ARLENE VIOLET – Protect the First Amendment

ARLENE VIOLET – Protect the First Amendment

Let’s get this out of the way: Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin as a United States citizen with the same constitutional rights as anyone else has the right to express his opinion. Even more so, as a religious leader, he has the right and additional duty to express what he thinks are the doctrinal underpinnings of his religion. Whether you agree or disagree with him you should never block or limit his expression. Similarly, if you have a disagreement as the LBGTQ and its supporters do, you also shouldn’t be shut up in your counterargument.

Personally, I disagree with the bishop. There are lots of folks who support the Pride parade because they eschew discrimination in any form. They adopt another Christian tenet as an overarching life guide, i.e. to love your neighbor as yourself. As a practical matter this means extending to everyone the same privileges and rights that you want for yourself. Further, the entire issue of one’s sexuality is one that has been studied and modified as more scientific information becomes available. While some regard the work of Kinsey (1948-1953) as the seminal work, Masters and Johnson (1959-1991) and a plethora of other researchers have raised important data which challenges the conventional wisdom of just what is normal vs. abnormal sexual orientation and identity. This work should be encouraged, not stymied.

Most importantly, the First Amendment in all its permutations should be protected. Recent events in Bristol and Fall River, over a child’s story hour where a transgender person reads a story about tolerance, has come under attack. Like everything else, parents have the right to vote with their feet. Either “walk” your kids to the story hour or walk the other way. You are in control. Publicly express your opinion as some women have done because they think the overly sexualized clothing worn by some transgenders insults women as sex objects, All of this back and forth is important in a society.

Recently, there has been some consternation about an exhibit in the Bristol Art Museum where one artist submitted homoerotic pieces with a military theme. Again, folks can vote with their feet. Attend or not attend. Argue about its appropriateness or not. Only one thing: Please don’t ban it.

I, for one, am appalled by some pieces by Andres Serrano, like his snapshot of Jesus on the Cross soaked in the artist’s urine. Hate speech is obnoxious, but, I’d rather know how some people are still thinking then have it shrouded.

Further, some things which are considered heresy can also someday be correct. You only have to recall that the Church condemned and convicted Galileo of heresy for holding the belief that the earth revolves around the sun, contrary to Church doctrine of the time.

Pythagoras (6th century BC) was ostracized for suggesting that the world was more round, not flat. All of these incidences where the popular wisdom was challenged and ultimately proven to be wrong should serve up a healthy dose of humility to folks who think they know it all.

If free speech means anything, it means the right of others to express ideas that you may strongly oppose, trusting the people to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Plus, you and I might actually learn something!

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.


Ms. Violet,

Thank you for stating ideals that all of us should support and celebrate. It has become fashionable, once again, to suppress ideas and speech found to be objectionable. There is no “Safe Space” when free speech rights are suppressed or shouted down. I fully support your right to express thoughts that make my blood boil and make me angry. I expect others to do the same.

A good friend told me that he would rather hear your opinions and speech and know what you represent. Those are the same words that you used, “Hate speech is obnoxious, but, I’d rather know how some people are still thinking then have it shrouded.” BRAVO!

This column is not helpful in getting people to understand the free speech rights in the First Amendment. The First Amendment does not say that anyone can say anything they want at any time in any place. This drives me crazy when people say something stupid, they get called out on it and claim their first amendment rights are being infringed.

The 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"

Take note of those first few words, "Congress shall pass no law". Your first amendment right to free speech only means the US government cannot punish you for things you say. That's it. That's all it says. Only the government can infringe on your first amendment rights.

true Patrick.

Bishop Tobin is the head of the Diocese of Providence. His recent use of free speech, incites hatred and murder. He does not follow God's greatest Commandnent:Love one another as I have loved you
In Philadelphis he witnessed the abuse of innocent children. His answer to this it was not my JOB!
The First Amendment is not the issue here!
Hate is the issue and lack of moral leadership.

Free speech is being down played by the political correctness of society today.

As written in your article, we ALL have the “same constitutional rights”; however, many people do NOT respect nor believe those rights as written. They, instead, choose to ATTACK [verbally and otherwise] those who especially have different views and opinions about sex and/or religion.

