Comments about ‘Richard Davis: Those who oppose should be welcomed’

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Published: Wednesday, May 14 2014 5:20 p.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Great editorial. Everyone has the right of free speech. Whether or not I agree is completely irrelevant.

Burke, VA

On March 10, 2003, Dixie Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines, made a statement to an audience in England that said, "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."

The outcry from the right was monumental. On March 14 Maines apologized. "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect. ...I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American." But to no avail. Their CDs were smashed in public demonstrations and right leaning country music stations banned their music and the women of the group received hate mail, some of it physically threatening. Today the band is still loosely organized and plays at limited venues, but the band members have taken other avenues in recording music.

So this was a right wing outcry against a liberal position. What editorials were writen in favor the Dixie Chicks when this happened?

Far East USA, SC

"Rather than impose social or economic punishment on the holder of unpopular views, we should welcome them into public discourse."

Mr Davis appears to have at least one blinder on. I was surprised that he was apparently unable to find examples where those on the right attempted to "impose social or economic punishment on the holder of unpopular views"

When JC Penny hired Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, there were certainly calls for her to be removed from that position or face "economic punishment"

There are countless other examples.

And, I see nothing wrong with them. Isn't the free market system based on "economic punishment" and "economic reward" from consumers?

We are all free to speak our minds. But we are not free from the fallout in doing so.

Lets just be consistent.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

Mr. Davis writes as if the anti-SSM position is an equally valid position. He writes as if the consequences of the discriminatory beliefs about LGBTs are not -- discrimination.

Why, when we now have information that refutes all of the stereotypes, that makes baseless all the fears - why would we respect as equally valid beliefs that cause people injury? Do we give equal standing to other beliefs we now see as unjust and harmful? They still exist (e.g., white supremacy). People still have a right to express them. Do we give them equal standing in the public square? Is Mr. Davis saying we should?

I think those that believe their gods condemn homosexuality need to come to terms with the fact that society now regards this belief of theirs as immoral, unjust, and overdue for the scrap heap of history.

BTW, Mr. Davis, calling this a "political" belief is just trying to hide the ball. We all know the genesis of these odious beliefs is religion and that the anti-SSM position is overwhelmingly religious in nature. Let's call a spade a spade.

clearfield, UT

It has been said that the best way to counter bad speech is with more speech, not with censorship. Those who don't have a good counter to speech they disagree with are the ones who want speech codes on college campuses. Who would deny a woman like Condaleeza Rice a chance to speak at a college. Who want a fairness doctrine in the media, especially on talk radio, which would stifle a lot of conservative speech. In other words, a lot of this is coming from people who "consider" themselves to be open minded, tolerant, inclusive, diverse. In other words, liberal. Ironic isn't it.

Salt Lake City, UT

Good op-ed. We need greater tolerance for dissent and diversity. In the predominant religious culture here in Utah, too often different, valid lifestyle or political choices are viewed as deviations from gospel doctrine (e.g. tattoos, wearing sleeveless dresses, or aligning yourself with something other than the Republican party). And significant deviations from gospel doctrine in those areas are viewed as acceptable in light of cultural standards (e.g., our excess consumption of food, trashing the environment, exaltation of capitalism, and anti-federal government ranting). People need to appreciate more the strength that can come to our society by cultivating divergent views and the weakness that comes from encouraging lock step, uncritical thinking.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

“homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”

People are free to say what ever they want, but if it is discriminatory, stupid, or unsupported by facts they will rightly be pilloried by public opinion.

There has has to be a degree of proportionality, we don't have time to take seriously any crazy notion hat comes out of the mouth of David Benham.

Our country is open to the "marketpace of ideas" and if you have a radical idea, thats fine, but let's hear some proof!

Orem, UT

From the article: "This reaction is not for a slur of a group or individual, which would be understandable, but for articulation of a political opinion."

The problem is that all the free speech opponents out there try to equate every political opinion they don't agree with as a slur on a group or individual.

If you express any support for traditional marriage, then it must be because you hate gays. If you think abortion is wrong, then you must hate women. If you think that terrorism must be defeated, then you must hate Muslims. If you want us to protect our borders, then you must hate Hispanics. Etc., etc..

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

The left-wing will stop at nothing in its efforts to silence all who oppose it. This includes stripping opponents of employment, community safety, and even the pursuit of happiness.

The left would rather see parents put out of work and have their children go hungry than to allow dissenting voices to be heard. In the vision of the left, only one viewpoint has the right to be expressed.

I issue my strongest possible condemnation of those leftists who are seeking to destroy freedom of speech. Their disregard for the Constitution is nothing short of shameful

Burke, VA

John Charity Spring - I challenge you to provide documentation of the things you claim to be true. For the record, I consider myself to be a liberal in many ways, but not all of ways. I have never proposed stripping anyone of "employment, community safety, and even the pursuit of happiness" simply because I disagree with them I would not like to see anyone put out of work and especially not want anyone's children to go hungry. In fact, a true liberal agenda celebrates differences and always promotes the health and well being of all the citizens.

