Once again, some jerk has caused a ruckus about the issue of 1st Amendment rights in the United States. A so-called “pastor”, who has also been labeled a “former used-furniture salesman” and “charlatan”, has made a name for himself around the world with the aid of talk radio idiots and cable news outlets. This is not a free speech issue, to my mind; this is a matter of providing a forum for a self-promoting showman, who has used the ease of exploiting the religiously gullible to start a “church”. The media are helping him to increase awareness of his bogus “religion” and raise money for his personal aggrandizement. Freedom of speech has many uses. I won’t get into the harm he has done to relations between religions.
I have no problem with people saying anything they want. Of course, I don’t want to hear what most people have to say. But, why must idiotic statements or ramblings by self-serving, stupid fools be broadcast and repeatedly re-broadcast? Why must such garbage be printed and re-printed, blogged and re-blogged? If no one listens, hears, or reads something stupid, has it been uttered? The fault lies not with consciously inflammatory jerk, but rather with anyone that repeats their words.
There is an institution in London known as Speaker’s Corner, where anyone can say whatever outrageous thought they may conjure. The good things is: none of this blather is ever repeated beyond the confines of this bit of real estate. The words travel no farther than the range of the person’s voice and are muted by the din of traffic, neighboring ranters, and heckling.
People should be allowed to speak out, blog writers should be allowed to vent, and letter-writers should be allowed to address editors, but their rants, opinions, and self-serving causes should go no farther.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.