The recent events in Bristol and Fall River regarding a transgender person reading a story about “tolerance” came under attack because the LGBTQ is trying to INSTILL THEIR sexual views and opinions publicly unto others. However, when Bishop Thomas Tobin expressed HIS First Amendment Rights, he was attacked by the LGBTQ group. It appears that the saying, “What's good for the goose is good for the gander!” does not apply to these groups!

SEXUAL PREFERENCES should be kept PRIVATE! What one chooses to be SEXUALLY is HIS/HER business......not everyone else's. I also question as to WHY “the overly sexualized clothing worn by some transgenders would insult women as sex objects”. Also, WHY would anyone expose their child to such an activity?

I was not only APPALLED by “Serrano's snapshot of Jesus on the Cross soaked in the artist’s urine”..... it was just plain NAUSEATING! Serrano claims to be a Christian! How can a CHRISTIAN be so full of HATRED? WHY doesn't CHRISTIANITY have the same FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS as the LGBTQ has? Enough said!

Yes, the Church has made its mistakes; however, not too many people, in this day and age, are concerned as to whether the world is ROUND or FLAT because this particular belief doesn't truly affect their lifestyles, nor do their personal beliefs regarding this topic CAUSE any ATTACKS! A “healthy dose of humility” REFLECTS a RESPECT for others' FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS! One can believe anything he/she wants, but has NO RIGHT to IMPOSE or PRESSURE others regarding his/her beliefs, as it is being done today!

Yes, all of this “back and forth” is definitely important in a society, so today, I have used MY First Amendment Rights by responding to this article. AMEN!

This is the best. In the same week that Arlene writes that Bishop Tobin has free speech rights to say anything he wants, and that should not be stopped, the church themselves don't seem to be in the spirit of free speech. Motif magazine published a letter critical of Tobin. Then the church tells Motif that they can't use McVinney Auditorium for their annual awards.
Maybe there are better battles to pick, Arlene.

The issue here is plain: Bishop Tobin defined the principles of the church he serves and for these principles he's branded a "hater" and is accused of inciting "murder." If this isn't the epitome of hyperbole, I don't know what is. Because he advises his followers to not attend gay pride events with their children, he's called any number of offensive names. What happened to the oft-cited diversity and compassion?

I don't take offense at folks calling out the Bishop for his ideas, but calling him a "hater" or someone who is inciting "murder" is a bit much. Disagree with him all you want, but for God's sake, do it with the compassion you preach. Oh, and to clear things up - the "drag queen" recently invited to read to children in Houston is a registered sex offender, so maybe more careful vetting of these things is in order.

It's so funny that on one hand, Pauline wants free speech rights to say what she wants, but then imposes her views on others when she wrote: "SEXUAL PREFERENCES should be kept PRIVATE!" So those people can't say what they want? Interesting opinion.
And since Pauline asked a question, I'll give my opinion on an answer. She asked: "Also, WHY would anyone expose their child to such an activity?" To be open-minded and aware, and be able to experience more differences in people. When we interact with other people who may be different from us, we understand them better than when we shun them or stay way. Or, maybe the people aren't so different and it helps some people understand that they aren't the only one who feels a certain way. Having more experiences is good for understanding.

Well, Mr. Laverty, apparently, you didn't read my last statement too closely. It must be because your intent was just to 'strike back at my article'. Anyway, again the “back and forth” comments ARE very important in a society and, therefore, as indicated in my previous comments, I had used MY First Amendment Rights by responding to Ms. Violet's article. I'm definitely NOT surprised at receiving negative feedback, however, because that's what always happens to conservative rebuttals. The liberals CAN'T accept being contradicted. Enough said.

Regarding your reply to my question about 'exposing a child to such an activity'---didn't YOU use your First Amendment Right to reply to MY question? You see, Mr. Laverty this is what is called “back and forth”. I RESPECT YOUR RIGHT to what YOU BELIEVE, but on the other hand, you have opined YOUR beliefs trying to DEMONSTRATE that YOU are correct and I am wrong in my beliefs. My BELIEF is that some people are DISTINCT in their lifestyles and, although I believe that they can lead whatever lifestyles they choose, I don't have to accept nor approve of these lifestyles. Plus, these days, kids don't have to be directly EXPOSED to certain things because the NEWS MEDIA often provides MORE THAN ENOUGH information to them----especially now with the various social media. Enough said. AMEN!

