Freedom Of Speech Isn't Necessarily Smart Speech

Chip Greene By Chip Greene, 8th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

How the First Amendment and freedom of speech was upheld in Garland, Texas

My mother was wise

When I was growing up one of my mother's pet peeves was, "I may not agree with what you have to say but, I will defend to the death your right to say it." My mother was wise and so were the men who wrote the Constitution of the United States.
Freedom of speech is an integral part of the First Amendment of the Constitution. This doesn't necessarily mean that what you have to say is a wise thing to say. If the First Amendment only protected speech that the majority approved of we wouldn't even need freedom of speech written into the Constitution. The First Amendment is designed to protect the type of speech that is offensive to many.

Mohammad art and cartoon contest

This past week, on March 3, the First Amendment's freedom of speech clause was put to the test in Garland, Texas. Pamela Geller held a $10,000 Mohammed art and cartoon contest. Geller is the president of the AFDI, ( American Freedom Defense Initiative). The exhibit featured images of Islam's prophet in both historical and contemporary settings. In the Islamic religion drawing a likeness of Mohammed is considered blasphemous. Keller stated that, "This event will stand for free speech and show that Americans will not be cowed by violent Islamic intimidation." The event was held at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. In February this was the site of a Muslim conference denouncing 'Islamophobia'. It is also in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France. There, the editorial staff of the paper was murdered by Islamic extremists who objected to cartoons, that were published by them.

A lone traffic cop

The Garland, Texas event required massive security. Sure enough, two Islamic extremists drove 1000 miles from Phoenix, Arizona to attack the event. They pulled up in their car and exited their vehicle wielding automatic AK-47 rifles and wearing body armor. A lone Garland, Texas traffic cop working the detail stopped the two terrorists. Using his Glock .45 caliber handgun he slew both of them before they could enter the building. He did this when he was outgunned and out-manned. He is being praised for his actions.

Permitted speech

Obviously, this contest was not a smart thing to do. But, Pamela Geller has made her point. There are numerous other examples of freedom of speech that is not intelligent but, is protected by the First Amendment.
Andres Serrano's, "Piss Christ," a photo of a crucifix in a jar of urine is one. It won a competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Virgin Mary covered in dung is another.
The Westboro Baptist Church protesting against Jews and gays at military funerals is one.
All of these are protected by the First Amendment.
The winner of the Garland, Texas, Mohammad art contest?
Artist, Bosch Faustein, a former Muslim. His cartoon featured a grimacing prophet Mohammed wielding a sword while saying, "You can't draw me! The artists hand is pictured wielding a pencil drawing the cartoon and saying, "That's why I drew you."
Faustein received the first prize check. He was also banned on Facebook and added to the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate list.
Pamela Geller has had a fatwa issued against her by a Muslim mufti. This is essentially a death sentence. She has subsequently increased her security detail.

Reference links and photo credits

Reference link

The First Amendment

Photo credits

The First Amendment

Pamela Geller

The Garland, Texas attackers

The winning cartoon
public domain


Freedom Of Speech, Garland, Pamela Geller, Protected Speech, Texas, The First Amendment

Meet the author

author avatar Chip Greene
I am a retired police officer, baseball enthusiast, political junkie, and published writer.
My articles will focus on crime, politics, and baseball.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th May 2015 (#)

Blasphemy has provided the church with a shield against free speech for centuries. In the West it is now generally accepted that Christian churches must accept criticism and cannot use blasphemy to stop speech in opposition to the church.

It may not be wise but the drawing of images of Mohammed is one of the most obvious ways to oppose Islamic blasphemy laws.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
10th May 2015 (#)

Islamists living in freedom-loving America ought to get used to the freedoms we all have and enjoy. Saying, sketching, or expressing in any way what we think is a right we maintain in this country.

Pamela Geller didn't give a pile of cow dung whether she offended anybody with her contest. If Islamists weren't so offensive, maybe some Americans like Geller wouldn't be offending them so much. And, if they don't like what we rightfully do in this country, it is always an option to leave.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?