Why government can't tackle hate speech without shredding First Amendment

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 9, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    Candied Ginger:
    "That may be one of the more horrendous things I have heard recently."

    I thought it was hilarious. And you didn't 'hear' it... you 'read' it.

    "The presumption, that god agrees with you and votes with you..."

    I don't recall god ever voting. But, if he did, he certainly would not have voted Democrat.

    "If I don't like what Sterling said, and I tell the world I think his remarks are horrifyingly racist, I am not violating Sterling's 1st Amendment rights."

    It's called libel and slander... both civil wrongs, torts.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 7, 2014 9:39 p.m.

    It's all about the "market place" of ideas (paraphrasing former Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes)

    Free speech is a zero sum proposition (comedian D.L. Hughley defending Tom Imus on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno)

  • Candied Ginger Brooklyn, OH
    May 7, 2014 8:33 p.m.

    @wrz: "I would think it'd be OK to pray for the pres so long as the prayer says something like... 'help to realize what a mess he's causing and help him to stop ruining this country...'"

    That may be one of the more horrendous things I have heard recently.

    The presumption, that god agrees with you and votes with you and wants your team to win...

    Hubris. And not a small touch of pride.

    "But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.'"

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    May 7, 2014 5:09 p.m.

    Oh wrz, wrz, yes I know the 1st Amendment says "Congress." The point is that when people complain that so and so doesn't like what I just said so he's violating my 1st Amendment right of free speech, they are wrong. Individuals cannot violate your right to free speech. By definition. If I don't like what Sterling said, and I tell the world I think his remarks are horrifyingly racist, I am not violating Sterling's 1st Amendment rights.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 7, 2014 4:28 p.m.

    wrz, That is not what the Mormon Church teaches, at least not what you said. That is really shameful and makes me wonder about your religious education?

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 7, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    "My mother sent a message to the First Presidency that no one prayed for the President of our country anymore."

    I would think it'd be OK to pray for the pres so long as the prayer says something like... 'help to realize what a mess he's causing and help him to stop ruining this country...'

    Something like that.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 7, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    As bad and hurtful as some speech can be, I worry much more about laws and punishments for such. I think it is better for a person to speak what they want and suffer whatever public consequences there are. Donald Sterling and that rancher in Nevada are good examples. The right to say what you want, (exception of course in certain very restricted environments like an airplane,) should be the default position instead of more and more PC laws that require legal punishment for a persons unpopular speech. I thought that was supposed to be one of the great freedoms guaranteed in the American Constitution. And, you don't have to look too far in todays world to see what the other side of that freedom can result in. People being thrown in jail for an offense against a religion for instance. That can even happen in non Muslim countries. Not a world I want to see coming to America.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 7, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    We sometimes pick and chose who we pray for. My mother sent a message to the First Presidency that no one prayed for the President of our country anymore. It had been common practice in her area that a prayer was often offered supporting the President of the United States under the previous administration. I wonder why? If we are to honor the Articles of Faith should we not pray for the support of our duly elected President? Or is there a double standard?

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 6, 2014 11:16 p.m.

    "@wrz -- By definition, no one but the government can violate your First Amendment rights. Nothing I or anyone else does can violate your First Amendment rights."

    I think you'll find that the First Amendment says 'Congress' (Congress shall make no law...) not 'government.' And there are more parts to government than just Congress... the courts for example.

    "Before you argue, read it."


    "The First Amendment applies only to government action."

    See above.

  • Candied Ginger Brooklyn, OH
    May 5, 2014 6:51 p.m.

    @Mike Richards

    I have experienced people using public prayer to belittle and bully. Didn't like it then, don't like it now.

    I'm an American and I live under American laws, not Canadian or Mexican.

    Likewise, I'm a Taoist with ties to Buddhism, not a Christian or Mormon. I don't live under your religious rules. And, in America, you don't have a right to force your rules on me.

    In fact, because we are not a theocracy, "God said" has no place in crafting our laws. The rules of your "tribe" are the rules of your tribe only, and the difference between ancient and modern times is that both of our tribes have to get along within American society.

    You actually seem like a person who is genuinely concerned about others. But I already feel bruised and battered by other Christians, and you just add to that - I want to scream "stop beating me with your Bible, it doesn't help."

    Meanwhile, I live very properly by Taoist standards of conduct. I taste life as it comes, without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort.

    I think this is #4. Have a good evening.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 5, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Re: Ginger,

    Picking and choosing which of Christ's commandments should be disobeyed and then hurling insults at others who have also picked and chosen which of Christ's laws to disobey seems a little hypocritical - don't you think.

    Christ is the God or the Old Testament and of the New Testament. He clearly told us how to live and how to use our bodies. He spoke clearly against those who "perverted" the use of their bodies. If you're going to cite Christ, please be respectful of Him and cite His warnings against homosexuality.

    Even though God told us not to be judgmental, that does not excuse violating His commandments. To the woman caught in the act of adultery, he told her to go and sin no more. His forgiveness was based on her compliance to His directive.

    Government cannot speak for God, but it would be foolish to ignore God's directives on proper conduct. Doing that would put government against God and government would lose.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 5, 2014 3:13 p.m.

