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The New Anti-Blasphemy Laws:

Debra Saunders, an S.F. Chronicle columnist, writes:

This story starts with an "anti-terrorism rally" held last October on campus by the College Republicans. To emphasize their point, students stomped on Hezbollah and Hamas flags. According to the college paper, the Golden Gate (X)Press, members of Students Against War and the International Socialist Organization showed up to call the Republicans "racists," while the president of the General Union of Palestinian Students accused the Repubs of spreading false information about Muslims.

In November, the Associated Students board passed a unanimous resolution, which the (X)Press reported, denounced the California Republicans for "hateful religious intolerance" and criticized those who "pre-meditated the stomping of the flags knowing it would offend some people and possibly incite violence."

Now you know that there are students who are opposed to desecrating flags on campus — that is, if the flags represent terrorist organizations....

As to the disciplinary action contemplated by SFSU, and FIRE's reaction to it:
The university's response [to FIRE]? Spokesperson Ellen Griffin told me, "The university stands behind this process."

And: "I don't believe the complaint is about the desecration of the flag. I believe that the complaint is the desecration of Allah." ...

Sounds to me like SFSU is acknowledging that under SFSU rules, desecrating Allah — or, to be precise, desecrating religious symbols — is indeed prohibited. Everything old (here, blasphemy bans) is new again.

CJColucci:
So wouldn't a threshhold problem in this case be proving the existence of Allah?
2.8.2007 5:22pm
Kovarsky (mail):
This suggests the idea expressed was more anti-rule than anti-allah. In other words, the students were expressing the idea that they could say whatever they want, not that Islam sucks.
2.8.2007 5:32pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I feel obligated to point out that there are valid objections to Hamas and Hezbollah that have nothing to do with race or religion.

Should be obvious, but...
2.8.2007 5:38pm
JosephSlater (mail):
For the record, I would oppose any disciplinary action being taken against these students.

But also, am I correct in reading EV's posts that all that has happened at this stage is that the University has received a complaint and is reviewing it? In other words, there hasn't been any discipline yet, right?
2.8.2007 5:43pm
Jimmy S:
So, if we don't like seeing the US flag desecrated, all we have to do is replace the fifty stars in the top-left corner with the words "Allahu Akhbar", and that'll be the end of flag-burning?

--Jim
2.8.2007 5:43pm
KeithK (mail):
But also, am I correct in reading EV's posts that all that has happened at this stage is that the University has received a complaint and is reviewing it? In other words, there hasn't been any discipline yet, right?

Hopefully that is the case. But you';d think that a University, regardless of process, would immediately dismiss a complaint that essentially alleges blasmephy, even if the superficial claim was about "insensitiity". But knowing academia and San Francisco it's unlikely that this is the case.

To be honest, an academeic institution should automatically dismiss any formal complaint alleging insensitivity too. Maybe issue a statement condemning it, but not contemplate official disciplinary action in response. But we all know that's not the case in this day and age.
2.8.2007 5:48pm
BobNSF (mail):
Now, I don't know for sure, since I wasn't there, but there appears to be good reason for Ms. Saunders choosing to refer to the event in dispute as an "anti-terrorism rally" in quotes.

You gotta love YouTube:

one bit


another bit
2.8.2007 5:54pm
BobNSF (mail):
2.8.2007 6:00pm
HeScreams (mail):
JosephSlater:

If you read the Debra Saunders column, she says that a) 'the Associated Students board Passed a unanimous resolution, which ... denouced the California Republicans for "hateful religious intolerance" and criticized those who "pre-meditated the stomping of the flags knowing it would offend some people and possibly incite violence."' and b) 'the student panel could [later] decide to issue a warning to, suspend or expel the GOP club from campus'

So, while there hasn't been any discipline, there has been "denouncing"; and the same group of people who did the denouncing reserve the right to take further action. Given the denouncement, they seem inclined to do it.
2.8.2007 6:01pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Too funny. Are they going to ask their brothers back in Palestine to stop burning American and Israeli flags? That hurts my feelings.

