Category Archives: First Amendment

Campus disinvitations: where do they come from?

The Heterodox Academy (HA) has two posts (here and here) analyzing speaker disinvitations (attempted vs. successful), as well as mild versus substantial attempts to disrupt the speaker (the former allows the speaker to give the talk, though interrupting it; the latter brings the talk to a premature close). The analysis, based on FIRE’s disinvitation database […]

Free speech: what we’re up against

This comment appeared in the remarks following my letter to the Chicago Maroon (our student newspaper) asking the paper to take a stand on free speech. Nearly all of the comments were pro-free speech, which is good, but this one stood out in contrast: Becker’s link at the end is to the faculty letter opposing Bannon’s […]

Michigan town will sell houses only to good churchgoing Christians

The Guardian recently had a piece on the extraordinary town of Bay View, Michigan, which is located here: It’s a lovely, leafy town, full of big and expensive houses that look like this: The bizarre aspect of this town, unique in America so far as I know, is that only Christians who have a certificate […]

Louisiana public school sued for extreme and repeated Christian proselytizing of students

When I travel and talk about evolution, say in India, I’m sometimes asked about the teaching of creationism in American public schools. When I reply that it’s illegal, but some schools do it anyway, people are incredulous. In India, for example, I’ve never heard of public schools dragging creationism into a science class. When I’m […]

A new survey on Americans’ views of free speech gives mixed results

I’ve known about this survey on free speech for a while, but was told not to divulge the details until it was published. Well, it still hasn’t come out yet, but since Conor Friedersdorf published some of its results in The Atlantic (“American’s many divides over free speech“), these are now in the public domain. […]

Bisexual student threatened by a University of Texas official after saying he said he didn’t have a “high opinion of Islam” because he’d be killed in some Muslim countries

This report comes from the Volokh Conspiracy site at the Washington Post, which got it from Gay Star News. The quote below, from the WaPo, includes links where you can hear the audio recording and read the transcript that documents the incident. In short, Alfred MacDonald, a bisexual philosophy student at the University of Texas […]

The FFRF wins a big one: federal court rules that ministers’ tax-free housing allowances violate the Constitution

You may know that American ministers have some tax advantages under the law: they often get a housing allowance from their church, and that allowance, in contrast to non-ministers who get such perks, is free from taxes.  Here’s the stipulation from the Internal Revenue Service code: A licensed, commissioned, or ordained minister may be able […]

President of William and Mary responds after BLM disruption of ACLU talk; promises no more fracases

As I reported on October 5, the students of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization at The College of William and Mary, my undergraduate alma mater, shut down a talk by Clair Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. Ironically, the topic of her talk was “Students and the First Amendment.” […]

Black Lives Matter protestors shut down ACLU “free speech” lecture at William and Mary

The title of this post sounds ironic, doesn’t it? But not if you share Black Lives Matter’s (BLM’s) view—and that of other Regressive Leftists—that offensive speech isn’t protected free speech and that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a hate group because it defends the civil liberties of white supremacists, Nazis, and other bigots.  This […]

Who should decide what speech is acceptable? P. Z. Myers appoints himself.

Over many decades, the United States court system has come up with an interpretation of the Constitution’s First Amendment that protects people from harassment and physical attack without deep-sixing the important right to express your opinion without censorship. Here’s that amendment again, just for review: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, […]