    Applying 1st Amendment rights selectively does require shredding (or at least segmenting) the rights outlined in our Constitution.

    When we say you have 1st Amendment rights, but somebody else doesn't... or this segment does, but that segment doesn't... or you have it when you say this... but not when you say that... it is fragmented and weakened.

  • Candied Ginger Brooklyn, OH
    May 5, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    Hi, Mike Richards. You asked "Is prayer really an abomination?"

    My parents were married in an Episcopal church but did not keep going. I was raised to respect others and sometimes I went to services or events with friends, but by high school I was being bullied by Christians for being Lesbian, so I saw most of them as just mean.

    My wife was attending a Unitarian Universalist church when we met, we are members there now. One of our ministers is Buddhist, the other is Christian and we have humanist, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan and other members.

    As an adult I don't mind public prayer at all.

    Unless the prayer is used to condemn or exclude some groups and people - like in high school when some would pray really loud for the gays and Jews and Muslims to all find Jesus and not be condemned... You know, bullying disguised as prayer.

    Yes, I do think Congress could use some higher-power guidance.

    But the corruption, scandals and refusal to help the poor or end the wars... It feels like the prayer is for show only.

  • Candied Ginger Brooklyn, OH
    May 5, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    My parents were friends with a woman who owned a day care. One weekend some kids found an unlocked door and tore the place up. Knocked over shelves, messed up the fish tanks, poured paint on the floors and walls.

    The owner was really upset, so were the parents of the children who went there. The vandals were caught and charged with trespass and destruction of property and such. It was upsetting, but it was strictly a property crime.

    In college I dated a Jewish woman for a while and we visited her family. The previous week somebody had vandalized the Jewish community center, painting swastikas and anti-Semetic phrases on the walls, defaced some art and did unspeakable things to a Holocaust remembrance.

    My girlfriend was upset. Her parents and their friends were grimly watching each other's property and had regular contact with the authorities. Her grandparents were hysterical with fear, as were the others in that generation.

    It was a hate crime because the terroristic nature went far beyond vandalism - they targeted the Jewish community on purpose, with malice. That day I understood hate crimes.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 5, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    Is prayer really an abomination? Each Supreme Court session begins with prayer. Should America be incensed when their Supreme Court justices call upon Deity to guide their decisions? Each Senate session begins with prayer. Those who post against "public prayer" have told us that praying in public is basically an affront to them and to society. Are they offended that Senators would invoke God's blessing on this nation and upon them as they struggle with laws and policies that affect this nation? Christ offered a public prayer that millions of people recite many times each day. Should He be censored? All of my life, I have been asked to offer prayer in civic events. Did the prayer that I offered, giving gratitude for the blessings that we enjoy in this Country, for the freedoms that are ours, for the opportunities that we have, for the friends and neighbors with whom we associate, did that type of prayer "cross the line"?

    People who are grateful, pray. People who realize that they have opportunities that few people in earth's history have enjoyed, pray.

    I pray in private and publicly. Should Congress censor prayer?

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    May 5, 2014 10:17 a.m.


    "Hate crimes" are crimes committed against a defined class of "victims." To enhance punishment for something that is already a crime, because it was committed against a certain "class" of people is to say that certain classes of people are more deserving of protection than other classes of people. Is this not classest? Is not justice intended for all people, regardless of their "class?"

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 5, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    @Mike Richards:

    Sounds to me like that principle was a godly woman who understood and believed the words of Jesus according to St. Matthew 6:5 and 6, ""When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private."

    The young man in question was asked to not pray during a public event. He decided to violate the request. He got his reward - a lot of attention and adulation from a certain section of the general public.

    According to Jesus, that was all the reward he could or would get.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 5, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah
    Those who claim that anyone can pray in school are absolutely mistaken. Several years ago, the Senior Class President at the High School just across the street from where I live, offered a "prayer" as part of his speech. The Principal was livid.


    He could pray all he wants to,
    but addressing the student body and invoking a prayer is "Forcing" others to participate in HIS prayer.

    Tell me Mike --
    Was it an LDS, and you are OK with that,
    If it was it a Muslim Prayer, are you still OK with that?

    I've read your one-sided biased comments.
    I serious do not believe for one second that you'd be just as supportive of the entire School praying to Allah or Baphomet.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    May 5, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    Freedom of speech doesn't mean that you get to say whatever you want and everyone else has to shut up. It means that you get to say what you want but have to face the consequences--which, sometimes, are public scorn. The Government hasn't punished any of these free speakers and we need to be on guard to make sure it doesn't, but the public can react to people saying vile things.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 5, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    I thought we came to grips with this a long ago.... and figured out that you can't restrict BAD people's free speech rights without the unintended consequence of infringing on good people's free speech rights... so we decided not to do it, and not infringe on anybody's free speech rights.

    That's why we have pornographers, KKK, SDS, and other people out there saying and doing things we otherwise would not allow. Things that we know are harmful. But we must tolerate them in order to keep the GOOD parts of free speech rights and a free society...


