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Sliding down the slippery slope of speech sanctions

Posted: May 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

Pastor Hegg’s column published in The Signal May 11, “We don’t have to think alike,” beautifully states my own concerns about the current situations when what people say is being used to destroy them financially and socially.

In discussing with friends the recent downfall of Donald Sterling for his supposedly private conversation with his girlfriend, I was amazed to hear them agree that what someone says should be punished.

Really! Of course, my friends did not think that if they said something reprehensible, they should lose their homes, or their jobs, or their life savings.

But somehow when it happens to a rich or famous person — well then, they deserve it.

Not too long ago Paula Deen basically lost her entire business due to a report that she had used the “N” word almost 30 years ago (a word that we cannot now even spell out in print).

This when she did not act with prejudice toward people of color, and also when this word was as common as sweet tea in the Southern culture she lived in.

She was punished for what she said, not what she did.
I do not agree with what Donald Sterling said, nor do I approve of people using derogatory speech against people of different races, religions, sexual orientation, physical or mental disabilities — the list could go on forever.

However, speech without action must be protected.

We are heading down a dangerous path in our nation with these actions against people for what they say.
It is one thing for individuals to show their disdain by not associating with someone whose speech they disapprove of, or not buying a product that person sells.

It is quite another when legal action is taken to strip a person of his or her property, levy huge fines on the individual and impose lifelong sanctions on that person.

Freedom of speech is one of the most sacred and precious rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

We are seeing, in these actions against Donald Sterling a severe attack on his constitutional rights.

Who will be next? Where is this going? Will we all someday be afraid to speak because someone may be recording our most private moments and using them to attack us at a later date?

We are at the top of a slippery slope into a tyranny that could destroy everything our nation has stood for.

As Pastor Hegg stated so well, “without freedom of speech America will cease to be special, a shining light on the hill of civilization.”

 

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