First page of the U.S. Constitution. Image courtesy of

Some Americans don’t believe Muslims, atheists have First Amendment rights

(RNS) — Nearly 1 in 5 Americans incorrectly believe that Muslim citizens don't have the same First Amendment rights as other American citizens.

Also incorrectly, 1 in 7 believe that atheists aren't protected by those rights.

These are among the findings of a new study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which also found that a fraction of Americans surveyed — 15 percent — named freedom of religion when asked to name the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.

Those rights are: freedom of religion, speech and the press, and the right of assembly and to petition the government.

“These results emphasize the need for high-quality civics education in the schools and for press reporting that underscores the existence of constitutional protections," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

The study is conducted annually by the center in advance of Constitution Day, Sept. 17 (observed on Monday, Sept. 18), the anniversary of its signing in 1787. The sample included 1,013 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

Also shown in the study: More than half of Americans surveyed  — 53 percent — believe undocumented persons have no constitutional rights when, in actuality, they do. The Supreme Court settled that more than 130 years ago in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, ruling the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause extends to noncitizens.

Another finding that will disappoint those who believe Americans should know the basic rights given to them in their Constitution: More than one-third of those asked (37 percent) could not, unprompted, name a single First Amendment protection.

And only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) could name all three branches of the government (legislative, executive and judicial), the same result as in last year's study.



  1. Who could be so ignorant of the Constitution to think the First Ammendment doesn’t apply to atheists and Muslims? Anyone? Anyone?

    In the late 1960s we covered civics in the 7th grade but nothing after that.

  2. “Undocumented” and “non-citizens” are hardly the same thing. The Yick Wo case involved non-citizens who were in the US legally.

  3. One has to be aware of a right in the first place to be aware that others possess it too. Truly the schools have failed in the field of constitutional studies.

    But then again, a government bent on increasing its own power can not be expected to make a priority of teaching the document which defines and restricts its powers.

  4. There’s even more who don’t want them to have these rights.

  5. Actually, I’m surprised more people don’t believe Atheists, Muslims, etc. don’t have rights, so that is somewhat heartening, even if many dismiss other people’s religious rights — Hmmm, now it couldn’t be Christians who feel that way?

    Sad though, the First Amendment is so poorly understood. How can you assert your rights, if you don’t know what they are? Fox news and talk radio are sadly contributing to this ignorance.

  6. It isn’t Fox News and talk radio running the public education circus. That mess is squarely on the libs.

  7. Public education is thoroughly in the grip of liberal control as is higher education, and as a result just as many progressives think conservatives shouldn’t have any First Amendment rights. Speech suppression incidents of late come almost exclusively from the left.

  8. Your comment is full of paradox and contradiction. The ACLU, an unarguable champion of protecting our constitutional rights regardless of party affiliations, has been criticized by conservatives as being left-wing. Progressives and liberals fight for the rights of ALL people. Just because some conservative religious demagoguery has been called out for trampling on the rights of others doesn’t mean they don’t want conservatives to have any rights. No one’s rights supersede another’s.

  9. Blaming the ignorance of our civic knowledge all on public education and “the libs” (whatever the hell that is) is another sign of our ignorant population. I learned as muchabout civics, politics, and government sitting at my dinner table and having conversations with my parents as I did in school. Civics isn’t just a subject to learn. It’s a citizen’s responsibility to interact with and contribute to their government. So if people don’t know about it, their parents aren’t showing them how and why it’s important.

  10. Blaming the ignorance of our civic knowledge all on public education isn’t fair or helpful. I learned as much about civics, politics, and government sitting at my dinner table and having conversations with my parents as I did in school. Civics isn’t just a subject to learn. It’s a citizen’s responsibility to interact with and contribute to their government. So if people don’t know about it, their parents aren’t showing them how and why it’s important.

  11. dollars to donuts that it’s those who identify as conservative who don’t believe muslims and atheists have 1st amendment rights … that’s not the result of a liberal education

  12. I think my school did a good job on basic civics in junior high. It is the duty of each citizen to educate themselves on the relevant issues if they are going to vote. The ultimate blame for ignorance falls on the individual.

