I was not at the rally in Manchester but support the cause of Free Speech and would have attended if I had been able. My motivation would have been to support the First Amendment. While I recognize that we are in a war with radical Islam, I do not support the bigotry that says Muslims should not have the right to build a Mosque or the bigotry that says Governor Haslam should not be permitted to hire a person who happens to be a Muslim. I would have been standing side by side with some people I have previously criticized. I believe the First Amendment applies equally to Muslims and to critics of Islam. Below are reports of the rally from other sources.
From The Tennessean:
Diversity event draws raucous crowd in Coffee County
by Nicole Young -Hundreds of people turned out at the Manchester Convention Center Tuesday evening for an event billed as a discussion of public discourse in a diverse society, with a particular focus on the Muslim religion.People were turned away at the door because the facility was too full. Some grew angry and started hurling terms like “Communist,” “Socialist” and “Muslim” at law enforcement officials.
Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, a non-profit educational iniative with offices on Vanderbilt Campus and in Washington D.C., said the First Amendment does not restrict the right of a public official to express opinions.
“Are public officials held to a higher standard than you or I? I think yes, but it's not a limitation,” he said. “There's nothing in the First Amendment banning anyone to say things that people find repellant, distasteful, repugnant, or even bigoted. The antidote that our founders provided for speech is more speech, not less.”(link)
From the blob Jihad Watch:
The Tennessean defames patriots who stood for free speech
I met Nicole Young of The Tennessean last night and asked her if she was as bad as her colleague Bob Smietana, who is one of the most truth-challenged, agenda-driven, pro-Muslim Brotherhood reporters in the country. Her report is probably not as bad as Smietana's would have been, but she still places front and center the preposterous claim that someone in the crowd was "afraid" of the other audience members, as if these patriots who came out to defend the freedom of speech were some gang of thugs -- but of course, that's how the mainstream media always portrays those who oppose jihad and Islamic supremacism, and the facts be damned.(link)
Nearly 2,000 at AFDI rally for freedom of speech in Tennessee
Robert Spencer and I blew into Tennessee after numerous flight delays, draconian TSA patdowns and security checks, and crippling rush hour traffic, and imagine how thrilled we were when we rounded the corner and saw throngs of patriots and freedom lovers, all happy warriors who had converged in Manchester, Tennessee to oppose the latest Obama Administration salvo against the freedom of speech -- a seminar led by an Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney on how civil rights laws could and should be used to shut down speech deemed "inflammatory" against Muslims (a label that has been used before to shut down truthful speech about jihad and Islamic supremacism). SION Board member James Lafferty, Tennessee freedom activists Lou Ann Zelenick, Joan French, Bill Warner and Rebecca Bynum, ex-Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson, and numerous other freedom fighters made their opposition known to this outrageous anti-free speech initiative, and their determination to resist it.(link)
From the blog Atlas Shurgs:
All eyes are on Tennessee tonight, as the fight for the very soul of America comes to a very small town: Manchester, Tennessee, a town no bigger than 60,000 people. (Almost 2,000 people were there -- that's three percent of the local population.) This was the perhaps unlikely venue for a seminar led by a U.S. attorney and an FBI special agent on how "inflammatory" speech against Muslims violated civil rights laws. Nowhere was it ever explained how there could be honest examination of Islam's teachings of jihad that wouldn't be "inflammatory" -- and that was just the point.
There were close to 800 people filling the small room to way beyond capacity. The lines were three deep along the wall, with folks spilling out into the hallways -- plus many hundreds more outside. Those outside weren't missing much -- unless they were in the mood to be admonished and hectored as xenophobes, bigots and racists by an Islamic supremacist spokesman and two Obama officials who steadfastly refused to address the elephant in the room: the reality of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, no matter how many times the boisterous crowd called them on their nonsense.(link)
|Rep. Joe Carr|
|Victoria Jackson, formerly of SNL|
|Rep. Rick Womack|
|Pamela Geller of Atlas Shurgs|