    Race seems to be the exception to this rule. Why it became so elevated above every other taboo in society... I don't know.

    IMO we should be consistent... and not even try to ban these people, or infringe on their rights, not even their right to freedom of expression (especially in private).

    We don't have to accept what they say... we can totally reject it. But we need to understand that they have the right to say it (especially in private).

    Otherwise none of us really have freedom of expression (outside the approved narrative).

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 5, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Those who claim that anyone can pray in school are absolutely mistaken. Several years ago, the Senior Class President at the High School just across the street from where I live, offered a "prayer" as part of his speech. The Principal was livid. She did everything that she could to keep him from receiving his diploma. Since that time, a remote switch was placed on the microphone to "cut off" anyone who prayed in public. No "public" praying is allowed in the classroom.

    Prayer is speech. It is protected by the 1st Amendment.

    "Hate speech" can easily be defined as one person attacking another person with speech. Read the posts on this thread and you'll see several instances of "hate speech" when posters attack other posters by name. By definition, that is "hate speech". They claim the "right" to use that speech, but they want legislation to outlaw "hate speech". Those posters want the government to protect the rest of us against them. I'm against that legislation. Free speech means that they can hurl insults in their posts - if the moderators disregard the DN's own rules.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    May 5, 2014 6:54 a.m.

    @wrz 9:08 p.m. May 4, 2014

    The First Amendment applies only to government action. Please show me where the government did anything to Sterling or his rights. From everything I've heard, it was a private organization -- the NBA -- that is acting against Sterling.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    May 5, 2014 1:13 a.m.

    @wrz -- By definition, no one but the government can violate your First Amendment rights. Nothing I or anyone else does can violate your First Amendment rights. Before you argue, read it.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    May 4, 2014 11:31 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil, you are right, words can hurt, violently, more so than sticks and stones. Anyone who knows what "gaslighting" means in a psychological sense understands that. So, to Macfarren and others, who have mentioned that phrase, with all due respect to the idea behind it, let me suggest this to those (no one here, I'm sure) who would be tempted to rattle off some unwarranted phrase such as the kind we are discussing. It's another motherly kind of advice; if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Had our least favorite ball club owner said this to himself, he may have stayed out of hot water, and kept his cool 2.5 billion...ya think?

  • Seldom Seen Smith Orcutt, CA
    May 4, 2014 11:25 p.m.

    This, and most of the U.S. political discussions on the web, amount to the following:

    Our country has no cultural norms, America is disintegrating.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 4, 2014 9:08 p.m.

    "The NBA is a private organization so they can censure what people say. Same as this newspaper can."

    It's not the same. I would guess employees of this newspaper can say what they wish even though what they might say may not qualify for printing.

    "Private organizations can do what they want disciplining them as well."

    Not without facing the possibility of being brought to justice for violating first Amendment rights.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 4, 2014 8:40 p.m.

    I love how some pretend that words have little significance.... what's the phase used, "...words will never hurt me"? That is wonderful for the second grade playground, but in the real world, words have consequences, sometimes deadly consequences.

    If you really think words can't hurt... you haven't been around or seen enough. Someday, that bubble will get burst. Wrongly used words can cause you lost money or opportunity, lost employment, a relationship, a marriage, or your reputation.... Words surely do have impact in very real ways.

  • WYOREADER Gillette, WY
    May 4, 2014 7:31 p.m.

    You are absolutely correct, but as it becomes more and more acceptable in our society to punish persons for their freedom of speech it is truly a matter of time before we have government leaders that will try to legislate our speech. Who am I kidding they are trying now!!! We are on a very slippery slope and our liberal government has made such a flip flop from the '60's when it was considered acceptable to say anything and I mean anything and not fear any retribution at all from society or the government. Again I think that the racist comments of these individuals are awful. But the fact remains we all have the right to have an opinion and we all have the right to speak that opinion without fear of retribution. NBA protecting their interests?? Really?? Let the people and the players make that decision. The protest that the players staged that night was completely appropriate and the fans should just not show up and then he would have been forced to sell. But the fine he was given was retribution that was akin to Hitler.

  • keepamericafree salt lake, UT
    May 4, 2014 7:11 p.m.

    I say No! the government should never have control over our opinions and how we express them. If some guy wants to say rude and hurtful things that that is his right and no one should be able to stop him from expressing that right.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    May 4, 2014 7:03 p.m.

    Hey Gary O. Follow your own advise!

  • WYOREADER Gillette, WY
    May 4, 2014 6:59 p.m.

    Dear American Citizens,
    If you have ever wondered what living in a faciast society would be like...well you almost know. Shredding the first ammendment is the first step to a facisim. Nothing can be said unless it is "for" the uplifting of the state. While I think that the comments of racists individuals are deplorable they are still protected under the first ammendment to be able to say them and not fear retribution. I'm sorry but when our right to free speech is taken away our consitution is literally hanging on for dear life! Very scary and very sad!

  • Jazzsmack Holladay, UT
    May 4, 2014 6:42 p.m.

    It is claimed you are no free from the consequences of your speech,
    while that may be true, it is only true to a point.