It would be a sadder world without Muslims. I thought I'd had my laugh for the week when the Iranians complained that one of their diplomats had been kidnapped.
2.8.2007 6:23pm
Beem:
As of now, I don't see how this equates to "New Anti-Blasphemy Laws," since the only thing the protesters seem have suffered is a denouncement by the student union, which is in and of itself another form of free speech. If there were additional disciplinary actions then that might change the situation, but right now that seems to be jumping the gun.
2.8.2007 6:24pm
ROA:
Does this mean the teaching of evolution is unacceptable at San Francisco State?
2.8.2007 6:30pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
The investigation has been "concluded," according to SFSU; now the matter is being sent to the Student Organization Hearing Panel for review" and "possible disciplinary proceedings."

We're clearly not just talking about possible further resolutions expressing the Student Union's views; this is a formal school proceeding that may lead to formal school discipline. Indeed, no discipline has been implemented yet. But what would we think if SFSU had sent into "possible disciplinary proceedings" a complaint that someone was expressing anti-American views (e.g., stepping on an American flag) or anti-Administration views (e.g., stepping on a picture of President Bush)? I take it that we'd recognize that even having a "Hearing Panel" look into the results of an "investigation" that might lead to "possible disciplinary proceedings" would be improper -- the university should have just dropped the complaint, on First Amendment and academic freedom grounds. Likewise here. How free is speech about religion going to be at SFSU if students know that when they say religiously offensive things that are alleged to create a "hostile environment" or to be "incivil," they can be haled in front of a "Hearing Panel" with the prospect of "possible disciplinary proceedings"?
2.8.2007 6:37pm
MnZ (mail):

But what would we think if SFSU had sent into "possible disciplinary proceedings" a complaint that someone was expressing anti-American views (e.g., stepping on an American flag) or anti-Administration views (e.g., stepping on a picture of President Bush)?


Don't we already know the answer to this? It would be denounced as the "crushing of dissent," "a threat to our freedoms," "creeping fascism," and so on.
2.8.2007 6:49pm
Well Armed Koward:
The fact is, the whack jobs who have largely taken ooft departments in public universities are mostly left-over socialists from the 60's (some of 'em are my former pals). The real problem however, is that having once gotten traction, the "collegial" nature of the (feudal) universities virtually assures these barbaric sub-intellectuals will generationally poison the ferment of ideas professed to be the core competency ofcampuses. Nonsensical, money-wasting "grievance departments" that promote whining and pissing as academic accomplishment is prima facie the calibration of the proliferation of these "intellectual" sewer-rats. This current anti-constitutional arrogance is likewise proof that the thought-gestapo is alive, well and as vicious as ever, right here at you local state-sponsored school. I hope FIRE will do the right thing and haul the vermin behind this garbage into court. Apparently the gang of 88 is a franchise, not a localized event.

It's one thing when it is a private university devoted to the study of loons. It's another when these totalitarian parasites are living out of my pocket.

God damn it, I think I just chipped a tooth.
2.8.2007 7:13pm
PersonFromPorlock:

How free is speech about religion going to be at SFSU if students know that when they say religiously offensive things that are alleged to create a "hostile environment" or to be "incivil," they can be haled in front of a "Hearing Panel" with the prospect of "possible disciplinary proceedings"?

EV, the reason 'utilitarian' defenses of freedom like yours fail is because every true believer knows that once you have The Truth, freedom is only an occasion for error.
2.8.2007 7:23pm
Michael B (mail):
"As for the students who want to punish the College Repubs, they might want to consider how their actions reflect on SFSU. A university is supposed to be a place of learning and a forum made more vibrant by the free exchange of ideas, but this exercise makes SFSU look like a playground where bullies rule." Debra Saunders

Anti-Islamicist protests and avowals by College Republicans. It's racism. Case closed. Decry these College Republicans, these insensitive louts!

Anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Christian, etc. avowals and protests by the Left, by Left/Dems and Dems. Chin pullers of the world, unite! The Left's Righteousness™ itself is the cause! Progress! Hooray, hoorah!

Hezbollah fires rockets upon Israeli civilian populations from southern Lebanon. Hamas first rockets upon Israeli civilian populations from Gaza. A Hamas suicide bomber strikes in Eilat. Chin pullers of the world deploy to Starbucks™, order a cinnamon dolce latte™, consider what movie to attend (perhaps that one about Rwanda, maybe Babel, with Brad Pitt - he's hot!), decry Bush after movie, are refreshed, are born again with a newfound zeal to save the world, or at least to decry Bush again. This process is repeated until The Left's Righteousness™ is fully restored.
2.8.2007 7:30pm
The Drill SGT (mail):
Beyond the obvious 1st Amend issues, how does this issue survive a separation of church/state argument? A public school imposing religious desecration standards?

