What does Andrew Lanza not understand about freedom of speech

Recently, New York state senator Andrew Lanza took issue with a billboard in New York City’s Times Square that expressed the sentiment that Christmas can be celebrated without Christ.  The billboard was placed in the popular tourist destination by American Atheists, a group that advocates for the protection of the rights of non-believers, atheists, agnostics, and other members of the secular community.

Specifically, Mr. Lanza described the organization as an “intolerant and hateful”.  He goes on further to say that:

“Not only do the people behind this group not believe in God but they obviously don’t believe in decency, civility and kindness to fellow human kind either. This is part of a continued “War on Christmas” and also upon the belief and value system of millions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim people who have faith in God. Religious persecution of the kind that similarly lead to the Holocaust began with  small evil baby steps of ridicule and hatred of the religious beliefs of others.”

Mr. Lanza went on to ask residents of and tourists visiting the city to boycott Times Square as a sign of protest against the billboard’s message.

What struck me about Mr. Lanza’s tone was that it is reminiscent of the very tone that Adolf Hitler used to highlight and target Jews in Germany, making a minority of people out to be a threat to society.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  History’s unfortunate lesson was that the failure of the German people to avoid this hateful narrative led to the murder of millions of innocents. This is why groups like American Atheists,The Freedom from Religion Foundation, and Black Nonbelievers exist, so that someone steps up and protects the rights of nonbelievers when they come under vicious attack by members of the state.

The Andrew Lanzas and Rick Santorums of the world concern me for that reason.  They can use their considerable platforms in attempts to abridge our human right to free thought and constitutional right to free speech.  What part of the Constitution do they not understand?  Mr. Lanza’s call for American Atheists’ 501(c)(3) status to be revoked shows that he respects the establishment of religion, that he would put religion and religious belief in a position superior to non-religious views and non-belief.  If anyone is being malicious, it is Mr. Lanza.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
This entry was posted in atheism, civil rights, Establishment Clause, free speech, free thought, freedom from religion, human rights, libertarian, religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What does Andrew Lanza not understand about freedom of speech

  1. Ken Ciszewski says:

    First, this billboard is obviously not a “War of Christmas” or Christians or any other religious faith–it simply gives a different, and perhaps not mainstream point of view. Lanza’s statements suggest than those who don’t believe in God (especially ‘his” God) can’t be decent people. He conveniently forgets all the things that have been done in the name of various religions that were damaging and destructive. The practice of religion is like any other act–it has both positive effects and negative effects, because, after all, none of us are perfect, and sometimes we behave badly. The goal of religion should be to encourage people to act in a more civil and courteous manner toward others. It appears Lanza’s religion has not succeeded in teaching him that in this particular case.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s