Hugh Hefner, Religion and the 1st Amendment

A Rice University freshman won national recognition for his work lobbying against teaching creationism in Louisiana public schools.

It’s difficult to reconcile Hugh Hefner, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and restricting what is taught in school. Mr Playboy has enjoyed much freedom of speech. Yet he sponsors an award that includes someone’s effort to deny that freedom in school.

The upside from this blogger’s point of view comes from the report stating the Rice student’s repeal effort has not passed in Louisiana. The student, Zack Kopplin, and ‘scientists’ supporting him view ‘the state’s broad inclusion of theories’ as ‘miseducation’.

Is it just me or does this make absolutely no sense? No matter your religious views the fact remains Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

For those who drink the liberal kool-aid and believe in separation of church and state I should only have to mention Justice Hugo Black. Separation of church and state was in the mind of Hugo Black and other liberals not the First Amendment or other Constitutional documents.

But even leaving that aside how is denying differing views in school ‘miseducation’? Is it any different from banning or burning books simply because you don’t agree with the content? I understand that certain restrictions to freedom of speech are reasonable. There is of course the well known exclusion of the right to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. It is unlawful to threaten with violence. Slander and libel are against the law.

Other than those restrictions or other similar limitations placed on freedom of speech dictating what can and cannot be discussed in school is a dangerous practice. Certainly there are some topics or subjects not appropriate for discussion in the schools that are not restricted by law. Responsible educators, parents and students can come to agreement on what is appropriate and reasonable.

Introducing students to the topics of creationism or intelligent design is no different than discussions of governments that differ from our own.

Stanford Matthews
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