Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow

Some Agreement Here?

It sounds like we may agree on some points again. The government is on shaky ground when it interferes with private speech due to its content, especially when private religious speech is targeted due to government disagreement with the message conveyed.


While the prevention of actual fraud in the marketplace is certainly an important government interest, it is tough to craft a policy that would target actual fraud without covering non-fraudulent religious and/or commercial speech. Some fortunetelling bans have been invalidated for regulating more than just commercial speech and for censoring more than just fraudulent statements.



The protection of religious speech applies far beyond “fortunetelling,” however, as pastors should be free to speak prophetically in their churches without fear that someone in attendance will claim that the pastor committed “fraud” in a lawsuit. We have seen recent examples of unwarranted, overzealous, media-driven investigations of so-called “prosperity gospel” churches by members of Congress. In addition, there continues to be talk among some on the Left of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, an antiquated rule that would threaten popular religious and conservative broadcast television and radio programs. These are just a few examples of government regulation of speech run amok that Barry should also oppose.

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Scott M.

posted September 10, 2008 at 5:26 pm

This is a bit off topic but you know what I want to see? Repeal of the Free Exercise Clause. That would solve a lot of problems.

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Allen Grant

posted September 10, 2008 at 7:04 pm

If progressives want to change this situation they can. Advertisers are afraid of losing customers. We have to make it uncomfortable for advertisers that supply revenue to one sided conservative talk radio.
Forget about your governmental representatives. They won’t act. At least they won’t act quickly.
Someone needs to put up a web-page where local listeners can post names of companies that advertise on biased programming.
Progressives need to call the phone numbers of companies as soon as they advertise their phone number on the radio. Flood their little phone systems with calls expressing our feelings about doing business with companies that sponsor the trash we have to listen to.
We should go after the small advertisers first. The lawyers, dentists, etc. who give out their local number. They want & need local business. They also aren’t sophisticated enough to know exactly whether their advertising dollars are really paying off. If they get even 20 or thirty negative calls every time their ad plays it will discourage them.
If it’s about money then let’s really hit them where it hurts. Very few businessmen are stubborn enough to risk their dollars.
I would set up the web-site but I can’t afford to spend the time. I DO have time to call advertisers whenever they give out their phone number. Especially when I’m in the car. I do this frequently. I get pissed off and rather than call into the show to express my opinion ( only to have it squelched by a technician) I simply call advertisers. They generally are freaked out and set aback when they get my phone call.
Come on. Here is a plan that will work. Primarily, in local markets where they have local personalities that are trying to ride Rush Limbaughs coat tails.

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posted September 10, 2008 at 11:25 pm

The phrase “Separation of Church and State” has been bandied about for so long that many Americans believe that it is actually in the Constitution. In fact, those three words appear nowhere in the Constitution.
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posted September 11, 2008 at 11:41 am

The myth: The phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution.
That is true, the phrase “separation of church and state” does not actually appear anywhere in the Constitution. There is a problem, however, in that some people draw incorrect conclusions from this fact. The absence of this phrase does not mean that it is an invalid concept or that it cannot be used as a legal or judicial principle.
There are any number of important legal concepts which do not appear in the Constitution with the exact phrasing people tend to use. For example, nowhere in the Constitution will you find words like “right to privacy” or even “right to a fair trial.” Does this mean that no American citizen has a right to privacy or a fair trial? Does this mean that no judge should ever invoke these rights when reaching a decision?
Of course not – the absence of these specific words does not mean that there is also an absence of these ideas. The right to a fair trial, for example, is necessitated by what is in the text because what we do find simply makes no moral or legal sense otherwise. What the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution actually says is:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
There is nothing there about a “fair trial,” but what should be clear is that this Amendment is setting up the conditions for fair trials: public, speedy, impartial juries, information about the crimes and laws, etc. The Constitution does not specifically say that you have a right to a fair trial, but the rights created only make sense on the premise that a right to a fair trial exists. Thus, if the government found a way to fulfill all of the above obligations while also making a trial unfair, the courts would hold those actions to be unconstitutional.
Similarly, courts have found that the principle of a “religious liberty” exists behind in the First Amendment, even if those words are not actually there:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
The point of such an amendment is twofold. First, it ensures that religious beliefs – private or organized – are removed from attempted government control. This is the reason why the government cannot tell either you or your church what to believe or to teach. Second, it ensures that the government does not get involved with enforcing, mandating, or promoting particular religious doctrines. This is what happens when the government “establishes” a church – and because doing so created so many problems in Europe, the authors of the Constitution wanted to try and prevent the same from happening here.
Can anyone deny that the First Amendment guarantees the principle of religious liberty, even though those words do not appear there? Similarly, the First Amendment guarantees the principle of the separation of church and state – by implication, because separating church and state is what allows religious liberty to exist.

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Ann L.

posted September 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I can agree (to a point) with what Boris has said, but people have drawn incorrect conclusions about what the phrase ‘separation of Church & State’ really means. The common thought today is that it means the opposite of its true meaning.
The Constitution’s wording that’s often referred to regarding separation IS there to ensure religious freedoms. The founders wanted to ensure that our government could not enforce a state religion on America’s citizens as had been done in Europe. They also wanted to ensure that all citizen’s were free to worship as they chose and that the government would hold no control over one’s religious belief/practice.
Unfortunately today, many people have twisted this phrase into some wrong idea that a person’s religion must be kept separate from the community he/she lives in. The phrase ‘separation of Church & State’ has been used to try and destroy the very religious freedoms that it was originally written to protect. There’s this mistaken idea that Christians should leave their morals/beliefs at home or in the church building. Too large a portion of the public hasn’t read the wording in the Constitution and only listens to the media version…therefore they don’t have a clue about the truth…I think this is what Nickysam was referring to.
What about that last paragraph of Jay’s? I agree that free speech is for every citizen…whether I agree with them or not. However, we must remember that there IS a point at which ‘free speech’ can cross over the boundary of its protection…and that is when it’s used to do things which are against the law (example: if used to commit fraud, incite rioting, etc…, it’s no longer just free speech).
Anyway, Why is it that the liberal’s only interest is the free speech rights of fortunetellers, etc… and not pastors or conservatives?

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posted September 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm

“There’s this mistaken idea that Christians should leave their morals/beliefs at home or in the church building.”
In part that has come about because so many Christians believe that atheists, agnostics, Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, Wiccans, Zoroastrians, Pastafarians, and all other people of “other” faiths are not well suited to be office holders, policy makers, or even to fully participate in this great experiment called America.
In my experience, when non-Christians begin to raise their voice to participate in policy discussions, Christians tend to disregard them, or worse, to prevent them from being heard.
I strongly suspect that if Christians would be more willing to grant full participation to non-Christians in the public square (allowing them to also offer prayers at public events, participate in Baccalaureate services, etc.) you would find less pressure on Christians to leave their faith at the door.

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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted August 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm

I feel the Fairness Doctrine was generated by the left to stifle speech about conservative dialogue and religious speech since the left feels threatened by the right’s viewpoints. The Fairness Doctrine violates 1st Amendment free speech because people are not allowed to express their own particular viewpoint or belief on the issues since they have to counter their viewpoints with opposing ones. What makes this country great is the ability to exercise freedom of ideas without fear of being censored, persecuted, or beaten physically and emotionally (e.g. Many of the prisoners held for their protest of the unequivocal Iranian election of Ahmadinejad were tortured, raped, and beaten to the point of death). The founders of this country would not have agreed with the Fairness Doctrine in any form or incognito title and neither should we.

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