Ahh, so the story changes. This time, Pauline wrote:
"My BELIEF is that some people are DISTINCT in their lifestyles and, although I believe that they can lead whatever lifestyles they choose, I don't have to accept nor approve of these lifestyles."
And sure, that's great, no harm there. The problem is what you wrote the first time when you wrote:
However, isn't that also a First Amendment right if someone doesn't want to keep it private? So first you're all about first amendment rights, except for those who want to go public with their sexual preferences? Any other preferences that people should not go public with? How about sports teams? Is that allowed to be public? How about favorite flavor of ice cream? Should people keep that private too? Why do you get to be the arbiter of whether people are public or private with their sexual preferences? Just wondering about that part, unless you're now walking it back.
And you're right, kids don't have to be exposed to anything their parents don't want to. But if a parent wants to expose their children to things, they should be able to, in spite of you asking "WHY would anyone expose their child to such an activity?" which I gave a reason for.

Typical Liberal who loves to TWIST THINGS AROUND! When stating that sexual preferences should be kept PRIVATE, this is MY RIGHT TO THIS BELIEF and doesn't mean that others can't/shouldn't express their own sexual desires.

First, please check my LAST RESPONSE.....I wrote, “My BELIEF is that some people are DISTINCT in their lifestyles and, although I believe that they can lead whatever lifestyles they choose, I don't have to accept nor approve of these lifestyles”, so my 'story hasn't changed'! If people with different SEXUAL LIFESTYLES want to EXPOSE THEMSELVES, that's THEIR business, but it doesn't mean that I have to APPROVE of that exposure, NOR should I be, or want to be, PRESSURED into ACCEPTING those EXPOSURES.

Second, you must be very desperate in wanting to PROVE your points because your comparing “sports teams and ice cream” to SEX is just plain RIDICULOUS! “Sports teams and ice cream choices” simply have no PUBLIC NEGATIVE impact on people as SEXUAL PREFERENCES do.

Third, YOUR REASONING behind the question, "WHY would anyone expose their child to such an activity?" YOUR RIGHT to believe the opposite of this question. However, it was also my RIGHT to state my OPINION as well! Twisting this question to your benefit isn't working.

In closing, speaking of “Rights”, we have the RIGHT to “agree to disagree” which we have done. This is what 'they' call “back and forth” conversations. Also, speaking of 'sports'----considering that we are on OPPOSITE TEAMS, we will never agree! Enjoyed 'chatting' with you! End of story! AMEN!

Pauline wrote: “Sports teams and ice cream choices simply have no PUBLIC NEGATIVE impact on people"

Oh really? People have been beaten for their choice of sports teams. Similar to people who are publicly out as LGBTQ have been, so they have more in common than you're aware of. Here's just one example: But hey, if that's your opinion, I guess we can also refer to that as an "alternate fact" as the savior likes to call it.

A few weeks back, you complained ad hominem attacks, yet there you go Pauline, being hypocritical in that way with your "Typical Liberal" comment. Gotta attack the messenger when the rest of your message isn't working.

You wrote, “People have been beaten for their choice of sports teams.” What is your example for “ice cream”? Let's face it, those were YOUR comparisons to various sexual choices, etc... We all know and realize that EVERYTHING in life has PROS & CONS.

Sexual activities involve MORALITY and CONSCIENCE and how they AFFECT people's lives. The TEN COMMANDMENTS are POSTED in the Supreme Court for a very good reason. If people would live by those guidelines, it would be a much better world! Check out the 6th and 9th Commandments which are related to sex. Believe it or not “sports & ice cream” can/could probably be referred to under “Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not well as greed, etc.... BUT, lo and behold, if there's one thing that the LGBTQ group DOESN'T want to deal with are the TEN COMMANDMENTS! By the way, whom are you referring to when writing “the savior”? I hope it's not God because it should have been spelled with a capital “S”.

Ad hominem attacks are basically attacks on an individual. I'm very sorry that you think I'm personally attacking you.........I am just contradicting your STANCE on sexual activities which the LGBTQ practice. Again, they have the RIGHT to live their lives, as they please, while I have the right to NOT accept it, nor be pressured into believing in its way of life.

Re: both our MESSAGES----------Yours are working for those who believe as you do, and mine are working for those who believe as I do! As previously mentioned, this topic will never be agreed upon by both of us. Case closed. AMEN!