BTW: though I admire the balls of the Young GOP kids in the video, they don't know how to display the American Flag in a vertical position. Though it may look better the way they hung it, the US flag always has the Blue star field in the upper left.
2.8.2007 7:50pm
Henri LeCompte (mail):
It is a never-ending source of amusement for me to watch the Left tie itself in knots over these silly "issues." The fact of the matter is that far too many enlightened progressives in this country have attitudes that are straight out of the Archie Bunker/George Wallace mindset.

Why can't people see that hatred and demonization are not somehow redeemed just because you just direct your hatred at white, Christian, heterosexual males?

Just amazing! Progressives arm in arm with Muslims-- who would stone homosexuals, enslave women, and enforce by the sword a religious dogma straight out of the Middle Ages. This is a pristine example of the special kind of blindness that occurs when ideology replaces common sense. (Actually... I may be being too kind to call it an ideology.)

In order to get Lefty "progressives" to embrace Southern Cracker culture, all you had to do was put a turban on it!! Who knew?
2.8.2007 7:51pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
Is the school going to discipline them, or is it just denunciation from a school group? Is that wrong? I mean,
people and groups denounce flag-burners all the time.
2.8.2007 8:24pm
Hattio (mail):
I don't by any means agree that the College Republicans should be disciplined. But from the two videos, I have to say that it appears the whole point of the "anti-terrorism rally" was to get up on a stage and rail against the liberals that they knew would come out protesting. Based on that, I do have to agree that the point of stepping on the Hamas and Hezbollah flags was to offend people. Once again, I think they have every right to do step on the flags, even if it is offensive. But, I do have to swallow bile as I defend their right to be offensive pricks.
2.8.2007 8:27pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
On another topic...

Why were the CR's so cheap as to use paper representations of flags.

When we burned Viet Cong and DRVN flags back in the early '70s, we used cloth flags. Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) had them manufactured for the purpose. Helped contribute to the economy.
2.8.2007 8:28pm
Where's the ACLU? Nowhere:
What a shock. I mean, what a surprise. It turns out that the First Amendment does not mean white Republicans.

Burn the US flag, and there they are.
Stomp some other flag, cannot seem to care.

Insult Christ and Christians by displays of a cross in urine, ACLU is there to defend the "artist".
Insult Allah and Muslims, and they are nowhere to be found.
2.8.2007 8:29pm
BobNSF (mail):
Clearly the school should remove the unconstitutional provisions in its rules.

Then it should pull the car over and give both sides a good talking to, "fascists" and "communists" alike.

In loco parentis, indeed.
2.8.2007 8:35pm
Sean M:
I'm not sure "Where's the ACLU" is being quite fair. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is just as good, if not better, at protecting students' rights in these sorts of cases, and it often works with the ACLU. Indeed, I'm pretty sure the attorneys on its network overlap with ACLU-minded or supporting folk.

So with FIRE on the case, I see no real reason the ACLU would feel a need to jump in.
2.8.2007 8:47pm
MaGa (mail):
Boys will be boys.
2.8.2007 9:25pm
Elliot Reed:
Also, for all we know nobody has asked the ACLU for help.
2.8.2007 9:44pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
How quickly people forget. For example, the ACLU recently helped a bunch of Christians arrested for protesting at a gay-pride parade.
2.8.2007 9:54pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Whether the ACLU is asked in or not, it had better gets its butt in on the side of the Republicans, or every time in the future it whines that free expression has been 'chilled,' the actual believers in free speech will use their silence at SFSU to tee off on them.
2.8.2007 10:42pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
As a person who was a teenager during the 60's and witness to the left wing rallies against University professors and University administrators. Fighting as outsiders against the fascist evil republicans and conservatives who ran things. It seems to me to be quite ironic that today its the College Republicans that are the minority fighting as outsiders against the fascist evil democrats and socialists/communists who run things.