    What rights do you have to hurt sterling just because he made terrible comments?

    Don't your rights end when it hurts another?
    Do you actually understand what freedom of speech means?
    Or what freedom of conscience means?

    You are not free to hurt or punish others just because you disagree with them. or are offended by them.

    Your rights end when they hurt the other person, including sterling.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 4, 2014 6:25 p.m.

    Hey Thid Barker" -

    "On the other hand, just honestly criticize Obama's policies and it gets called "hate speech" everyday."


    Whining puppies who can't play with the big dogs should just stay on the porch.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    May 4, 2014 6:16 p.m.

    I find it pretty ironic that the DN prints these words in their editorial:

    "... the best way to combat hatred and falsehood is to do so head-on, with logic, reason and persuasion."

    I believe it is time for the Deseret News to begin to practice what they preach.


    Pray in secret and your god, who sees all things will reward you openly. Pray in front of the student body, and you have your reward via their adulation.

    Prayer is personal and should remain such (iow, keep it to yourself).

    I don't know how this conversation turned to god, probably Mike Richards from who all things like this seems to flow.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    May 4, 2014 5:23 p.m.

    There are those "that make a man an offender for a word" and "turn aside the just for a thing of naught".
    Isaiah 29:1; 2 Nephi 27:32)

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    May 4, 2014 5:10 p.m.

    @ Florien Wineriter

    I appreciate your restrained, thoughtful, and polite comments.

    "Their (the leaders of authoritative organization's) thoughts are subject to evaluation, discussion, and criticism the same as thoughts expressed by everyone"

    On this we agree. In a First Amendment sense, you are spot on. For those who are not members of the organization (I'm guessing you mean The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints), who have not made covenants to follow it's leaders, I suppose evaluation of the leaders' words IS understandable and natural. But please be aware, one cannot come to the knowledge of apiritual truth (see below) through a debate contest.

    Actually, evaluation is what we ask investigators of the church to do: to prayerfully investigate and discuss the church's doctrines and words. Criticism of church leaders from members of the church is inappropriate.

    I invite real searchers to truly investigate, with a sincere heart, prayer, having faith in Christ, and remembering his goodness. See Moroni 10:3-5, page 529 of the Book of Mormon. I assure you that with those attributes in your search, you can come to a knowledge of the truth. It is an invitation.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 4, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Donald Sterling never had his Freedom of Speech hindered. He was not, is not and will not be prosecuted for what he said. The government cannot and has not done anything about his hateful comments.

    However, what the NBA did was to protect its assets. It was a business decision made by the free market that he willingly entered into. The NBA has every right to perform the actions it took. It is similar to firing an employee who gets on National TV and says negative things about your company.

  • Macfarren Dallas, TX
    May 4, 2014 4:26 p.m.

    What does the phrase 'hate speech' even mean? It's ridiculous.

    Everyone should grow up and follow what their mother's taught them in elementary school, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me."

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    May 4, 2014 3:36 p.m.

    @Mike Richards 8:44 a.m. May 4, 2014

    Nobody is trying to keep prayer out of school. The students can pray any time they want, and about whatever they want to pray about. They can use whatever form of prayer, from whatever religion, that they want to use. Or not pray if that is their choice. The decision to pray or not pray, and how to pray, is and should be in the hands of the students. What can't be done is for the government to create an establishment of religion (the act of establishing a religion). That is specifically contrary to Amendment 1 to the US Constitution.

    But -- say you get your way and prayer is allowed in school. To what god should the students pray? What form of prayer should they use (there are many different traditions of prayer among the Christian denominations, and lots of other forms of prayer in non-Christian faiths). How would you react, for instance, if your grandchild was required to pray to Mother nature in the wiccan tradition? Or bow to Allah as the Muslims do?

    Hopefully you can see the problems inherent in what you want.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    May 4, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    There was reference made to the "older" portion of society being the source of bigotry, not so. You will hear and read younger people speak and write bigotry as well. They have been taught in school that it is acceptable to portray certain groups in a derogatory light, to paint all with a broad brush when a Q-tip for a few is more accurate. We see where some in the younger generations portray those older in less complementary terms simply because of age.

    In short, don't point the finger at others until you have examined your own motives.

  • sayswho Hurricane, UT
    May 4, 2014 3:10 p.m.

    I thank heaven for this opinion. I am from the "older bigoted" generation. I grew up in the "segregated" world. We can also thank heaven that a lot has changed, for the good, since then. I think that acting in a bigoted way is wrong. I think that our ball club owner knew that because he was know to have donated large amounts of money to black groups. He may not have wanted for people to bring black people to his events, but he did not act that way. His comments certainly had the expectation of privacy since he made them in private. I disagree with them totally, but I will defend his right to say them in private to the death. I shiver to think of the government bugging my bedroom to see if I happen to say something that is not politically correct -- this week.

  • Big Joe V Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    May 4, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    Has anyone ever read "Animal Farm"? You should read it to your children.

