Freedom of speech does not equal carte blanche freedom from criticism


For the life of me, I’ll never understand why some people believe the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech grants them a carte blanche right to say or do anything they like without the least bit of criticism or negative feedback from other citizens.

The recent brouhaha over Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of an anti-LGBT seminar in Pennsylvania has the LGBT blogosphere, mainstream media and Christian media in a frenzy. Some college students have even organized to get Chick-fil-A thrown off their campuses. The seminar isn’t the first time Chick-fil-A has sponsored or supported conservative, right-wing causes. The anti-gay, evangelical views of the company and its leaders have been well-known for an awfully long time. I guess some folks just got tired of it, found the right blog to on which to speak out and hit the news cycle at just the right time.

In a New York Times piece by Kim Severson, however, a conservative Chick-fil-A customer and supporter says the corporation has every right to say or think anything they please.

From the story:

On the other hand, Rhonda Cline, a dental hygienist in Atlanta and a devout Christian, has only gotten more outspoken in her support. She was one of nearly a thousand people who logged onto the Chick-fil-A Facebook page to comment on the issue.

“I applaud a company that in this climate today will step out on a limb the way the Constitution allows them to,” Ms. Cline said in an interview. “This is the United States, so we should be able to practice our business the way we like.”

Conservatives aren’t the only folks blasting the criticism heaped upon Chick-fil-A.

An LGBT blogger in North Carolina has taken to his site several times to complain about Chick-fil-A criticisms. The blogger, who goes by “SNT” and whose site is named “Sick-N-Tired” (as in, he’s “sick-n-tired” of the LGBT community), isn’t well-known nationally but has gained a small following for his regular and outspoken criticisms of both local and national LGBT leaders and organizations (despite his near-illiteracy). Often his vitriol is as hostile and anti-gay as that of the religious right.

SNT writes:

It would seem that Campus fags and dykes have managed to get Chick-fil-A kick off campus.. I wonder if the atheist on campus could us the same tactics to get the all religion banned from Campus?

[...]

Once again Gay Inc. Speak and drones goes off to work.

However you must admit the LGBT Community really know how to play the victim don’t they. We are second class citizens, big brother won’t let us be us. This is such bull shit and they know it. The LGBT Community is becoming the Bullies now. They know it, but won’t admit it. They Claim they are standing up for their rights, While trying to deny and suppress the rights of businesses to do business they why they wish.

Sometimes you just have to wonder if the U.S. educational system is really even as good as our already, abysmally-low international rankings.

Does Chick-fil-A have the right to sponsor anti-gay events and seminars? Absolutely. Do they have the right to say, “We don’t serve fags and queers,” if they wanted to? Absolutely (in some jurisdictions, that is). Does the company have the right to preach and proselytize? Absolutely?

But, as many rights as the company has to do and say whatever they please does not and will never abridge the rights of the consuming public to have just as much right to criticize the company, boycott the company and organize to distance themselves or their affiliated institutions from the company.

Free speech is a two-way street, folks. It’s not a hard concept to understand. If Chick-fil-A wants to sponsor anti-gay organizations and events, by all means they have every right to do so. Their only point of decision will come down to whether or not utilizing that right to speech is in their best, fiscal interest. Because, after all, consumers aren’t drones. We have our own thoughts and opinions, and every right to express them and organize around them.

Of course, all this wouldn’t have been necessary to say if only some folks would have paid attention in their high school civics courses.


Comments
31 Responses to “Freedom of speech does not equal carte blanche freedom from criticism”
  1. a.mcewen says:

    Oh good grief! Not another lgbt blogger trying to make a name off of publicly attacking the lgbt community itself instead of offering solutions. How many of those are out there anyway, Matt?

  2. sickntired08 says:

    Nice Matt, very nice, I know I have a problem with the english language. Funny how once you wrote that, and I have paraphasing here, I might be harsh and quick to judgement, that I attack friend and foe the same, but I most of the time hit the nail on the head of the problem.

    Attack me all you want for calling those campus students F&D all you want.
    I have been attack by better and worst folks then you, and I learn to deal with while in school.

    BTW congrats on going back to school for your masters I think it was.I can only wish you the best, and that you can management both school, work, and the social engagement of the LGBT community without turning to #$%^&*(

  3. Matt Comer says:

    Yes, Sick, at one time, months (if not at least a year) ago I wrote you and said I agreed with some of what you said. That was long before you went bat-shit crazy and teamed up with anti-gay ideologues in attacking over-and-over again the hands that feed you.

