The Constitution, 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.
The free speech part is a vitally important part of our heritage and national law. It’s what enables us to allow even the most reprehensible forms of speech to be allowed in a variety of public places. However, legally allowed is one thing and toleration is another. There are forms of speech that are vicious, hate filled and incite the worst of human behavior and thought. We are accustomed, at least to the idea, that Christian leaders must, in some way, stand against such forms of speech, and we see that in response to Klan and white supremacist rallies that are held from time-to-time and in place-to-place.
So what kind of response is called for when such a voice gains a significant place through a nation wide platform such as AM talk radio? I’m not talking about the ordinary right wingers who fill the airways with their ranting every hour of the day and night. I may vigorously disagree with almost everything they say as being utterly inane, but for the most part, it is not pathologically toxic to the well being of our society. There are a few radio talk show hosts, such as Chicago based Michael Savage, who are. Savage is broadcast in our area over at least two different local stations, and his program is a cornucopia of hate filled racism, egregiously twisted versions of the news, and language intended to incite the very worst in human behavior by appealing to the very worst in human prejudice and bigotry. Under the Constitution he has every right to speak, and we are compelled to defend that right, but that is not the same thing as entitlement to a nation wide radio audience. I suggest that you listen to a couple of his shows – listen all the way through and then tell me what you think.