  • Kimber Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    Incorrect about Obamacare Mike Richards. It was fully discussed and the information was readily available for people if they wanted it. The problem was that people didn't think they wanted it because it comes from the Democrats (actually, with many Republican ideas). People did not want to admit that there was a problem except those like me, that were uninsured. We are not the majority in the country, but we are here (and eight million of us have signed up to get the healthcare we need). If the majority of the country didn't really want it, it was because the majority may not have needed it. But the main thing everyone needs to know now is that it will also help those that have not had any problem with insurance previously, to not have those problems in the future (such as pre existing conditions).

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    May 4, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    Liberals were all for free speech during the 1960s when they were protesting against the Draft or the Vietnam War. (People in a certain age range nay remember the Free Speech movement at U.C. Berkeley, led by Mario Savio and others). More recently, when people started disagreeing with the liberal community and advocating other perspectives, it's interesting how the liberal commitment to free speech seems to have mysteriously disappeared, only to be replaced by a concern with "hate speech." As "blasphemy" is defined in some Muslim countries by whoever happens to be in power, similar type of situation may be developing here. "Hatred" is simply any opinion that the politically correct community doesn't happen to like.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    May 4, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    rw123 -- I agree with you that the closer people live to the gospel the happier they will be. But in a society where different people have different interpretations of what is the right way to live, we have to be very careful when we pass laws that enforce God's laws. I probably happen to agree with you on what God's laws are and I believe that I should live those laws. However, my friend who isn't LDS has a different opinion of what God's laws are (and another friend might not even think God has any laws). I don't think I should try to enact laws that "force" my friends to live in compliance with my religion, even though I completely believe that I should live in compliance with my religion. There are general societal norms that we all agree on -- no murder, no theft, etc. because violation of those norms harms other people. God's laws that only harm the individual should be the individual's choice to obey or not, at their own peril or to their own blessing.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 4, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    In view of the obvious facts that people are born with varying amounts of freedom, some are born into slavery and die before they even realize what freedom is and that a persons freedom depends more on where he is born, it is very hard for me to not think that "Freedom comes from God. Restrictions on freedom come from government", is a lie.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 4, 2014 1:23 p.m.

    Gosh "Conservatives" like to whine and snivel.

    And I'm all for it.

    If that's the only way they know how to exercise their first-amendment rights, then they should have at it and just cry those big ol' Right Wing tears.

  • McMurphy St George, Utah
    May 4, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    Markey's proposal would require recommendations for addressing hate speech "consistent with the First Amendment." Who would define hate speech? And who would decide if recommendations for addressing what may-or-may-not be hate speech are consistent with the First Amendment? The opinion of an Edward Markey would undoubtedly be much different than the opinion of a Mike Lee or Rand Paul.

  • McMurphy St George, Utah
    May 4, 2014 1:11 p.m.

    @ high school fan.
    The NBA was not the least bit interested in fairness. The NBA was interested in protecting the NBA brand and the substantial profits that flow to the team owners. Professional basketball is hugely popular among blacks. Not only are 76% of players are black but a large percentage of the fan base is black. And the fan base is what drives the TV contracts that are by far the major major source of income for the teams.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 4, 2014 1:01 p.m.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised that in the DNews even a simple article about speech devolves into a discussion about god. Sorry Mike Richards but it just gets old.

    Anyway, I fully support the different movements to get rid of hate speech but I am totally against passing any laws to accomplish this. As a parent of a child with disabilities I am a huge supporter of the Special Olympics movement to eliminate the r-word from our everyday speech (please see www.r-word.org for more info). However, I would oppose any law that would try to make it illegal. The way to handle hate speech is not by passing laws but by educating people about how mean these words are. That's the key, we don't pass laws, we let people use this horrible speech if they want to, but we educate people how awful it is and how it hurts people; then let them decide for themselves if they will use these words and be mean to people or not.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 4, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    Oh brither, here we go...

    1. Donald Sterling was punished by the Billionaire's club LEAUGUE,
    BTW -- You can call me when he gets throw in jail by the Government.

    2. These same conservatives would not allow a Muslim group to build a Cultural center in New York, a Satanist group to erect a statue of Bophamet in Oklahoma, or allow even some Christian religious the right o wed gay couples.

    3. I find it odd that the Deseret News and other conservatives are fine with Bush's Patriot act - willfully spying on U.S. citizens, cheer the Citizen's United decision granting Corporations PEOPLE'S rights, and the McCutcheon decision granting unlimited legalized Bribery of Government officials...

    and getting so bent out of shape over some imaginary boogieman who is stipping away the individuals rights --that just is NOT happening.

  • Tiger750 usa, UT
    May 4, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    Modifying the constitution regarding free speech is a dangerous path to go down. The way to tackle this is by "educating" people, we have been making great progress in this for years, we can teach people to be more tolerant of others who are different and/or have different beliefs and lifestyles. Secondly, we need to create an understanding that what someone says, only effects you as much as you let it. One man making some unpleasant racial comments in his own home, is really no big deal, unless we allow it to be. I mean look at the guy, do you really care what he says in his own home?, personally I'd be more concerned if someone like him, liked me - what would that say about me?

