Category Archives: First Amendment

FIRE’s yearly Hall of Shame: the 10 worst colleges for free speech

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has issued their booby prize for the ten worst colleges for free speech of the year. (The prize is for 2020 but reflects what happened in previous year.) Click on the screenshot below to go the article. What bothered me, but didn’t really surprise me, is that […]

Supreme court set to further erode the First-Amendment wall between church and state

In the past few years, federal courts have continued a slow erosion of the church-state wall specified by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, often ruling that religious symbols or monuments can remain on public land, or be flaunted by government agencies, because they’re not really religious but simply part of our “tradition.” Now […]

Federal appeals court ruling endangers First Amendment

A new article in The Atlantic by Garrett Epps, writer and legal scholar (he teaches law at the University of Baltimore), describes what both he and I see as a very legal serious challenge to the First Amendment’s free speech provision. Click on the screenshot to read about it. I can state the facts in […]

Truman State rejects student clubs for no good reason, violating First Amendment

I once visited Truman State University (it’s in Kirksville, Missouri—Truman’s state) as a guest of Taner Edis, physicist, atheist, and anti-creationist. It was a pleasant visit, and Taner surely couldn’t have played a role in the latest shenanigans at This school, recounted in the article from FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) that […]

Penn students deplatform former ICE director

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, an event involving acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan was canceled after Penn students disrupted the proceedings. The discussion, scheduled to involve several people (see below) was sponsored by Perry World House, self-described as “a center for scholarly inquiry, teaching, research, […]

Two UConn students arrested for shouting racial slurs, violating a Connecticut “anti-ridicule” law

This piece in the New York Times reports that two University of Connecticut students were arrested, apparently by campus police, after shouting racial slurs outside a university dormitory. They were charged with violating a state law that prohibits ridiculing individuals based on “creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race” (see below) Here’s the video, which […]

Christianity infests the State Department, violating the First Amendment

Newsweek and HuffPo report that this was the the U.S. Department of State’s homepage yesterday: I checked a few minutes ago, and the homepage entry has been changed to this: HuffPo reports this: The U.S. State Department’s main homepage was updated on Monday to show a photo of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the […]

Pinker on free speech and academic freedom

Here’s a short Big Think talk by Steve Pinker, much demonized by the success-hating Pharyngula crowd as well as those who make their living by prognosticating the demise and degradation of humanity or our lack of social progress. Here Steve advances the well-known arguments for both free speech and academic freedom, which is simply free […]

National television networks refuse to air First-Amendment commercial featuring JFK

A news release from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) tells us that while this FFRF commercial featuring John F. Kennedy was played three years ago on the ABC television network, it was rejected by ABC for airing during the Democratic debates in Houston tomorrow.  This was after ABC refused a much more provocative ad, […]

More First-Amendment shenanigans: Federal court rules that a Christian cross on a county emblem is not religious

In late June, the Supreme Court made a portentously bad decision, ruling that the “Bladensburg Cross”, a giant cross on public land in Maryland, did not violate the First Amendment’s stipulation of freedom of (and from) religion. (The vote was lopsided: 7-2.) The reasons was the usual one: that by merely existing for a long […]