Back in the 60's if you told the unwashed hippies at a sit in that some of their grand children would be the minority outsiders railing against the socialist/communist administrators and teachers who held the reigns of power and that these grand children of theirs would be known as the college republicans do you think they would have believed you??

Says the "Dog"
2.8.2007 10:48pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
The videos were quite enjoyable, thanks for posting the link. If you noticed, there were only about 20 people protesting the Republicans' event. That is typical: in my experience, and even at the politically active campuses, most students belong to the great apathetic majority.

I have been practicing law in SF for almost 20 years, and clerked in the US DC in San Francisco. I find it hard to believe that anything will happen to these students.
But, if SFSU does anything to these students for stepping on the Hamas and Hezbollah flags, I am more than happy to offer my services pro bono to FIRE and the other attorneys already representing them. This case would be easy: I know several of the SF federal and superior court judges, and think any case would be a slam dunk for the flag-steppers. Here, the video makes it clear that this conduct is political speech.
2.8.2007 11:31pm
rc:
Why are they not screeching about terrorist organizations putting 'Allah' on their flags in the first place? Isn't that worthy of condemnation? Since terrorism and Islam are completely separate and not linked in any way?
2.8.2007 11:32pm
Lev:
It's a good thing they did not stomp on a Greenpeace flag that had "global warming" written on it.
2.8.2007 11:34pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
It seems wrong to "fight" this issue from the safety of S.F. if it means putting American soldiers in increased danger.

And make no mistake: Muslim grievance mongers are already using this event to stir up anti-American hatred. They're spinning it as if the CRs were aware burning the flags would be an insult to Islam. Just like how they forged additional Danish cartoons to get bigger riots.

We need to win in Iraq before we can afford to take them on.
2.9.2007 12:07am
Michael B (mail):
The ACLU has defended some of the First Amendment rights of a variety of groups, some neo-nazis for example and yes, even Christians as well. However, the First Amendment rights the ACLU has defended, for Christians, has been selective. (Read, and comprehend, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.) But yes, the ACLU has defended Christians qua citizens expressing their right to protest, which reflects one important aspect of the First Amendment.

On the other hand. Here, for example, is Joe Cook, Louisiana chapter director of the ACLU:

"They [Christians] have always crossed the line of separation of church and government. They believe they answer to a higher power, in my opinion ... which is the kind of thinking you had with the people who flew airplanes in the buildings in this country."

Telling, that. But Mr. Cook fails to tell us what his own "higher power" or driving incentive is. At times the ideal being expressed by ACLU protagonists is a type of multicultural leveling, which is to say that the Supreme Value is that all other values/beliefs are to be regarded as equal, while only the "supreme value," the one which posits all other values to be equal, is higher than or above other values - the grand inquisitional power deemed to be worthy of judging all other values/beliefs. Perhaps not so philosophically, but before the coercive force of the law such is the socio-cultural and juridical interest of the ACLU, and long has been.
2.9.2007 12:08am
Beem:
This dispute doesn't seem to be as much about the GOP club's freedom of speech as it is about their right to funded and recognized by Student Union. Any person or group has the right to say or do whatever they want as free speech, but they don't - as far as I can see - have a right to force people to pay them for that experience. I seriously doubt this will come to anything in the end, but ultimately if the GOP club wants $$$ and recognition from the official student body, then it has to play the game by their rules. If the club doesn't care about $$$ or recognition however, then it can stomp on all the flags it wants to! That's my analysis, at least.
2.9.2007 1:27am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Instead of just wringing hands about this sort of thing and using it as an excuse to blame the imagined monolithic left surely there must be some organization that defends free speech in these sorts of cases that accepts donations.

I realize that many people here would be loath to donate to the ACLU and while I do think they are on balance very positive I wouldn't mind seeing another organization with the same goals and a conservative slant sharing the burden of defending our liberties.

So is their an organization with a conservative slant that goes to court in these sorts of cases? If so maybe it would be useful to post a link along with these depressing stories. If not this sounds like a disappointing failing of the libertarian right. If you don't like the ACLU shouldn't someone set up an alternative so you don't have to rely on them to protect your liberties?
2.9.2007 4:18am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Also on the subject of the university the article didn't sound to me like the university was taking a stand against the college republicans or free speech. Rather, it sounded like the university was trying to cover their ass and avoid making any political statements.