    I've had abuse shouted at me and been physically assaulted for being white. Have I allowed the words and actions of a few ignorant and unpleasant individuals to shape my life and opinions? We need to accept that there will always be people in the world with distasteful beliefs and attitudes, and just focus on the positive, that the vast majority of people out there are decent people.

  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    May 4, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    Everyone should be allowed to express their own thoughts. Every action has a consequence. I think what happened to sterling was poetic justice. You cant say those things about another race and not expect anything to happen.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 4, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    @rw123: "but in the case of the General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, their statements are spiritual law in that they spell out God’s will and commandments."

    Warren Jeff's spells out God's will to his followers. The Pope spells out God's law. The Dali Lama spell's out the law of the universe. Miriam Starhawk spells out the law of the Goddess. Various imams spell out the laws of Allah. Fred Phelps spelled out God's laws. David Koresh. Jim Jones. Rick Warren. Ellen White. Mary Baker Eddy. David Duke. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Louis Farrakhan. Master Li Hongzhi. Benny Hinn. Pat Robertson.

    The list of those who "speak for God" and "spell out God's law" is long and varied, comforting and scary, and totally depends on the neighborhood you live in and the faith you follow.

    Confusing the rules of religion with the laws of the land puts us far down the slippery slope into theocracy and the loss of freedom for all.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    May 4, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    Its easy to forget that the First Amendment wasn't designed to protect popular speech.

  • Bruce A. Frank San Jose, CA
    May 4, 2014 11:32 a.m.

    Three decades ago I heard of the first rumblings of laws against hate crimes and those laws were predicated around the state of mind of the person committing the crime. I said then that this was the beginning of the loss of the "freedom of speech," the First Amendment. And it is now coming to fruition.

    Exactly what the Founding Fathers were trying to protect against is coming to pass. Expression of opinion somehow changes a murder to a *MURDER*. And now, expressing the opinion of dislike is extrapolated into the crime itself.

    Canada has laws on the books that bring ministers up on charges if they preach that homosexuals are sinners. Here in the US, criticism of the President's policies are termed "code" thus racial, and you get audited...or worse. Such as being put in prison because you made a movie criticizing the President's most favored religion!

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    May 4, 2014 11:14 a.m.


    There are numerous groups, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation who have tried to outlaw voluntary prayer by student athletes and the like. I agree no one should be forced to participate in a prayer. Likewise, no one should be prevents from participating.

    Likewise, people should be able to stay stupid things. You will be hard pressed to find any student at a major university who has been disciplined for making statements which are anti-christian, and few who have been disciplined for making anti-semitic remarks. There are numerous students, however, who have been suspended, expelled or otherwise disciplined for making comments which were perceived as anti-women, anti-gay or anti-muslim.

    That is the problem with "hate" speech regulations. They are almost always applied unequally by those in power. There are many who cry racism if you oppose any policy of President Obama, but had no problem getting vicious in their comments about Herman Cain. Speech restrictive regulations are a weapon - usually yielded by the left.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    May 4, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    I agree that the govt. can't really do anything about hate speech. "Hate Crimes" are a different matter. They are punishing someone who commited a crime with the intention of sending a message to a targeted minority. We already put extra punishments on people for their motivations--hence, first defree, second degree murder and manslaughter--these categories all have to do with what the felon was thinking.

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    May 4, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    Who, of the young, do you consider the most problematic as far as bigotry?
    I am one of the old ones who constantly hears, first hand, all the disgusting bigoted speech from other old ones.

  • arand Huntsville, u
    May 4, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    We should all remember the saying about sticks and stones. It is actions and not words. We can never change what one thinks by curtailing what one says.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 4, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    In my opinion, government main role is to ensure every man and women is able to express the fullness of their freedoms, and pursue their own destinies. The only role of government under this context is that one can not gain their freedoms through the denial of another their freedoms.

    Government can not ban racism in one owns heart. What the government can do though is preventing that racism from denying another their own rights, freedoms and liberties. When ones attitudes spill over to actions that impact others, that is the right and just place for government to insert itself.

    You can think anything you want. You can say anything you want. But in the latter, please don't expect that you can do so without impact and consequences. If you free speech is an attempt to deny another of their freedoms, it is absolutely the propagative of government to put consequences to that speech.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 4, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    Hey Mike Richards –

    “Restrictions on freedom come from government. Therefore, God and government are at odds with each other.”


    Let’s say you feel like flying to Hawaii. What??! God didn’t give you wings?!

    Well, the Government gave us the FAA, the FCC, and a common monetary system to help make your desire a reality. Because of government, you CAN fly to Hawaii.

    Your argument is specious.

    BTW, Jesus loves good governance.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 4, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    “Let [truth} and falsehood grapple, who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter.”

    Milton has a good idea, but in America now there are very few “free and open encounters,” especially in Right Wing Circles. Do you think Rush Limbaugh would allow the lies that proliferate on his show to be challenged? Ever since the demise of the Fairness Doctrine during the Reagan administration, Right Wing Radio has proliferated specifically because these “Conservative pundits” do not allow dissenting opinion in the form of “free and open encounters.” Consequently, the baseless ideas and prejudices of their Right Wing audience go unchallenged, to the detriment of America.

