Posts Tagged ‘First Amendment’

Real World Graduation: Question 27

RealWorldGraduation_Question_27   <– PDF

A group of artists has assembled samples of their work and have displayed them at public venues. Among the works is one that portrays child molestation as desirable, one that blatantly mocks Christians, one that ridicules the notion of hard work and sensible spending, and one that celebrates violence against women.  All of them have high-scale production values.   They are not cheap efforts designed only to get attention; they are serious artwork.


All of these works of art have themes that are contrary to traditional values, and in fact, turn out to be commercial failures. Why would artists knowingly and willingly spend their talents in this manner?

a) They are trying to find the limits of what is protected by the First Amendment

b) They are trying to illustrate the obsolescence of the traditional moral values by example.

c) It is usually the truly visionary people who tend to become artists; it is their job to instruct society.

d) They are using reverse psychology to educate people that what they depict in their art really should be rejected.

e) Some combination of a), b), and c).

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Real World Graduation: Question 25

RealWorldGraduation_Question_25   <– PDF

Which of these are phrases found in the Constitution of the United States of America?

a) “… separation of church and state…”

b) “… government shall have the right …”

c) “… people shall be entitled to general welfare …”

d) “… right to rest and leisure …”

e) Both a) and c)

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Real World Graduation: Question 19

RealWorldGraduation_Question_19   <– PDF

Suppose a prominent black civil rights leader had made public speeches like these in 1993:

a.  “Only after the white virus destroying the quality of life of black people has been eliminated can we hope to promote cooperation between the remaining races, which will then be founded on a common understanding.”

b.  “Honkie parasites on one hand ripped off the black people without a second thought, and on the other hand instigated people of color to violence. The misfortunes of black people have become a continuing objective for these white trash crackers, and it was unfortunately made possible because of the large number of desperate unemployed black people that mistakenly supported the international trade treaties, which further benefitted the rich honkies.”

What is the proper amount of government regulation or actions that should be adopted to address speech of this sort?

a) Public speeches of this sort should first be subject to review by qualified people to determine if they are acceptable for public consumption. If a proposed speech is considered acceptable, then the speech could be made.  However, neither of these two fragments is acceptable, and both should be prohibited.

b) These fragments are obviously racist, and should be prohibited by appropriate legislation.

c) These fragments indicate both racism and mental illness, and the person who made these statements should be examined to determine his mental health. If he is found to be of sound mind, he should be prosecuted for racism or hate speech.

d) The person making these statements should be prosecuted for hate speech unless he can prove he is mentally ill and therefore not responsible for what he says.

e) Because of the First Amendment, it is difficult to pre-empt speech solely because some find it objectionable. For radical opinions like these, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, but the government should consider some appropriate remedy, tailored to specific cases.  However, such remedies should be civil (i.e., fines and restrictions) instead of criminal (imprisonment).

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, government powers, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Bill O’Reilly Spins Christmas

BillOReillySpinsChristmas   <== PDF version

Mr. Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News’ “The Factor”, spent considerable airtime this past Christmas season calling out liberals, atheists, and some politicians for “waging a war on Christmas”.  He is correct in pointing out that mainstream “liberalism” is devoted to ridiculing religion in general; it is also true that atheists have sometimes gone to extreme lengths to eliminate all publicly-displayed symbols that can be remotely tied to a religion.  Actually, not all public displays of religion are under attack: there is never a criticism of Islam, Kwanzaa, or Marxism.

But in any case, Mr. O’Reilly was very critical of those who are trying to eliminate any hint of Christian symbols in public.  His main argument is: atheists and secularists are wrong to seek removal of certain objects associated with Christianity (such as the manger scenes, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus) because all of these are simply traditions and do not represent a religion per se.  He argued that it is misguided for atheists to reject Christmas symbols on the grounds that the word “Christmas” constitutes establishment of religion by the state.

As Mr. O’Reilly carefully explained to his (atheist) guest Mr. David Silverman: “It is a fact that Christianity is not a religion.  It is a philosophy.” [1]

So Mr. O’Reilly has proclaimed that Christianity is a philosophy.  I guess that shows how stupid I am.  I’ve always thought that Jesus Christ had authority to determine what Christianity is and is not.  For the sake of completeness, here is what Jesus Christ said about Himself, and thus, about Christianity [2]:

Matt 10:32, 33      Whoever acknowledges me [Jesus Christ] before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

John 3:17, 18       For God did not send his Son [Jesus Christ] into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him [Christ] is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 4:25, 26       The woman [at the well at Sychar inSamaria] said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us”.  Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

John 14:5, 6          Thomas [the apostle] said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

It is clear that Christianity is not simply a philosophy.  But nor is it a religion, which is any system by which man seeks to pacify or gain the favor of God — Christianity is a relationship with God.  I hope that clears things up.

[1]        The O’Reilly Factor, 28 Nov 2012

[2]        Scripture quotations per the New International Version, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995; explanations in square brackets are mine

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