As I understand it the 'process' has not decided whether or not the students are to be punished. Thus the universities statement that they 'stand by the process' is about as revealing as when you ask some political official whether he thinks so and so should get the death penalty and they say 'I trust in our court system,' another words a fancy way of saying 'no comment.'

Probably the university just doesn't want to look like they are approving of the college republican's conduct or unsympathetic to racial/religious slurs so are making a show of conducting an investigation. Their investigation will 'discover' that the students were merely exercising their free speech rights and the university avoids too much criticism from either side.

Having been a college student involved in some disciplinary/investigatory processes while I was a student it's disturbing that the university is going to cause the students involved the stress of being under investigation but until they determine they are going to punish them don't assume they will.
2.9.2007 4:34am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
HeScreams,

The associated student board is just the student government. At least at UC Berkeley the fact that they passed a resolution means about as much as learning that the 'Tree Huggers for Self Promotion' passed a resolution. Everyone knows these resolutions mean nothing (I was in the graduate assembly for a year and it just isn't worth fighting resolutions no one reads or cares about). Unless the associated students actually vote to cut off funding for the group they are just whining in a formal fashion and it has no necessary relation to the general student viewpoint.
2.9.2007 4:44am
Blasphemer:
What will San Francisco State do when someone tramples on a banner that says: "God requires gays to be put to death"?
2.9.2007 7:52am
The Drill SGT (mail):
I think under the rules they are using that this is allowed


What will San Francisco State do when someone tramples on a banner that says: "Jesus requires gays to be put to death"?


and this verboten:


What will San Francisco State do when someone tramples on a banner that says: "Allah requires gays to be put to death"?
2.9.2007 8:08am
MnZ (mail):

I seriously doubt this will come to anything in the end, but ultimately if the GOP club wants $$$ and recognition from the official student body, then it has to play the game by their rules. If the club doesn't care about $$$ or recognition however, then it can stomp on all the flags it wants to! That's my analysis, at least.


Of course, by that logic, any group that burns an US flag should also have their funding cut. I seriously doubt that SFSU would do that. SFSU is a public institution so it must be consistent about the speech it allows. If U.S. flag burning is OK, then all flag burning must be OK.
2.9.2007 9:38am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> if the GOP club wants $$$ and recognition from the official student body

We wouldn't be hearing that argument if the organization in question had PC positions.

If SFSU is typical, those $$$ were not volunteered, but are collected as a condition of enrollment. And SFSU is a public institution.
2.9.2007 9:54am
Charlie Eldred (mail):
If someone stomps on a U.K. or Danish flag, is that a desecration of the flag or a desecration of Christ, who's primary symbol (a cross) appears on those flags?
2.9.2007 10:15am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
I bet no one would stomp on this flag.
2.9.2007 10:28am
Houston Lawyer:
Daryl

Using your logic, we should certainly outlaw gay marriage, because it offends the Muslims at least as much as stepping on Allah's name. Apparently, we shouldn't let women drive either.
2.9.2007 10:42am
ed o:
but, of course, right wing censorship is just as egregious as left wing.
2.9.2007 11:00am
Frank J. (mail) (www):
Shouldn't Muslim anger be directed at Hamas and Hezbollah for desecrating the name of Allah by putting His name on the flag of their terrorist organizations?
2.9.2007 11:04am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
ed o,

What precisely is the purpose of identifying an instance of censorship by its ideology, especially when most people here are an agreement that a state school is equally wrong to prohibit the stomping of a Hizbollah flag, a Christian symbol, or to otherwise prohibit students from engaging in expressive political conduct?

This isn't a rhetorical question. I would genuinely like for you to explain further the purpose of your comment.
2.9.2007 11:20am
ed o:
why should Muslim anger be directed at the standard bearers for the religion. they are at war with the West, not Hamas or Hezbollah.
2.9.2007 11:21am
AF:
I don't think the College Republicans should be disciplined.

However, I disagree with Professor Volokh that this is a "clear" constitutional violation. Public universities are allowed to treat student groups as limited public fora. Board of Regents v. Southworth, 529 U.S. 217, 234 (2000); Rosenberger v. Rector &Visitors of the Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819, 829 (1995). They can't discriminate on the basis of viewpoint, but they can impose viewpoint-neutral rules for student groups that are more restrictive than what is allowed in a traditional public forum like a public square.

