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The Freedom of Speech and Press
Transcript of The Freedom of Speech and Press
Period 4 The Westboro Baptist Church Prayer of Devotion to God's Gifts Holy God, I pray to be filled
with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day.
Let me go forth,
walking with your Spirit in my heart,
that I may be filled with the joy
and energy and praise for your entire creation,
thankful in the many gifts you have given me,
and showing forth your light
in my every word and deed.
This I pray in Christ's name,
Amen. (Source: Daily Prayer <http://dailyprayer.us/daily_devotion.php>) “The Church is the expert on man, and it teaches that God created man with an unchanging human nature. Neither his nature nor anything that flows from it changes, although the political contexts in which they are enjoyed, and the manner in which they are recognized and enforced, do change” (Toolin). Catholic Church believes that the right of freedom of speech and press allows nations to coexist among truth and allows one to fully live a dignified life. As humans, our spiritual development is imperfect, so the institutions and cultures we thrive off of can abuse our basic freedoms instead of promote the common good. So, the Church urges us to base our efforts on God, who gave us these gifts and not be "run by our own creations". Rights VS. Freedom Speech and press are censored in some countries but the right to free speech and press agrees with God's desire at creation to give us free will and create us in his own "Divine image". Think about the differences. Do you think we can have rights without freedom? Freedom without rights? Freedom: the undefined gift that allows us to develop communities of justice and express our inner spirituality Rights: the protection of our freedom to speak and access information as we wish, promotes our God given basic right Spirit Into Action John XXII in Pacem in Terris, stresses free speech along with other divine rights is only a “capacity to be in possession of oneself in view of the genuine good” (Toolin). According to the Church, we cannot only legally promote but go beyond to exercise our freedom in consideration for the common good. Overall, both are important in our human existence. "With great powers comes great responsibility" (Stan Lee). Freedom of Speech and Press is...Unalienable (cannot legitimately deprive), Indivisible (whole), Universal (always present) (The Compendium). Ultimate source of human rights is not in our will or our governments, but between man, his free spirit, and his Creator (The Compendium). Psalm 8:7-8 reads "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands: / Thou hast put all things under his feet." In what way could we use God's gifts in a disgraced way? (Example: Westboro) How does our responsibility apply in our world? Freedom of speech is not secular, but always will remain associated with God so must discern politics and structures to ensure that all voices are heard and valued. Founded on God, connected to a commitment to our faith. Ultimate Goal: Dignity, Understanding, Life, Fulfillment Protestors are founder Fred Phelps and his family, along with church goers and followers Believe that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God’s punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality (Leibowitz) Founded by Fred Phelps in 1955 in Topeka, Kansas Has a notorious reputation (Protested) in over 400 military funerals of troops whom God has killed in Iraq/Afghanistan in righteous judgment against an evil nation Snyder vs. Phelps Case Background Snyder vs. Phelps Decision by Supreme Court WBC engages in demonstrations opposing the homosexual lifestyle and has conducted 49,843 such demonstrations since June, 1991 The WBC believes "God is punishing troops for America's tolerance of homosexuality and has called upon the church to spread this message" March 2006, WBC flew protestors to the funeral of Matthew Snyder (He was a 20 yr. old Lance Corporal who had been killed in Iraq that month.) The group held a demonstration holding signs that displayed provocative and unethical messages Albert Snyder filed a lawsuit for the emotional pain they caused Albert Snyder won $2.9 million in compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages. However, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the jury's decision with an 8 to 1 majority. Courts key findings: The church members had previously alerted local authorities and complied with the police who told where the picketing could be displayed. The protest was under police supervision 1000 feet away and there was no shouting or violence. The distressed caused by the WBC was based on the viewpoint of the message and had no interference with the funeral itself. The Phelpses’ statements were protected under the First Amendment and thus could not be subject to a civil lawsuit. Was seeking millions in damages in an attempt to silence the group and to protect other families coping with the loss of loved ones The Court There are two main sides that pertain to this case... Chief Justice Roberts stated that this case was different because Snyder and his family were private citizens.
He explained the Supreme Court’s decision: “Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and- as it did here- inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”
Free speech is not free speech if it limits by case of what someone wants to hear. Juctice Samuel Alito was the sole member of the Supreme Court that voted against the WBC. He stated, "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case."
Forty-eight states, 42 members of the Senate, and many veteran organizations, agreed with Alito, asking the court to “shield funerals” from the Westboro Baptist Church’s “psychological terrorism." The grey area is that speech may not be entirely bad or entirely good.
Although freedom of speech is, most times, connected to a positive light, it can sometimes be abused, like in the case of Snyder and Phelps.
It is a complex topic that cannot usually be addressed in a black and white way causing people to question the applications of freedoms needed for a just world. The Importance of Communication Form two to three groups of no more than 10 people What other words could best describe the importance of these rights? Do these words describe our world today? After you circle up, grab two different people's hands across from you in the circle Now, without talking,
try and untangle yourself
to form a circle Gray Area? Because the issue causes such conflict, is it worth it to still fight for free speech? Why or why not? Let's talk How and why was this simple exercise so difficult?
Would it have been easier to talk? Why?