  4. sickntired08 says:

    unlike the current generation of lgbt folks, I don’t need to play a victim to justify my life. Unlike many who has to keep bring up how they were discriminated against… I.E. the Boy Scouts, Where anyone who had read their manifesto would have read that they didn’t accept homosexuality.. However you made it your victim card…………

  5. sickntired08 says:

    also how did you know I like guano tea and Kopi Luwak coffee

  6. Matt Comer says:

    Sick said, “also how did you know I like guano tea and Kopi Luwak coffee”

    I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    re: “victim card”: I’m guessing your victim card is “Oh, poor me, I got left out of the LGBT Country Club!”

  7. NelsonG says:

    Are you admitting there is a country club, Matt?

  8. NelsonG says:

    And just what solution is that, Alvin? Groveling at Porno Pete and Matt Barber, acting like an uncle tom and cafeteria queer on their behalf so as to get them to like you?

  9. Matt Comer says:

    @NelsonG… Absolutely not. That whole meme y’all have going around is sad, pathetic, self-serving and oozing with misguided self-righteousness. The overwhelming majority of LGBT activists, bloggers and journalists would never qualify to become members of any country club I know of.

    Perhaps if you and others like SNT were more amiable, instead of so hostile and self-hating, more people, activists and bloggers might take you more seriously. Until then, I hope you enjoy the sad pity party you’ve set up for yourselves.

  10. sickntired08 says:

    Sick said, “also how did you know I like guano tea and Kopi Luwak coffee”
    Matt said, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Please, you claim i was bat-crazy ie the reference to the tea, I just throw the Kopi Luwak coffee in for fun…

    being left out of the so-called gay country club, please. I no longer need to go the bars and book stores or hang out at the college tearoom for fun, my partner and I have been together for 15 years, how about your current relationship, that is if you have one. I will not play by the rules these rich older white men that local activist do.

  11. Matt Comer says:

    Sick said, “I will not play by the rules”

    Wow, I didn’t realize you were still in your adolescence. I’ll try to remember to give you the same patience I give my 15- and 17-year-old brothers.

  12. sickntired08 says:

    please, I don’t think I brought anyone’s family into this.

    I don’t need you patience nor your damn respect, just like a don’t need so activist whom is being back by these rich men to speak on my behalf.

    Also please remember that the Truth can do more damage then a lie ever would. That is what our so-called rich backers are afraid of. The truth about us really getting out.

    I also notice that you did this piece here and not on Qnotes, I wonder why. I think I know, but will wait to see if any of this finds its way into not all NC qnotes newspaper.

  13. Nelson G says:

    I don’t have any meme going, Matt. In as much as you want to believe there’s a band, there isn’t one. I will remind you that we bloggers all used to be one big happy family, and then one day, a few of your colleagues in North Carolina, DC, and New York decided to make me an enemy, invoke NAMBLA and pedophillia and invite themselves of the requisite skills to edit me into non existence.

    And why is that, Matt? Because they didn’t like the fact that my coming out and outing involved special interest groups and an anti-gay cop who spends his day online role playing.

    I’m not playing by the rules either. Not anymore. I did it for far too long, having put aside my own life and ambitions so as to appease the deaf, dumb, blind, and ignorant and all it’s gotten me is having people like you and Spaulding and Hooper constantly playing your sick games that you have ethics and morals when here are two people telling you, on your blog, no you don’t.

    We got serious problems, and I’m telling you right, on your blog, that if you’re willing to lie so as to make yourself favorable to the opposition, I’m calling you out too.

    Whether you like or not.

    And I don’t give a flying fuck how many people read my blog, whether it’s one or one thousand. Because I’m not doing it for anyone else except me.

  14. Matt Comer says:

    QNotes has no affiliation with InterstateQ.com.

    “All opinions and commentaries are reflective only of individual authors and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions or positions of individual bloggers’ employers or the community organizations with which they might be affiliated.” src

  15. Matt Comer says:

    NelsonG said… “I’m not playing by the rules either. Not anymore. I did it for far too long, having put aside my own life and ambitions so as to appease the deaf, dumb, blind, and ignorant and all it’s gotten me is having people like you and Spaulding and Hooper constantly playing your sick games that you have ethics and morals when here are two people telling you, on your blog, no you don’t.”