For example, a school can probably ban Klu Klux Klan or Al Qaeda student groups, even though those groups have the First Amendment right to peacefully express their views in other fora.

The question then becomes whether this discipline is viewpoint discrimination. Perhaps it is, but we don't have enough information to make that determination. For example, there's no evidence that Muslim groups were allowed to deface Jewish or Christian symbols.
2.9.2007 11:21am
A law unto himself:
Frank:

Your point is well made for a Western audience, but there is no differentiation between state and religion in Islamic theology. Hamas IS Islamic.

David
2.9.2007 11:39am
ed o:
we had a recent thread holding right wing censorship was as prevalent as left wing, despite the rampant examples of this campus political correctness run amok. why not identify the ideology-what purpose is served by not indicating the left wing lunacy of college campuses, where shouting someone down is first amendment protected, even if violence is involved, but something like this is met with sanctions.
2.9.2007 11:44am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Ed,

Either your sarcasm emitter, or my sarcasm detector, is set too low. It took me a while, from your previous post, to see what you were getting at.

Taking what you wrote at face value, I assumed that you were merely shifting focus away from this particular case by arguing that this phenomenon (of censorship) is not restricted to one ideology or another.

So - well - nevermind. :)
2.9.2007 11:50am
whit:
i have no problem with that board (or any group of people) condemning, criticizing, or mounting a counter protest. that is just as valid as the protest itself (in terms of free speech).

but if they try to PUNISH the students or prohibit this valid political protest, they would run afoul of the 1st, not to mention FIRE would hopefully take up the case.

i don't see where there is any mention of any students being punished by the school, but some people are inferring that.
2.9.2007 11:51am
Harry Eagar (mail):
logic, there are rightwing or conservative organizations that defend individual rights.

Although not a conservative myself, one I admire is the Becket Fund, although it has a restricted set of criteria for the cases it takes and would not get involved in an SFSU-type dispute, I don't think.

I don't know that Becket would describe itself as 'conservative.' It is more a 19th century Liberal (big L) group. It has defended the rights of santeria practitioners to sacrifice chickens. Also, it defends Jews, something most truly rightwing groups would not do.

There are more conventionally rightwing groups that file suits. One that comes to mind is the American Institute of Law and Justice. They are Christian bigots, though, and not, in my opinion, really interested in liberty for all.
2.9.2007 11:53am
MnZ (mail):

The question then becomes whether this discipline is viewpoint discrimination. Perhaps it is, but we don't have enough information to make that determination. For example, there's no evidence that Muslim groups were allowed to deface Jewish or Christian symbols.


I suppose that SFSU could have a general ban against flag desecration (including the US flag). I suppose they could also have a ban against religious symbol desecration (which would ban some modern art and desecration of the UK and Israeli flag).

However, I really doubt it.
2.9.2007 11:57am
whit:
FIRE (www.FIRE.org) is an organization that as a matter of statistics supports right wing free speech issues moreso than leftwing ones. i would hesitate to say the org is right-wing. the reality on campus is that the majority of control is among those on the left, and the majority of speech rights violations are by the leftleaning agaisnt the right-leaning

many leftists want to claim that rightwingers suppressing free speech is more common. that is absurd, and certainly not on college campuses.

fire.org has archives of scores of cases.

where is the archive for all the cases of leftwingers having their rights trampled? and throwing a pie at Anne Coulter is not a free speech right i might add.
2.9.2007 11:57am
AF:
MnZ, you may be right. My pointt was just that they can do this as long as they're consistent so this isn't an open and shut case.
2.9.2007 12:10pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
whit, FIRE's mission is not a right wing one. I once had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Lukianoff for about an hour, and he does not identify himself as a conservative at all.FIRE goes after speech codes and other restrictions regardless of ideology. It just so happens, that campus hegemony is leftist, and that's the stream down which the shit runs.

I say this because I feel your disclaimer - that FIRE is "statistically conservative" - is unnecessary. FIRE is staffed and presided over by people of a few political stripes.