    I agree that an anti-hate-speech law would be unworkable. An anti-slander law (where a candidate cannot slander an opposing candidate) makes a lot more sense.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 4, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    First Amendment:

    ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    For me it is a hard stretch of the English language to see any protection or rights for the individual American citizen in the First Amendment. Further, if it was applicable to individuals, there are many standing American laws that violate that intent that are not being addressed.

    If a person expounds, out loud, something that does harm to other people, is that different than yelling Fire in a theatre?

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    May 4, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    re: Mike Richards

    "Freedom comes from God. Restrictions on freedom come from government."

    What about commandments (the big 10, the word of wisdom, chastity, yada yada yada) Mike. Where do they come from?

    re: Stormwalker

    "Too often, Christians seem to think first amendment religious freedoms are only for Christians, and maybe for Jews. Not for those of other faiths and who are not religious."

    Why am I thinking of Ned Flanders & Apu from the Simpsons?

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    May 4, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    @Florien Wineriter
    “Freedom of speech is a cherished right but leaders of authoritative organizations must make it clear to their followers that their uttered thoughts are not ‘the law’, neither secular nor religious.”

    I beg to differ. If I understand your point, I agree that indeed, religious leaders’ uttered words are not secular law, but in the case of the General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, their statements are spiritual law in that they spell out God’s will and commandments.

    Their words and revelations may not be binding in the same way as secular or man-made law that man can enforce in the ways he feels fit. But if you want to have the spiritual blessings of obedience and avoid the consequences of disobedience, they are just as binding or more. To both members and non-members, the consequences of breaking these laws are spiritual but just as real.

    If man can issue laws, why can’t God. And the closer the society’s laws are to the Lord’s, the happier the society will be. I don’t claim it as gospel, just my opinion.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 4, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    @Mike Richards: "Government tells us that we cannot even pray in school."

    Government does not restrict you from praying in school. It does restrict you from forcing me to be part if your prayers. It also says that if you are going to insist that your prayer be part of a public spectacle that you have to make room for others to also pray - not just Baptists and Methodists, but also Muslims and Wiccans and others.

    Too often, Christians seem to think first amendment religious freedoms are only for Christians, and maybe for Jews. Not for those of other faiths and who are not religious.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 4, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    "When the hate speech, particularly from the older, bigoted population of our society gets out of control, simply, consider the source."

    How about hate speech from the younger bigoted population gets out of control, should we consider the sourcwe of that too.

    Just because you throw out the term 'bigot' about others, doesn't mean that you are not a bigot in your own opinions. Don't TELL me. SHOW me.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 4, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    Years ago there was an employee at the University of Utah who would use the student newspaper to state the most close-minded intolerant views. He thought their should be quotas on Mormons because he felt they were stealing from others. He thought that the Jews deserved what they got in the Holocaust because the Old Testament condemns homosexual behavior, etc, etc. In today's climate he would have been fired immediately. But I thought that it was beneficial for him to have his freedom of speech and the freedom to say what he did.

    If not, I would not have learned that such views exist and that when looking over a cultural divide that we should be open-minded and not misinterpret based on our own cultural paradigms.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    May 4, 2014 9:22 a.m.

    Fortunately enough people abhor racism that it is not socially acceptable to be supremacist of any kind. The NBA is a private organization so they can censure what people say. Same as this newspaper can. The 1st amendment does give people a right to be foolish though. Private organizations can do what they want disciplining them as well.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    May 4, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    Every one of us has said things that we regret or do not honestly reflect our true sentiments. If every conversation in our lives was recorded, then all of us would be condemned. How long until people start coming after you?

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    May 4, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    No "liberal" wants to do away with free speech. The government should not control speech. However, it doesn't violate anyone's First Amendment rights if I say I don't like what you said. In fact, I am exercising my First Amendment rights when I do. I don't know if you understand the Constitution, procuradorfiscal. It only applies to government suppression of speech. So who cares if a liberal says something is hate speech. Maybe they are being rude and hurting your feelings when they tell you your speech is hateful, but they are not violating your First Amendment rights, which is what this discussion is about.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 4, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    @Thid Barker: "For example, disagreements with liberal ideology is called "hate speech"."

    And disagreements against right-wing ideology are called heresy and blasphemy and unAmerican and socialist and a whole range of other condemning words and phrases designed to shut down thought instead of engaging in discussion.

    The right uses religiously coded words to identify "unacceptable" speech. As society moves away from religion those code phrases have lost general impact.

    The left uses "hate" which is more universally recognized and gets a visceral reaction across more segments of society.

    Neither is accurate, both sides use code to identify actions they want shut down. Currently, the left is more successful in the general deployment of their code phrases. Not all that long ago the right was ascendant by labeling every disagreement as part of the "godless communist conspiracy."

    For reference see: HUAC, Red Scare, Hollywood Blackball list, and the history of conservative religious leaders during the civil rights. See also the condemnation of the anti-war movement during Vietnam.