    I can say the sky is pink. Doesn’t make it true.

  16. sickntired08 says:

    that would depend on the day of time and how the sun is setting…

  17. Matt Comer says:

    Touché. Touché, indeed. But, seriously, making outrageous claims with nothing to back them up is pretty useless and lame.

  18. sickntired08 says:

    just answer this one, i’m not the only one to complain about Chick-fil-A criticisms. so what made you pick my blog post to use this in your’s?

  19. Matt Comer says:

    Sick said, “what made you pick my blog post to use”

    I like to keep a local and North Carolina spin on my blog. You were the only gay person in North Carolina I knew of making excuses for Chick-fil-A. Plus, your comment about LGBT people being “bullies” fit in with my discussion of freedom of speech vs. freedom from criticism.

    What makes you make baseless accusations against hard-working, underpaid LGBT advocates and bloggers?

  20. sickntired08 says:

    they are not baseless, Chick-fil-A policies are not new, everyone have known that they were a Christian Company from day one. So why all of sudden is this a issue in our community.

    Simply because Jeremy, found out that a local Store were donating sandwiches to a Anti-marraige group.

    Our Community see any company who donate anything to any group/busines that don’t share our view on marriage should be attack.

    A company private or public traded, still have the right to do as they please with their money and products.

    many of those so-called poorly paid activist doesn’t truly have equality at heart.

    Just like a certain editor whom believe its a waste of time and resource to include eastern NC in Qnotes..

  21. sickntired08 says:

    don’t reply, just think about, from another point of view, just what our community is doing to other communities.

    This ends my comments on this matter

  22. Matt Comer says:

    Sick said, “don’t reply, just think about”

    My blog, my rules.

    Sick said, “A company private or public traded, still have the right to do as they please with their money and products.”

    You’re totally not getting the freedom of speech vs. freedom from criticism argument. I’m really starting to think you’re some right-wing loon out to paint yourself as an LGBT community member so you can win over converts to your warped, anti-gay, Uncle Tom points of view.

    Sick said, “This ends my comments on this matter”

    Good. I’m not sure I could handle much more crazy talk today. It’s giving me a headache.

  23. a.mcewen says:

    Dear Nelson,

    please go away. As seen by sickntired, the post of “lgbt blogger trying to make a name off of publicly attacking the lgbt community” is FILLED.

  24. Juan Claudio says:

    Good grief! Vote with your pocketbook and don’t eat where you feel no desire. We do have a 1st Amendment and it applies to everybody, not just to the GLBT community (or muslim, or jewish, or christian, or those vegan communities out there).

  25. a.mcewen says:

    I think that’s the point of the piece. What happened was that a certain bitter “thing” high-jacked the post to continue to talk about his “trials and tribulations.” He is like the Sarah Palin of the “gay-set.”

  26. Nelson G says:

    I’m a thing, huh, Alvin. You keep on calling what you do equality and I’ll keep pointing out how easy it is with my thirty followers to call you out and send you scurrying into the vast wildnerness known as Facebook and your papi Joe Brummer to help save and protect you.

    Gay, Inc
    Gay, Inc
    Gay, Inc.

    There. That should get you for a couple of hours.

  27. a.mcewen says:

    You are hilarious, Nelson. If you weren’t so filled with bitterness, you would be even funnier. That’s my last word on this. Please feel free to talk about me some more so that my hits can increase. LOL

  28. Lou says:

    Sadly, what Mr. Garcia and Mr. McEwen say about each other is correct on both counts. They’ve focused on the hate of others for so long, they’ve both become the hate they claim to be condemning.

  29. Jared says:

    Double standards at its best. If they sponsored some gay marriage rally i seriously doubt marriage groups would call for a boycott. Lets not forget for a moment. The very act of homosexuality is a pretty nasty and un-natural thing. Thats for poooopin not pumpin.

  30. Matt Comer says:

    @Jared… Stop being ridiculous and disingenuous. Anti-LGBT organizations boycott, target and harass LGBT-friendly companies all the time. And, no one is saying they don’t have the right to. Just as LGBT and allied folks have the right to criticize Chick-fil-A (as well as the company’s foundation) for all the support it gives to anti-LGBT causes.

    Re: “nasty and un-natural” You should read this:
    http://www.thegaymanifesto.com/2011/02/07/prostate-offers-proof-that-homosexuality-is-natural/

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