On Facebook I commented on a discussion about Supreme Court associate justice Stephen Breyer’s remarks about the first amendment and the potential burning of a Quran by a fundamentalist Christian pastor in Florida. One individual wrote, “PEOPLE DIED LAST WEEKEND. I traced one such claim to a New York Times article dated Sept. 12. There must have been other stories because once the NYT picks up a story, wire services and bloggers usually follow suit. Blindly, I might add.
And then I read an article by George Stephanopoulos, former aide to former President Bill Clinton and provider of other services to Democrats.
Stephanopoulos interviewed Breyer about Democrat and Republican claims that, while we deplored the burning of a holy book, we also recognized the pastor’s right to exercise his freedom of speech.
We recognize that right in spite of the fact our president sought and obtained a seat on the UN Human Rights Council shortly after the council approved Resolution 7/19. That resolution effectively elevates one religion above all others under the banner of ‘Combating defamation of religions.’ Note the word ‘combating,’ for the ring of tyranny is in the air. Those who possess minimal wit will guess immediately which religion is elevated. Others will find the answer in my column, ‘Obama’s decision…his worst yet.’
On Breyer’s opinion, Stephanopoulos wrote, “But Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer told me on ‘GMA’ that he's not prepared to conclude that -- in the internet age -- the First Amendment condones Koran burning…’Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout 'fire' in a crowded theater,’ Breyer told me. Well, what is it? Why? Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?”
The deaths apparently cited in the case on Facebook were not due to ‘trampling,’ the protesters were shot. The NYT header reads, ‘2 Afghans Die in Protest over Koran Burning.’ I suspect most so-called ‘progressives’ did not read the full article.
Had they done so, they would realize the header was simply an attention grabber. The reporter noted the protesters were angry towards the government because of corruption and bribery as well as a NATO strike in the area that allegedly killed civilians. NATO alleged the strike hit one vehicle carrying an individual targeted because he was a terrorist.
Also within that article there is a comment from a local who “suspected the Taliban had also stoked emotions…”
The reporter explained the region where the protest was held was remote—“Mass media is scant in the region.” Protesters didn’t know the Quran burning was cancelled, but they somehow knew the burning had been announced. Ahem. The protesters also threw rocks and bricks at the police said the NYT, and some policemen were injured. Ahem.
There’s also a remark from a local in the area who said Afghans fought communism and are “ready to die for their religion.” No one explained to the local they’d be speaking Russian had a Democrat congressman not channeled funds secretly to the mujahedeen, helped arm them and helped train them. Americans paid a heavy price for that skewed foreign policy bungling.
One cannot ascribe the deaths of villagers in a remote area of Afghanistan to a fundamentalist American pastor. To do so is to come to a conclusion based on propaganda rather than fact. The reporter defied his own headline within the content of his own story.
Real terror should arise in the heart of every free person, however, from Breyer’s remarks. The first amendment spells out government’s lack of authority to limit one of the most sacred rights we have.
The first oath a Supreme Court Justice takes is noted on the CNN website: "I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
In making the statement to Stephanopoulos, Breyer shattered that oath. We the people of the United States deserve far better. It is time for Breyer to step down.
As for the Facebook commenter, yes, people did die. They died not because their own fundamentalist views parallel the views of a fundamentalist in the U.S., but because they were angry over a number of grievances with their own government and violence ensued. That headline, however, would not have grabbed attention. (Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 15, 2010)