(Guest Commentary) Mike Farris – Citizens for Self-Governance – Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies, co-founder of the Convention of States Project
One of the reasons we have accepted the premise of the “lesser of two evils” in our voting decisions, is that we don’t have clear ideas of what “good” looks like. This is the eighth in a series of ten short articles giving a coherent philosophy on what we should be looking for in a President.
We are so inundated with talk of the lesser of two evils, some fundamental analysis of a constitutionally and morally sound president seems appropriate.
8. We need a president who will defend the First Amendment
The Freedom of Religion is under daily assault in this nation. People of faith are being attacked by government (often egged on by complaints from the howling of hordes of progressivism) in an attempt to force every American to bow the knee to the false god of political correctness.
The homosexual movement claimed that they wanted the right to be left alone and the freedom to pursue their own choices. So be it. They have won that battle in the courts for now.
But we are well past the stage of leaving them alone and letting them do their own thing. Now, they are forcing unwilling bakers, photographers, caterers, and it will not be long before churches and pastors will be also forced to participate in their celebrations.
There is no way to reconcile religious freedom and coerced participation in wedding ceremonies.
Same sex partners are clearly able to get such “wedding” services from people who are entirely willing to join the celebration. This is not about ensuring the ability of same-sex couples to buy a cake–this movement is designed to crush and humiliate any dissent arising from the millions of Americans who believe that this is morally repugnant.
Government power is being used to crush dissent. That is not only a violation of freedom of religion, it is the antithesis of freedom of speech.
Government repression of speech and freedom of thought also permeates most colleges and universities. When private schools violate freedom of speech, they are within their own zones of constitutional liberty—even though they may violate their commitments to their students. But, when government colleges contravene the freedom of speech of their students, they not only transgress the core meaning of the First Amendment, such colleges amplify a growing fear-based culture that is utterly incompatible with any theory of American liberty.
College students are demanding that they be shielded from any viewpoints that cause them emotional discomfort. They demand safe zones and trigger warnings. They want to turn college administrators into helicopter parents who not only protect their “vulnerable” ears they also demand that those who dared to speak a contrary word be utterly silenced.
A free nation cannot grow out of such colleges and universities.
It is a violation of the federal civil rights of students, when government colleges curtail the speech of any student or speaker if that limitation is based on the content of the speech. Conservative speech and religious speech has just as much claim to free speech protections as liberal rants and atheistic ramblings.
If my defense of liberty offends you. Tough. This is America and we believe in freedom of speech.
Michael Farris is the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. During his career as a constitutional appellate litigator, he has served as lead counsel in the United States Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts, and the appellate courts of thirteen states.
Farris has been a leader on Capitol Hill for over thirty years and is widely respected for his leadership in the defense of homeschooling, religious freedom, and the preservation of American sovereignty. A prolific author, Farris has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship by the Heritage Foundation and as one of the “Top 100 Faces in Education for the 20th Century” by Education Week magazine.
Farris received his B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University. He later went on to earn his J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law, and his LL.M. in Public International Law, from the University of London.
Mike and his wife Vickie have ten children and 19 grandchildren.