    Lots of code words there, and all couched in religious and pseudo-patriotic terms.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 4, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Freedom comes from God. Restrictions on freedom come from government. Therefore, God and government are at odds with each other. God commands us to worship Him before doing anything else of importance. Government tells us that we cannot even pray in school. Not only has government restricted free speech but it has legislated our right to be religious. Both freedoms, the right to worship and the right to pray (speech) are clearly guaranteed in the 1st Amendment.

    Freedom of speech allows all ideas to percolate until the "truth" is found. Honest debate causes people to think. Unfortunately, many people follow the example of "leaders" who attack the person instead of discussing the message. We learned in kindergarten that only an insecure bully attacks others. We learned in high school debate to study both sides of an argument.

    If ObamaCare had been openly discussed - in full detail - it would never have been passed. Because speech was restricted our freedom and responsibility to care for our personal welfare is in jeopardy.

    If NSA spying had been discussed, no complex would have been built and our email would be secure.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 4, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    Re: "The natural inclination of most people in power is to suppress dissent and put an end to ideas that might threaten their power."

    And that's particularly true of liberals. They know they'll never win using their foundational, existential "liberal man's burden" doctrine, so they attempt, instead, to suppress any dissent, calling pretty much anything they don't disagree with "hate speech."

    Even when they know there's no hate involved in it.

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    May 4, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    Some old adages still apply in this day and age.
    When the hate speech, particularly from the older, bigoted population of our society gets out of control, simply, consider the source.
    That explanation helps put the problem into perspective.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    May 4, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    In 2010 my son graduated from Syracuse University. World renowned biologist (and Utah native) Craig Venter gave the commencement speech that included those words:

    "We just celebrated the 10th anniversary of our first decoding of the human genome, and from that, we learned some rather simplistic things—we learned we have about 20,000 genes instead of the hundreds of thousands that people had expected. And from our reading the DNA from an African American, two Hispanics, two Caucasians and a Chinese individual, we learned that we’re all extremely similar to each other, and that race is a social, not a scientific concept."

    That statement should be part of our dialogue relating to race and whenever we hear anyone making derogatory remarks about anyone, we should quote this gifted scientist.

  • Florien Wineriter Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 4, 2014 7:15 a.m.

    Freedom of speech is a cherished right but leaders of authoritative organizations must make it clear to their followers that their uttered thoughts are not ‘the law’, neither secular nor religious. Their thoughts are subject to evaluation, discussion, and criticism the same as thoughts expressed by everyone.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    May 4, 2014 6:47 a.m.

    "Hate speech" is arbitrary and is politically driven. It depends on who says it and about whom it is said. For example, disagreements with liberal ideology is called "hate speech". When liberals disagree in the most vile terms with any conservative its NEVER called hate speech, only free speech. For example, when Harry Reid lied about Mitt Romney that was "free speech". On the other hand, just honestly criticize Obama's policies and it gets called "hate speech" everyday. Therefore liberals invented hate speech to denigrate and silence their critics!

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    May 4, 2014 6:43 a.m.

    The implications of being punished for having said something in the privacy of your own home ought to scare everybody. As for the NBA, this has all the appearance of an old western with judge, jury and executioner all being the same guy and happening the same day. They could have got to the same spot but could have appeared to be more fair by imposing a temporary punishment and then letting the dust settle just a little. After time and a more thorough evaluation would have given off the appearance of fairness instead of what we got.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    May 4, 2014 6:11 a.m.

    The problem is that those who perpetuate hate speech also want to shield themselves from the consequences of that speech. You have a right to say what you want, but you don't have a right to control the reaction of others.

  • Gene Poole SLC, UT
    May 4, 2014 1:50 a.m.

    Plain and simple - the restriction of Free Speech and the abuse of First Amendment rights is a step toward the legalization of all forms of control in the country by government. Whenever this has happened in history, the citizens have been enslaved. Many who read this will be familiar with the quote: "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they tend to exercise unrighteous dominion."

    This characteristic of "almost all men" is why the founding fathers were pressed to include the "Bill of Rights" as an addition to the framework of the Constitution. With insight from the freedoms so vigorously fought, they knew that our Rights must be guaranteed by an immutable governing document. And so it is. Those who seek to change it, are traitors to all of us who seek to maintain the freedoms of this land. There are those in government who are seeking to exercise unrighteous dominion in so many venues that it boggles the mind that people are so willing to stand idly by and observe this unrighteous demolition of our freedoms.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 4, 2014 1:22 a.m.

    How many think we actually still have freedom of speech in America? Better pay attention to current events to note that the first amendment is dead in America. We are closer to Communism than our Constitution in 2014.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    May 4, 2014 12:31 a.m.

    Much speech is disconcerting and uncomfortable. However, the First Amendment was established to provide for the right to express our thoughts - even the ones that sting and reveal ignorance. It is unfortunate that there are those that advocate restriction of speech - for to do so leaves the empowered to decide what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Objective standards would go out the door and the subjective would become the rule. Subjective opinion is subject to change at the whim of the governing. The right to speak is much more important than the right not to be offended by speech. I agree with this editorial that basic understanding of these principles are not be understood, because they are not being taught. Rather, political correct thinking is the flavor of the times - leading to less principled thought.