Unfortunately there are liberals and conservatives alike who suffer from low self esteem and are so consumed by their fears that they speak out against anyone who disagrees with their position an almost anything. Because of my religious beliefs I interpret that to be a lack of faith in a higher power. Without that faith, and the feelings of being loved that accompany it, people instead fear that with which they might disagree.

So I would challenge you John, to provide specific examples of what you claim.

Heber City, UT

Neither of the examples are free speech being restricted. They are examples of two employers (A&E and HGTV) imposing standards of conduct upon employees who are the faces of the company. I doubt it would be an issue for A&E's accountants to take a public stance.

The evidence is in the editorial: when A&E's bosses realized the comments wouldn't hurt revenue streams, they reversed course.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

@John Charity Spring

No one has taken "destroyed" the freedom of speech of either Phil Robertson or the Benham brothers. Do you know I can tell? Because they are just as free today to say what they did, they could say it today, tomorrow, the next day, a year from now. No one is putting them in jail. Their freedom of speech in still 100% intact.

However, they did say something that made many people angry and those people exercised their freedom of speech to protest. The corporations these people worked for decided to suspend the individual (in the case of Robertson) or cut ties with them (in the case of the Benham brothers). These companies are completely within their rights to do that if they so choose. If you want to be upset with anyone be upset with the companies, protest the companies decision, write letters to the companies complaining about their decision.

There are things I could say that my employer would be very upset about and might even cost me my job. I'm sure there are things you could say that would cost you your job. That isn't a limit on your freedom of speech though.

Murray, UT

Would a politician seeking to pass legislation that stripped the LDS church of benefits that are awarded to his own congretation be welcomed at BYU to express his certain beliefs that the Mormon church is a cult? Would Mr. Davis rush to the defense of such a figure because of his willingness to welcome dissent? If you don't see that happening, then a situation in which ignorant, libelous comments aren't roundly comdemned is just as likely to occur.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

I can relate --

Jesus was a long haired,
happy Liberal,
who gave away healthcare for free,
feed the multitudes without charging them,
hung out with Social outcasts,
forgave those who sinned,
told his follwers to give their wealth to the poor and have all things in common,
told his anti-Government distractors to just pipe down and pay their taxes.

Try saying that in Sunday School, in Utah,
and see if your still welcome to come to Church.

Liberal Today
Murray, UT

When homosexuals and atheists are censored in their speech by taking away their shows and their ability to earn a living it is called discrimination.

When so called 'Christians' are censored in their speech by taking away their shows and their ability to earn a living it is called payback and justice. It is time they learn their lesson.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

The usual left-wingers have been quick to criticize, and equally quick to ignore fact. For those who claim that the left doesn't use economic terrorism to silence its critics, we need only look at examples from Mozilla, ESPN, CBS, and this from H GTV to see the irrefutable truth.

It is completely dishonest to state that someone has freedom of speech when that someone's livelihood is taken away if they speak. The prisoners in the Soviet gulags had similar freedom.

If there is to be honest debate about same-sex marriage, there must be free and uninhibited dialogue. That is the issue here.

Eugene, OR

ECR makes an excellent point, and there are plenty of other examples. Amendment 3 gave same-sex couple absolutely no recourse to have their unions legally recognized. I don't recall the DN asking for tolerance then, but now that the shoe's on the other foot, we're suddenly supposed to compromise.

It's a bit late to complain about this now, guys.

And JCS? One man's "economic terrorism" is another's free market. What's your solution? The government forcing HGTV to hire those people back? So much for conservatism...

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

Organizing boycotts and protests is now terrorism?

Just out of curiosity, when something is said that people on the left find offensive (like that of Robertson or the Benham brothers) what should they do? If they can't protest, express their anger, organize a boycott or other activities what do you want them to do? Keep their mouths shut? Stay out of the public square and pretend not to exist?

clearfield, UT


I can't speak for Mr. Davis, or BYU, but I would agree that a politician who held those views should be allowed to speak on campus. What's the harm? The harm is when a college or students deny the opportunity of speech to be heard on campus for political or social reasons they disagree with. And if said speaker is offensive enough, there will be few people listening. One of the main purposes of a university was to allow such. As well as the purpose of the 1st Amendment. To protect free speech, particularly that which may be offensive to many or the majority. It seems many on the left in America have forgotten those basic principles, or never agreed with them in the first place.

Herriman, UT

The editorial applies to both sides of the aisle. I find it amusing to read both sides calling out the other using examples that only benefit themselves. Those posters missed the point of the column.

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