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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Shield law may have unintended consequences

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    Inside the First Amendment
    We’re all facing a tough decision by Congress later this year — and it’s not about the federal budget or national health care policy.

    A question that ultimately will affect us all involves a bill with the innocuous name “Free Flow of Information Act.”

  • GUEST OPINION: Stills honored for free speech through music

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    In the 221 years since ratification of the Bill of Rights, Americans have had the right to speak out. And sing out.

    In recognition of the power of free speech set to music, the First Amendment Center and the Americana Music Association join together each year to honor a prominent musician who has used his or her music to contribute to the markeplace of ideas.  

  • GUEST OPINION: When God-talk by children is protected speech

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    If you ask a class of fifth-graders to write about someone they “look up to,” don’t be shocked when at least one of them decides to write about God.

    That’s exactly what happened in Millington, Tenn., earlier this month when 10-year-old Erin selected God as her idol because, as she explained, “He is the reason I am on this earth.”

  • GUEST OPINION: E-debate prompted by Syrian mess

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    There’s nothing good to find in the current standoff between the Syrian government and the United States — people there are dying as diplomats ponder, politicians posture and nations take strategic sides.

    But consider the value of “free press” and “free speech” in taking to an amazing new level the public debate in the United States over what to do next — a process that in many nations surely would have been a secretive discussion.

  • GUEST OPINION: Put a face to faith to stop war madness

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    No quick fix — diplomatic or military — will dissolve the centuries of distrust and rivalry that fuel the sectarian conflict in Syria, where Alawites and Shiites are pitted against Sunnis, with Christians caught in the crossfire.

    The same can be said of the many other religious and ethnic wars raging around the globe.

  • OUR OPINION: We applaud Sen. Alexander’s efforts to lead

    We were glad that Roane County’s Tea Party was not formally listed among other Tea Party groups who declared their intentions this summer to oust U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee from office in next year’s Republican primary.

    In these divided, divisive times, Alexander — a Republican — has shown leadership and courage by attempting to reaching across party lines and actually serve the people. Apparently, that’s where many Tea Partyers draw the line.

  • GUEST OPINION: Equal rights, decent jobs still issues today

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center

    Labor Day weekend this year was just a few days past the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famed “I have a Dream” speech.

    On Aug. 28, 1963, King’s speech closed out the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”

    It set out a historic milepost in civil rights movement.

    But King and other speakers — including Walter Reuther, long-time president of the United Auto Workers — also called for equal opportunity in employment.

  • GUEST OPINION: Religion fight at Kansas school unnecessary

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Back to school means back to culture wars for Minneha Core Knowledge Elementary School in Wichita, Kan.

    On the very first day of school, someone snapped a photo of a bulletin board display in the hallway featuring the Five Pillars of Islam and then posted it on Facebook.

    “This is a school that banned all forms of Christian prayer,” said the caption under the photo. “This can not stand.”

  • GUEST OPINION: We all hold the news media accountable

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Given that the First Amendment precludes the government from being an actual “watchdog on news media,” who else steps in to call the news media to account?

    In today’s world, increasingly it is citizen — critics or organizations outside of mainstream journalism, empowered by the Web’s ability for two-way conversations and comments, and by independence from past restraints of expensive printing presses and broadcast machinery.

  • GUEST OPINION: Gay equality trumps religious objections

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    In the wake of two favorable Supreme Court decisions, gay-rights proponents got another boost this month with the release of State of the First Amendment: 2013, a public-opinion survey supported by the First Amendment Center.

    According to the new poll, a majority of Americans (62 percent) now agrees that religiously affiliated groups receiving government funds can be required to provide health benefits to same-sex couples, even if the group has religious objections to same-sex marriage or partnerships.