Monday, March 19, 2007

Free speech, as long as you don't talk about Jesus.

The year was 2002. The place: Juneau, Alaska. The torch relay for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics came through town, and enterprising high school senior (that's Grade 12 to you and me) Joseph Frederick decided to have a little fun across the street.

You see, Frederick and his buddies put together a 14-foot (that's 4.26-metre to you and me) banner that said "BONG HITS 4 JESUS", and they held it high as the relay passed. Frederick claims the banner didn't promote drug use and was a nonsensical joke meant to test his free-speech rights. (Apparently, pro-drug statements aren't covered under the US Constitution's First Amendment.)

The school's principal, one Deborah Morse, gave him a nice little suspension, because the school was officially in attendance at the torch relay and, even though the banner was across the street on public property, Morse contended that the "pro-drug" banner wasn't suitable for a school event.

Sounds like a fun little news story, doesn't it?

Well, it's gone all the way to the US Supreme Court.

I shit you not.

Incidentally, the lawyer representing Morse is Ken Starr. Does that name ring a bell? It should, because he was the Republican Party's primary attack-dog during the Clinton years, trying to bring Slick Willy down first in the Whitewater real-estate controversy (which probably led to the suicide — some say murder — of Vince Foster), then got the wheels going on the impeachement hearings after Bill "did not... have... sexual relations with that woman."

Also incidentally, Ken Starr is still a loyal friend to the Republican Party.

Very incidentally, the Republican Party is tied in with the whole evangelical Christian movement.

Even more incidentally, the banner had the word "Jesus" on it.

Incredibly incidentally, Starr is offering his services pro bono. (That's "for free" to you and me).

Meanwhile, a quagmire of a war sold on deliberately falsified pretenses rages on in Iraq.

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