Technically, as our Founding Fathers intended, we are all given the undeniable right to voice our thoughts and opinions freely without fear of scorn and/or ridicule derived from non-agreement.
He, and those who share this sentiment, couldnâ€™t be more wrong. As they see it, Chick-Fil-AÂ COO Dan Cathy is perfectly free to declare that supporters of marriage equality are shaking their fist at God and â€œinviting Godâ€™s judgment on our nation.” On this, theyâ€™re certainly correct â€“ he has every right to believe and to state publicly that those of us who favor equally recognizing the love and commitment of same-sex couples are literally provoking an all-powerful deity to cast some unspecified but vaguely threatening â€œjudgmentâ€ on our country. And the company is entirely within its rights to contribute millions of dollarsÂ to groups that oppose LGBT equality, such as the Marriage & Family Foundation, the National Christian Foundation, the Family Research Council, and Exodus International.
Where they go wrong is in assuming that the rest of us are notÂ free to speak out against Cathyâ€™s beliefs and the companyâ€™s financial support of these groups. And yes, this freedom does encompass â€œscorn and/or ridicule.â€ Never in our nationâ€™s history has the First Amendment been construed so narrowly that expressions of scorn and ridicule are inherently excluded from its protection, and we cannot legitimately expect that we will never be subjected to such scorn and ridicule by those who disagree with us. Freedom of speech encompasses even angry, uncivil, and mocking speech.
In failing to recognize that, Rocker and others are most emphatically not respecting our own â€œundeniable right to voice our thoughts and opinions freely.â€ To them, Cathy is free to depict us as being in opposition to a perfectly good God â€“ a â€œnon-agreementâ€ that itâ€™s apparently okay for us to have to fear, and which somehow does not constitute scorn by their estimation â€“ while those of us who disagree with him do not have the freedom to denounce his views and stand up for ourselves. Their concept of freedom, for Cathy, Chick-fil-A and themselves, requires eliminating our freedom. That is not what free speech means. It is not and cannot be freedom from criticism, because criticism â€“ whether itâ€™s claiming weâ€™re shaking our fist at God, or calling Dan Cathy a homophobic twit â€“ is itself free speech. And expecting us not to let Chick-fil-Aâ€™s beliefs and actions affect our own beliefs and actions means literally telling us what to think, say and do.
Thanks to this pervasive misunderstanding, supporters of Chick-fil-A have deceived themselves into thinking theyâ€™re on some righteous crusade in defense of fundamental rights. They arenâ€™t. The rights of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, anti-gay groups, and bigots in general were never at risk and never in question, because criticism and boycotts do nothing to prevent them from exercising their rights. But they do not have a right to our silence.Â They do not have a right to our agreement. And they do not have a right to our money. Those who pretend their patronage of Chick-fil-A does anything to protect freedom are cynically using an apparently noble cause as a cover for the less palatable act of consciously choosing to support a business thatâ€™s openly and unapologetically hostile to human equality.
Image: David BadashÂ
Zinnia Jones is an atheist activist, writer, and video bloggerÂ focusing on LGBTQ rights and religious belief. Originally fromÂ Chicago, she’s currently living in Florida with her partner HeatherÂ and their two children.
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‘Boldly Ignorant’ Ted Cruz Slammed by Retired NYPD Detective for His Suggestions to Protect Kids
Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Katie Phang Show,” a retired NYPD detective expressed disgust with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) over his attempts to dismiss the idea of new gun laws to protect children in schools and instead is insisting America needs to turn schools into fortresses.
In interviews and appearing at the NRA convention this weekend in Houston, Cruz has vociferously disregarded the easy availability of high-powered weapons and instead focused on a door that was left open at the elementary school where the shooting occurred.
After host Phang shared a clip of the Texas Republican making his case, she asked former law enforcement detective Marq Claxton his thoughts on what Cruz was proposing.
Calling the controversial senator “boldly ignorant,” he proceeded to rip Cruz’s proposal apart.
“Marq, I was a prosecutor for half my career, I never prosecuted somebody for leaving a door open. How absurd is this proposal by Ted Cruz that the solution is to make sure that we don’t have too many doors at our schools?” host Phang asked.
“Ted Cruz’s statements were boldly ignorant and dismissive of the clear obvious danger that is faced by so many people in society because of the prevalence of violence and gun violence in particular,” he replied. “It really shows just how so many political electeds lack the fortitude to move forward and do the right thing: save lives.”
“Instead of sloganeering, Mr. Cruz and his other elected colleagues really should be working on legislation that provides, or minimizes the risk of damage, and could quite possibly and probably save lives,” he continued. “That is some additional gun restrictions, some background checks, there are other things that are out there that will undoubtedly be effective and save lives, and prevent these gun violence deaths.”
Watch the segment below or at this link.
‘Taking Us All for Fools’: Critics Decimate Greg Abbott’s Claims and Defense of His Actions in Wake of School Shooting
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement’s widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being “misled.”
“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott declared, blaming others for his “recitation of what people in that room told me.”
“I was misled … the information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. And I’m absolutely livid about that” — Greg Abbott on his initial false statement portraying Uvalde first responders as heroes pic.twitter.com/dUIdxnicjm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 27, 2022
Critics aren’t buying his claims.
Abbott, who’s in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.
“Let’s be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all,” Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan noted.
“No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.
“The answers fell pretty flat,” opined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers “stood outside and did nothing,” which was 47 minutes.
Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying “unbelievable.”
Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: “Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn’t have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system.”
Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott’s remarks.
“No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children,” Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott’s announcement an anonymous donor is putting up $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.
Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it’s been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:
.@GregAbbott_TX responding to a question on long rifles “it seems like only in the past decade or two we have had school shootings.” Governor, the assault weapons ban ended in 2004. See the connection? You have actively helped to sell millions of weapons since then.
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) May 27, 2022
And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic “killing machines.”
“The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you’re talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn’t have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then. He can easily make a distinction and say, ‘you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here’s an assault-style rifle.'”
“If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he’s taking us all for fools.”
‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns
The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.
Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”
That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”
“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.
“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”
Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.
“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.
“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt your press conference… you have to do something” pic.twitter.com/OiRI1OQZWQ
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 27, 2022
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