.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Freedom to report requires another freedom

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Freedom to report the news requires the freedom to gather it.

    In the months ahead, that basic concept — so central to the First Amendment’s protection of a free press — will also be at the heart of the ongoing debate over how far government officials may go in pursuit of those responsible for “leaking” classified information to journalists.

  • GUEST OPINION: Graduation prayer fights a lost cause

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    School officials in Lake City, Arkansas have come up with a novel solution to the fight over prayer at graduation:
    No prayer, no graduation.

    On May 6, the school board voted to cancel sixth-grade graduation at Lake City’s two elementary schools.

    The action came soon after the district received a complaint letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation objecting to prayers at previous graduations.

    Rather than drop the prayers, the district opted to drop the entire ceremony.

  • AP records seizure an affront to a free press

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    What The Associated Press calls “a massive and unprecedented intrusion by the Department of Justice”(DOJ) into its news gathering activities is more than an affront to a free press — it’s a direct challenge.

  • Rutherford Co. Commandments issue revisted

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    It’s been almost 10 years since the Rutherford County, lost a very expensive lawsuit over the posting of the Ten Commandments in the county courthouse.
    The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Commission, contending that the posting was an unconstitutional promotion of religion.  U.S. Judge Robert Echols agreed and ordered the Ten Commandments removed in 2004.  It will “stay down,” County Mayor Ernest Burgess said at the time, calling it “the end of the story.”

  • GUEST OPINION: Praise our teachers for important work

    By GERA SUMMERFORD
    Tennessee Education Association
    Public education reform has been a hot-button topic at both the state and federal levels for several years.  

    When the Bush Administration passed No Child Left Behind, the plan called for every student in every public school achieving specific learning goals by 2014.  

    Since its passage, we have seen an increase in standardized and high-stakes tests across the nation and here in Tennessee, since many reformers believe the only way to measure student achievement is through testing.

  • GUEST OPINION: Tragedies reshape news reporting effort

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Two national tragedies separated by six years and a day – the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon and the April 16, 2007, mass shooting at Virginia Tech University – also are notable in marking how technology is reshaping our freedoms of speech and press.

  • GUEST OPINION: Flower refusal at gay wedding now legal issue

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Imagine Robert Ingersoll’s hurt and humiliation last month when his local florist refused to do the flower arrangements for his wedding to Curt Freed, his partner of nine years.

    As longtime customers of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Wash., Ingersoll and Freed had mistakenly assumed that shop owner Barronelle Stutzman would be happy to provide the service.

    But also imagine the pain Stutzman felt at having to turn down a friend and neighbor.

  • GUEST OPINION: States’ Ag-Gag bill should make us all feel sick

    By KEN PAULSON
    President, First Amendment Center

    Imagine Upton Sinclair with an iPhone.

    Sinclair went undercover in 1904 to document squalid conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants, leading to his muckraking novel The Jungle.

    His reporting led to new public health laws two years later.

    In today’s social media world, Upton’s expose would have gone viral.

    Sure, we would have lost a classic book, but just consider the retweets.
    That possibility unsettles some in the agriculture industry.

  • GUEST OPINION: College should respect right to put out fliers

    A student at Des Moines Area Community College is challenging the school’s limits on leafleting on First Amendment grounds.

    Jacob Dagel has filed a lawsuit in federal court contending that the school’s restrictions on distributing fliers violates his free speech rights, according to the Des Moines Register.

    The college requires a 10-day notice and limits distribution of leaflets to a single hallway in the student services center.

  • GUEST OPINION: NC proposal does not protect religious liberty

    Here’s a quick primer on a recent proposal by two North Carolina legislators to permit the state to designate a state religion:
    First, the North Carolina Speaker of the House effectively killed the proposal one day after it was filed, saying it “will not advance” to a committee hearing.

    Second, even if enacted, it would not survive constitutional scrutiny under existing Supreme Court decisions.