/I, unfortunately, had to decline my offer to summer for FIRE, but I can't wait to do my 30 hours of pro bono them.
2.9.2007 12:12pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
sorry, that should read "a few different political stripes."
2.9.2007 12:13pm
MaGa (mail):
Drill Sgt,

Jesus would never ever have had someone put to death for being gay.
2.9.2007 1:03pm
Hattio (mail):
MaGa,
Does your bible include the Old Testament?
2.9.2007 1:15pm
Al (mail):
>>Also, it defends Jews, something most truly rightwing groups would not do.

Harry, I think you may have a different definition of "truly rightwing" than many people.
2.9.2007 1:40pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Ditto Al. Harry, don't equate "right-winger" with "bigot."
2.9.2007 1:43pm
Yankev (mail):
AF


For example, there's no evidence that Muslim groups were allowed to deface Jewish or Christian symbols.


An Israeli flag was allowed to be trampled. This flag contains the Star of David, which is generally recognized as a symbol of the Jewish relgion and people (though I hasten to add that it has NO sacred status in the Jewish religion).
2.9.2007 1:48pm
Orielbean (mail):
Hattio, does your copy of the Old Testament include Jesus' teachings?
2.9.2007 2:05pm
Hattio (mail):
No, but most Christian theology says that God was made flesh and dwelt among us...IOW, Jesus is God, and the God of the Old Testament who believed in stoning gays was the God of the New Testament, and that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Don't get me wrong...I'm not exactly a Christian and so have no dog in this fight. But, unless you believe in Jesus as being a separate entity (not just a manifestation) MaGa's claim doesn't hold much water.
2.9.2007 2:31pm
wooga:
Hattio/MaGa:
This is close to threadjacking, but Jesus 'clarified/abrogated/superceded' (or whatever term is appropriate) the Old Testament (depending on your view, this either an acknowledgment of the errors of man writing the Old Test, a change in God, or a change in the circumstances). So Hattio's 2:31 post is off - Jesus is still the same God as the Old testament, and God doesn't change, but Old Testament law is no longer binding. However, MaGa's 1:03 post runs too close to the "Jesus was a hippie" fallacy. Jesus condemned a lot of behavior, and many of the "judge not" quotes are taken out of context and ignore that Jesus was not some free-love swinger.
2.9.2007 3:01pm
wooga:
when I said "no longer binding" I meant "no longer completely binding on all points." The OT was not thrown out the window.
2.9.2007 3:03pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
Houston Lawyer:

Using your logic, we should certainly outlaw gay marriage, because it offends the Muslims at least as much as stepping on Allah's name. Apparently, we shouldn't let women drive either.

Any good idea becomes a bad idea if you take it too far.

For one, gay marriage (and gay sex) amongst infidels doesn't bother them as much as the idea that we're disrespecting Allah.

And even if the two are equally offensive, so what? The freedom at stake with regard to gay marriage is much higher than with regard to desecrating symbols of Allah.

Further, I'm not saying it should be outlawed, just that we shouldn't exercise our right.

It's probably Constitutionally permissible for gays to make out on the sidewalk in front of a mosque. I think patriotic gay people shouldn't try to exercise or enforce that particular right if that would mean major upset in the Muslim world. I'm not saying they should permanently give it up, just that they shouldn't push the issue at this time.

They can go make out somewhere else. We can protest against HAMAS and Hizb'allah in other ways. For instance, I didn't say, "we should give in to HAMAS and Hizb'allah in order to help our war effort"--that would be loony, even though our positions there are also a source of anti-American hatred.
2.9.2007 3:31pm
Hattio (mail):
But just because Jesus changed the law didn't mean that the Old Testament was not the law at one time.

If Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, then he ordered those engaging in homosexual acts stone and therefore the statement;


Jesus would never ever have had someone put to death for being gay.


Is not true. The fact that he later changed the punishment doesn't change the fact that the former punishment was specifically to put someone to death for being gay. It just means thats no longer the punishment going forward.

And I suppose you can argue that the punishment was for engaging in homosexual acts not just being gay. It's technically true that there was no punishment for being gay, just for acting on that.
2.9.2007 3:31pm
AF:
Yankev, it's interesting that you bring up the incident where an Israeli flag was trampled. According to a letter written by the president of SFSU at the time, disciplinary proceedings were brought against the student. So this actually supports the conclusion that the university applies its policies in a non-viewpoint-discriminatory way.
2.9.2007 3:43pm
Steve Reuland (www):
"But also, am I correct in reading EV's posts that all that has happened at this stage is that the University has received a complaint and is reviewing it? In other words, there hasn't been any discipline yet, right?"

