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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: No one wins in today’s religious freedom climate

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    In recent months, legislators in more than a dozen states — from Hawaii to Georgia — have attempted to enact laws they describe as necessary to protect religious freedom.

    Some are broad “religious freedom restoration acts” very similar to laws already on the books in many states.

    Others are amendments to existing laws aimed at allowing businesses to deny wedding services to gay couples on religious grounds.

  • GUEST OPINION: Celebrating two First Amendment landmarks

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    No one I know sent flowers or candy, but on March 9 we all had cause to celebrate the anniversaries of two very different First Amendment landmark moments.

    Sixty years ago, on March 9, 1954, CBS’ Edward R. Murrow hosted an episode of the prime-time television program “See It Now,” in which he successfully exposed Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s mean-spirited and shoddy tactics in pursuing alleged communists in the U.S. government.

  • GUEST OPINION: Something was missed in debate in Arizona

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto last week of SB 1062 — a controversial “religious freedom” bill few Americans read and even fewer understood — may well have been a defining moment in the history of gay rights in America.

    Post SB 1062, it will be politically difficult, if not impossible, to pass laws that are perceived to allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — even to protect religion, even in red states with Tea Party-favored governors.

  • School prayer push more about power than it is blessings

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES

    First Amendment Center

    Never say die.

    That must be the motto of politicians, religious leaders and school leaders who keep pushing for state-sponsored prayers in public schools more than 50 years after the Supreme Court struck down the practice as a violation of the Establishment clause of the First Amendment.

  • GUEST OPINION: Headlight flash can be free speech issue

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    If you associate the First Amendment more with the rarified air of constitutional debate, or powdered wigs and colonial days, try thinking in more modern terms — say speed traps and blinking headlights.

    For most of us, much of the Bill of Rights comes into play infrequently, if ever.

    A few examples: According to a 2013 survey, only one in three U.S. households are home to a firearm (Second Amendment).

  • GUEST OPINION: Putin’s shiny Olympic village a civil-rights ruse

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent more than $50 billion — more than all previous Winter Games combined — to unveil a “new Russia” at the Sochi Olympics.

    But Sochi’s shiny new infrastructure is little more than a Potemkin village, an extravagant ruse designed to deceive the world about the true nature of Putin’s police state.

  • GUEST OPINION: More free speech in the face of bigotry

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment CenterOne of the most difficult times for the public image of the First Amendment is when its protection for freedom of expression means sheltering speech that most people find offensive, degrading or vile.

  • GUEST OPINION: A father makes case for medical marijuana

    By TIMOTHY J. VOGUS
    The Tennessee General Assembly is beginning to consider a bill, HB 1385, known as the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act.  We are strong supporters of this legislation out of necessity — it may help save our son’s life.

    Like one of the namesakes of the bill, Piper Koozer, our 11-year-old son Aidan suffers from devastating seizures every day.   

  • GUEST OPINION: Public notice — a success story for Tennessee

    By FRANK GIBSON

    TPA Public Policy Director 

    Residents of Mount Judea, Ark., woke up one morning recently to learn that their small community is about to become host to a hog farm – population 6,503 hogs.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Curmudgeonly comments on current events

    This week’s contribution is an admixture of miscellaneous comments, mainly on recent events.

    First there is the contretemps in which Gov. Chris Christie finds himself, and his reaction to it.