In their continued misinterpretation of the First Amendment right to free speech, Trump supporters and other Republicans howl about people being “too sensitive” and violating their right to say what’s on their minds, which is protected by the Constitution. They always skip over the part about whether or not it’s harmful to say such things. Americans have the right to do many things: cheat on their spouses, hang Nazi flags on their houses, and criticize their employers in public.
None of those things, however, are without social consequences. It’s not about what you can do, it’s about how what you do defines you as a person.
CAIR-OK: Local Islamic group demanding meeting with Oklahoma County official over social media posts
Officials with CAIR say they don't want County Assessor Larry Stein to lose… https://t.co/HaYgk9EOZ9
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) March 26, 2019
Stein’s offensive posts have since been deleted, but according to KFOR, they read:
‘There hasn’t been this great of a racial divide in America since the 1850’s. Congrats to the thugs and animals in Ferguson.’
Racism didn’t end in 1850, and it was the reasons for the protests, which is institutional racism, that was responsible for this particular divide. It wasn’t the victims of that racism who caused the divide, it was the perpetrators.
‘No shirt, no shoes, no service. Which Islamic halal restaurant can I go to and demand they cook a pig for me?’
You can’t walk into any restaurant in the United States and demand that someone prepare a dish that isn’t on the menu. Are these the rights white people are being denied that has Stein so up in arms, the right to demand food a restaurant doesn’t serve?
‘This is a religion of peace is the biggest lie.’
The message of Islam is all about peace. The failure to separate an entire religious ideology from the actions of a few people is exactly the problem.
— #TrumpPenceMustGo (@RefuseFascism) March 27, 2019
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) requested a meeting with Stein to discuss the posts, but have so far been denied. Executive Director of Cair Adam Soltani said that the posts and the message they send are harmful to a community still reeling from the mass shooting in New Zealand that left 50 Islamic worshipers dead in their mosque.
‘It not only hurts me personally, but it hurts our community and it makes me worry about the safety and security of the Muslim community.’
Communications between CAIR and Stein’s office show that the official excuse for not yet honoring the meeting request is that Stein, a county assessor in Oklahoma, is “too busy” for any such meeting. CAIR was not impressed with the excuse.
‘Even though we understand he’s a busy individual, this should be something of a priority, especially in this day in age, when hate rhetoric has an impact on marginalized communities…It is irresponsible to abuse the freedom of speech in promoting rhetoric that would only cause hate’
After deleting the offensive and harmful posts, Stein then released a statement ranting about his rights as a white male citizen of the United States to hurt whomever he likes. After all, Dr. Martin Luther King fought for that right, according to Stein.
‘I have removed my private personal thoughts, shared on a webpage, that proves some people have very thin skin and may try to bully those who speak things they don’t like to hear. The First Amendment, the freedom of speech and religion, is for everyone. National radio talk show hosts and many others used the same word to reference the lawless, Ferguson rioters and law breakers. Great thinkers have written, ‘Without laws, men are just animals.’ This type of lawless behavior is terrible and the same term would apply to everyone who is lawlessly rioting and destroying personal property, it’s the lack of character, just as Dr. King warned. Lawlessness, rioting and mob rule are always wrong. If someone was offended by the use of the term, do they support the rioters actions and oppose the First Amendment? If someone wants to deny my Free Speech rights guaranteed in the constitution, that is appalling. When can we expect Dr. King’s dream to become a reality, judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin?
‘I have been and always will be opposed to anyone who enacts violence on others, no matter what race or religion. I feel our friends at CAIR-OK have misled the media about demanding to meet with me within a certain time frame and also have misled the media and others about my social media posts of several years ago that decried the act of murder by extremists and violent destructive mobs. As a Christian, I pray for peace each day. I hope people in all faith communities will join me in doing the same.
Featured image screenshot via Facebook