Yes, that's correct. As I posted in the other thread, the university is required to investigate all complaints they receive and remand those not settled informally by the concerned parties to the SOHP. That's all that's happened so far. Any talk about the College Republicans being disciplined for having run afoul of "hate speech codes", which don't exist in this case, is sheer nonsense.
2.9.2007 3:59pm
Steve Reuland (www):
"So, while there hasn't been any discipline, there has been "denouncing"; and the same group of people who did the denouncing reserve the right to take further action."

Not so. The Associated Students board, whatever that is, does not have any authority to impose disciplinary action. That ability rests squarely with the Student Organization Hearing Panel (SOHP), which consists of both students and faculty. Apparently they have yet to hold their hearing.
2.9.2007 4:09pm
Steve Reuland (www):
Eugene writes:

"I take it that we'd recognize that even having a "Hearing Panel" look into the results of an "investigation" that might lead to "possible disciplinary proceedings" would be improper -- the university should have just dropped the complaint, on First Amendment and academic freedom grounds. Likewise here."

The university's policy unfortunately does not allow for this to happen. The policy quite clearly states that all cases are to be investigated, and there is no mechanism for dismissing a complaint before it's been adjudicated by the SOHP. (Unless the waring parties agree to drop it.)

Back in grad school, I did a stint as president of the Honor Council, and I can tell you how this works. Every year we'd end up with all sorts of frivolous complaints that we'd have to waste time investigating, and every year when the university-wide council would meet, we'd discuss various ways of changing the process so as to stop these frivolous complaints from being considered. And every year we'd end up with the exact same policy we started with. We simply couldn't figure out a way to reject frivolous cases without jeapordizing potentially legitimate ones, and in the end we figured it was better to put up with dumb cases than it was to accidentally overlook some that were meaningful. We did at least have a preliminary hearing process, but that was a five member panel just like the SOHP. It seems that the SFSU policy could be amended somehow to make it better, but it's not always a simple matter.
2.9.2007 4:24pm
Yankev (mail):
AF

It appears that you are correct. My recollection of the incident was based on a widely circulated email at that time, accusing SFSU of doing nothing about threats and physical intimidation, as well as the flag trampling. Newspaper accounts (which,as we know, are often erroneous) suggest that the university did indeed institute disciplinary proceedings.

There is one huge difference, of course. In the Hillel case, counterdemonstrators charged the demonstration and took away a flag that belonged to the demonstrators. In the College Republicans case, the demonstrators trampled banners that they had brought with them. Does anyone think that Serrano's supposed work of art would have enjoyed 1st Amendment protection if he had grabbed a cross from around the neck of a nun and dunked it into a beaker of urine?
2.9.2007 4:25pm
The Drill SGT (mail):

MaGa (mail):
Drill Sgt,

Jesus would never ever have had someone put to death for being gay.

MaGa,

I take no direct position on what Jesus would have done or not done to gays.

My point was that SFSU seems willing to punish someone that steps on a banner that contains the word Allah, but would likely not take the same position with a banner containing the word Jesus. In introduction of the Gay issue was designed to heighten the SFSU level of hypocrisy.
2.9.2007 7:52pm
whit:
mike, i totally agree with your point, even if that wasn't clear in my post.

if one accepts that the VAST majority of campus censorship occurs against rightwingers, by leftwingers, then that clearly explains why most of FIRE's cases are of the beleagured rightwinger. i accept that premise. it is clear to me from my personal experience on campus, as well as the "#'s"
2.10.2007 3:25pm
whit:
"The freedom at stake with regard to gay marriage is much higher than with regard to desecrating symbols of Allah. "

really? on what basis? i am not saying i am against legal gay marriage.

but the argument that the right to desecrate the symbols of allah is not higher, is suspect to me.

let's remember, the framers placed the first amendment FIRST, for a very good reason.

and it is among (if not THE) higher/more important right.
2.10.2007 3:29pm