Our freedoms hang by a slender thread. Five justices can decide to interpret away a basic right by hedging it all around with exceptions, and that right would be essentially obliterated. The Organization of the Islamic Conference has been trying for years to compel Western nations to restrict the freedom of speech by introducing “hate speech” laws and criminalizing “incitement to religious hatred.” The problem is that “hatred” is a matter of interpretation, and hate speech laws can easily become tools in the hands of authoritarian rulers to silence dissent.
So when Breyer says this, it sounds immediately sensible, because Qur’an-burning probably appears to most people to be simply an obnoxious act, an unnecessary provocation. One problem here, however, is that if burning the Qur’an is singled out as a crime of greater magnitude than burning the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita or the Granth or what have you, the Sharia goal of establishing Muslims and Islam as a superior class with rights and privileges beyond those of ordinary citizens has advanced to a significant degree. And that would be the kind of law that Breyer must envision, because he is speaking about forbidding something that would provoke violence and mayhem — and burning the Bible or other holy books doesn’t do that. Breyer is also here essentially encouraging Muslims to make more threats and commit more irrational acts of violence against innocents. After all, if it gets them what they want, why not?
“Justice Breyer Suggests That Burning a Quran Could be Like Shouting ‘Fire’ in a Crowded Theatre–Thus Not Protected by 1st Amendment,” by Chris Neefus for CNS News, September 15 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
(CNSNews.com) – Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said on Tuesday that globalization may change the way the First Amendment applies in the United States, and he suggested that Pastor Terry Jones’ proposed Quran-burning may or may not be protected under the First Amendment.
Breyer — appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to promote his book “Making Our Democracy Work” — made the comments to anchor George Stephanopoulos.
Stephanopoulos was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton when Breyer was elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994. The ABC anchorman asked the justice to explain whether globalization, and Jones’s ability to broadcast his actions, poses “a challenge” to the First Amendment.
“[W]hen we spoke several years ago, you talked about how the process of globalization was changing our understanding of the law,” Stephanopoulos began. “When you think about the Internet and when you think about the possibility that, you know, a pastor in Florida with a flock of 30 can threaten to burn the Quran, and that leads to riots and killings in Afghanistan, does that pose a challenge to the First Amendment–to how you interpret it? Does it change the nature of…what we can allow and protect?”
“Well, in a sense, yes; in a sense, no,” Breyer replied. “People can express their views in debate, no matter how awful those views are — in debate, a conversation, people exchanging ideas. That’s the model so that, in fact, we are better informed when we cast that ballot.”
While the “core values remain,” Breyer continued, “how they apply can change” over time, he suggested.
Breyer pointed to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ opinion in a 1919 case testing the limits of First Amendment protection. Holmes argued that shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater would not be protected speech because people could be trampled in the rush to escape a burning theater.
“And what is the crowded theater today?” Breyer asked. “What is being trampled to death?”…
Well, increasingly, it is the freedom of speech and expression, and other rights and freedoms that Westerners enjoy that are denied by Sharia.