How can the lessons of this game be applied on a global scale? Works Cited/Consulted“Company Overview.” Google. Google. Nd. Web. 3 Feb. 2013. <http://www.google.com/about/company>“Freedom of Expression.” American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union. 31 Oct, 2005. Web. 3 Feb. 2013. <http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/freedom-expression>Friedman, Ian C. Freedom of Speech and the Press. New York: Facts On File, 2005. Print.“Internet Censorship in China.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 8 Dec. 2012. Web. 3 Feb. 2013. <http://www.topics.nytimes.com.html>Leibowitz, Barry. “Westboro Baptist Church Wins Supreme Court Ruling Over Protests at Military Funerals.” CBS News. 2 March 2011. Web. 5 February 2013. <http://www.cbsnews.com.html>Musielak, Leonard. “‘Google-ing’ China: An ethical analysis of Google’s censorship activities in the People’s Republic.” Np. Nd. Web. 3 Feb. 2013.<http://www.snl.depaul.edu/writing> Petri, Alexandra. “The Strange Blessings of Westboro Baptist Church.” The Washington Post. 17 Dec. 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs>Sherman, Mark. “Westboro Baptist Church Wins Supreme Court Appeal Over Funeral Protests.” Huff Post. 2 March 2011. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/02/westboro-baptist-churchw_n_830209.html>Stoutzenberger, Joseph, and Suzy R. Eyler. Justice and Peace: Our Faith in Action. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Religion, 2007. Print.Toolin, Cynthia. "Political and Catholic Perspectives on the Freedoms of Speech and Religion." Social Justice Review. Catholic Central Verein of America , 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 5 Jan. 2013. <http://www.socialjusticereview.org/>.“What We Believe.” Google. Google. Nd. Web. 3 Feb. 2013. <http://www.google.com/about/company/philosophy/>Zeinert, Karen. Free Speech: From Newspapers to Music Lyrics. Springfield, N.J., U.S.A.: Enslow, 1995. Print. Freedom of Speech & of the Press How would YOU define these freedoms? What do you think is the difference between the two? Much of the conflict around these freedoms comes from simply trying to agree on a definition Freedom of Speech For the purpose of discussion: Freedom of Speech can be defined as the right to communicate ideas and thoughts freely, without outside interference or censorship. On the most basic level, this freedom calls for the ability to communicate ideas without fear of suppression Freedom of the Press Freedom of the Press can be more specifically defined as the freedom of an organization to communicate national and world events without interference or censorship from the government. In particular, freedom of the press calls for the ability to raise the awareness of a certain audience http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/press-freedom.jpg http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/press-freedom.jpg http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/tangled-ball-wires_bxp66045-e1335777945365.jpg?w=300&h=277 Is it necessary? Together, these freedoms form the basis of communication and understanding, laying the groundwork for peace & justice. Because of this, these freedoms transcend just one issue. Instead, they are involved in the moral values at the root of all activism and problem solving, from anti-war movements to the civil-rights movement. Our textbook reminds us that biblical prophets were the "mouthpieces" of God, using their ability to communicate to spread God's Word. (Stoutzenberger) Google vs CHINA Westboro
Church Introduction For three years, Chinese government censors have prohibited Google searches of the English word “Freedom”. Chinese Communist Party (CCP): Total control of all forms of communication
Great Firewall of China Digital filter system Effectiveness vs. efficiency Companies self censor Google vs China: Google Threatened to withdraw from China unless searches were unfiltered
Cited cyber attacks on human rights advocates through email
Used uncensored search engine in Hong Kong http://davidlivermore.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/google-china-blogsearch-large1.png Google vs China: China Stated companies doing business in the country must follow the law
Blocked entire Google domain for 2 weeks Until June 2010 Google and Beijing government signed license renewal for Google in China http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/121109083003-google-china-monster.jpg Google in China Market of 3 million internet users in China
Internet executives state Chinese people have no interest in censored material http://cdn.emergingmoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/chinese-internet-users-in-internet-cafe.jpg Utilitarian Ethics Defines morality by net value of good or evil Kantian Ethics Defines morality by the process of actions Universalizability: “Persons, or in this case companies, have the duty to commit only those actions which could be universally applied” Discussion Imagine a world where every company agreed to self censor for access to international markets- No freedom of speech Multinational corporations have the ability to influence social change and the obligation to promote universal freedoms “What We Believe”
“The need for information crosses all borders” What role does free speech take in a world of easier and easier communication?
Should our universal freedoms change as we gain more exposure to other cultures? http://thefosburyflop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/lgppr40105great-power-great-responsibility-spiderman-art-print.jpg Summary Our ability and freedoms of speech and press are both an amazing opportunity and a tremendous responsibility Often the root of conflict is a lack of understanding, making speech and communication extraordinarily powerful As seen in China, freedom of speech can take on very different meanings, which is something we should be mindful of
As seen with the WBC, it is all to easy to abuse our freedom of Speech and Press. They serve as a reminder of the damage negative communication can cause to a just world Church teachings follow a similar theme, urging followers to use their gifts and opportunities Ad maiorem Dei gloriam ("For the greater glory of God"). Summary Cont. http://www.towson.edu/itrow/images/gender%20difference%20and%20communication.jpg http://catholic-resources.org/Images/Jesuit/AMDG.jpg Questions?