Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
Expressing hate is a First Amendment right. What’s not a right is complete immunity from the consequences of using your First Amendment rights.
Unlike some people I see posting this e-card on Facebook, those who truly understand The Constitution know hate, though not encouraged, is a First Amendment right as it’s a form of expressing an idea. What about this card I find fault with is that it implies that just because something is protected by the First Amendment doesn’t mean it can’t be hateful.
For instance, The Klan is allowed to protest and tell you what it likes (bake sales, family) and what it does not like (Jews, blacks) because of rights afforded to it by The U.S. Constitution. Free speech allows the right of group and individuals to communicate messages that I don’t agree with. I don’t respect those values. But I do respect the values and bigger ideas of The U.S. Constitution. That’s why I also respect their right to express those views even though they make my blood boil (I hate bake sales, oh and people who hate blacks and Jews).
But some, like in the Case of Chick-fil-A, seem to confuse the freedom to express a viewpoint, with freedom from consequences of expressing that viewpoint. Or that expressing hate (or if not hate, anger or conviction) in a viewpoint affords immunity from additional reactions disapproval, outrage or action. A perception that seems to be on both sides of this debate.
I’m allowed to say, “Jews are the devil.” It’s hate. It’s also protected by the First Amendment. Because I’m protected in expressing my views doesn’t mean it’s not wrong or hateful. It just means no one is going to jail for it. Unless my hate become threatening or actually hurt someone.
A Burger King employee has every right to say, “Burger King hamburgers suck “ or express that he doesn’t like Mexicans. He can’t be jailed for it, because such expression is not a legal domain of government. However as a private concern, Burger King can fire him immediately simply because they don’t agree with it. Chick-fil-A could do the same with an employee that says they support same sex marriage for the same reason. Or under the belief that employee was, as their CEO said, were like Americans “shaking his fist” at God. Sounds like that’s saying this person is expressing hate towards God. And legally, they can fire him for it. He expressed his view. Didn’t go to jail. Company reacted with what was in their power to do. Everyone got full use of their rights.
With that in mind, Chick-fil-A can make the claim they are for family values or hate gays (whatever side you are on) but, like an employee, don’t expect freedom from the consequences of using your freedom of speech. That may be people coming to by more chicken sandwich to say they agree. Fine. Or sponsors pulling out and labeling you a hate organization. That’s also fine. Or like the executive from another company who, last week, filmed himself berating a Chick-fil-A employee at the drive through to express is displeasure with the company’s stance -then got fired by his own company. Like I said, this issue cuts both ways. And both sides are blind to it.
If you still don’t think hate is allowed by the First Amendment. Hypothetically imagine me coming up to you and saying your wife is a skank. Yes, I’m protected from government action. I’m probably going to find I’m not protected from your fist.
And people also wonder why some people post dumb or hateful things to Facebook and Twitter (some might think this post is one of them) because we seem to live in a social media culture that seem to believe our right to be heard is also a shield that offers protection from all responding to what we say. A silly notion that most deep down know is wrong. Most of us don’t carry this idea of impunity through to a face-to-face social gathering or business meeting (“Hey, Client, you’ve been quite the sinner lately.”). Because the consequences and problems we’d create are near and clear. Even Dan Cathy, thought his original statements that started the whole Chick-fil-A flare up were only heard by a limited, value friendly Christian radio audience. He didn’t expect but knew the consequences of expressing his values to the large public.
Sometime rights can still rub private citizens the wrong way. Whether you call it hate or God’s love, there can still be consequences.