue, it is expected that people be executed for disagreeable pictures and words.
I know that the First Amendment doesn’t impact the Pope and that it gives morons like Donohue the right to spout ignorance with impunity. As frustrating as this is, it is one of the foundations of this nation.
However, it would serve Donohue well to read the Constitution before providing further evidence of his lack of understanding. Maybe he can educate the Pope as well to assist him in moving closer to infallibility.