For the life of me, I’ll never understand why some people believe the Constitution’sĀ guaranteeĀ 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. Continue reading this post…

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Public prayer losing ground in North Carolina?

buncombecountysealCounty commissioners in the sleepy, liberal town of Asheville, N.C., have made a “consensus” decision to end public prayer at their meetings.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners are set to bring the topic up for official discussion on Jan. 5. They’ll likely vote to stop opening board meetings with prayer. The move comes after a federal magistrate recommended a similar public prayer policy in Winston-Salem, N.C., violated the the First Amendment.

Continue reading this post…

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Freedom of the Press? Not in Charlotte

The Charlotte Observer reports:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have launched an internal investigation into a confrontation between an officer and a WBTV (Channel 3) photographer in which a camera was damaged and the photographer detained.

The incident occurred near midnight Friday. Travis Washington, a photographer with Channel 3 for about three years, was sent to the scene of a fatal accident on Interstate 485 near Beatties Ford Road.

Washington and a photographer for WSOC (Channel 9) were shooting video of the scene from an embankment overhead, next to the Beatties Ford Road bridge, said Dennis Milligan, news director of Channel 3.

“A couple CMPD officers started shouting orders at him to stop shooting. And they approached and continued to shout orders to take his camera down.

“He felt like he was doing his job. He asked them why. A female officer stepped up and started to grab the camera out of his hands, and it fell to the ground. She told him, ‘Because you’re not showing proper respect to people in the accident.’”

Washington was then handcuffed and put into a cruiser, where he was held for about an hour before being released without charges. He was treated afterward at an emergency room for a minor back injury related to the confrontation, said Milligan, who went to the scene after the station’s assignment desk alerted him.

Police took no action against the Channel 9 photographer.

The incident was recorded. That video hasn’t been released because it hasn’t yet been made available to investigators.

Dennis Milligan, WBTV news director said, “We have a difficult situation here because it’s not up to the Police Department or any police officer to decide what a newspaper or television station or radio station gathers at the scene of an accident.

“I’m hoping this is a limited situation with a police officer who, for whatever reason, had a lapse of judgment. We’re concerned about our First Amendment rights being compromised in this situation.”

Robin Whitmeyer, news director for Channel 9 said she’d never heard of police officers ordering reporters to shut off their cameras. “We control the content, and they control the scene,” she told The Observer. “It’s not their choice to tell us what to shoot or not to shoot.”

Read the whole article here.