  13. I don’t know any liberals who think that sort of thing. I do know of plenty of conservatives who think that any disagreement is a suppression of their freedom of speech.

  14. Nonsense. As usual.

    The libs. Indeed. You’ve identified the problem squarely by being the poster girl for it.

  15. No nonononono.

    Everything that is wrong with education, indeed, anything that is wrong with anything, is all the lib’s fault. everything. Including causing conservatives to say stupid things like “it’s all the lib’s fault.”

  16. So, putting your two comments together, everything is the fault of “the libs”, including making conservatives– conservatards?– say stupid things like “it’s all the libs fault.”

    Oh, wait. I shouldn’t use a term like “conservatards”. It makes e sound like a conservatard.

  17. Shawnie isn’t interested in being fair. She’s interested in being right.

    How far right is the question.

  18. Badly educated parents produce badly educated children.

    Why do you think the founders were so serious about public education? Because our form of government REQUIRES an educated populace to make it work as intended.

    It’s also part of why they were more or less pessimistic about that happening.

  19. I agree, there are “conservatards” out there. They are conservatives who buy into the lastest reactionary response. I also think there is a point where progressive becomes regressive though. In so many instances today just being opposed to something is not good enough, your not truest opposed unless you are stupidly opposed. Some of the smartest people I know, people who would ace this survey, are some of those stupidly opposed people.

  20. So who did the NEA endorse, financially and otherwise, in the last election?

  21. Jim, I graduated high school in 1963. We still had civics in high school at that point. And, I think I had to take U.S. history and the history of my state in the first year of college (county run high school and state run college, so that makes sense to me.)

    Maybe one last civics class senior year in high school should be a requirement for graduation.

    Citizenship carries not just rights, but also responsibilities. I don’t think there is enough emphasis on the “responsibilities” side of things. Of course, I am old now and it seems, generation after generation, that the old generation never thinks the younger generation behaves responsibly.

  22. The failure of our population to identify and understand our 1st Amendment freedoms is the fault of our educational system in conjunction with the lack of support and interest of parents who were likewise poorly educated within it. And liberal influence is predominant in the public schools. Do you deny this?

    Why are you still addressing me, btw? I thought you yelled “enough of this” some time back???

  23. The result of a liberal education is not even KNOWING about 1st Amendment rights.

    The private schools in our area, mostly conservative, require constitutional studies as part of the core curriculum. The prep school I attended as a teenager required it as well. The public schools which our kids attend, while quite good particularly in math, science, and technology (our kids’ forte) have no such requirement. My son at 15 could not name his 1st Amendment rights other than free speech (although he could give every detail about the life of Martin Luther King). We have had to take over responsibility for that at home. What happens to kids whose parents are unable to do so?

  24. all public schools have constitutional studies as part of their curriculum and yet … dollars to donuts that it’s those who identify as liberal who believe muslims and atheists have 1st amendment rights

    you have this contradiction of claiming that a conservative education leads to a greater knowledge of constitutional rights while at the the same time a belief, largely held by conservatives, that muslims and atheists don’t have 1st amendment rights

  25. So out of all the liberal posters here, who has made statements that you do not deserve any free speech rights? Not a single one.

    The most cretinous position of conservatives these days is the attack on public education. The main argument being that it doesn’t allow for the discriminatory and blatantly sectarian indoctrination they desire.

    The notion that the first amendment only applies to Christians of certain sects, and not all other faiths as well, is entirely from “social conservatives”.

    If one out of seven people have the misperceptions described, it is not due to ignorance. It is due to deliberate misrepresentation. Conservatives !ying to suit an agenda which values ignorance and compliance over education and discrimination over democratic ideals.

  26. No, all public schools do NOT. There is a requirement that there be some sort of constitution program but it is up to the schools how that is crafted and implemented, and many do not take it very seriously. Often it is subsumed within American history — which usually is also deficient. Only some schools require an actual course, and only a handful of states require civics testing.

    I did not say that conservative education leads to greater knowledge of 1st Amendment rights (although that may well be true). I said that public education in its current state does NOT lead to such knowledge and is undeniably liberal in nature.

    The study cited does not indicate that it is a conservative belief that atheists and muslims do not have the same 1st A rights. That is your own assumption.

  27. “I do know of plenty of conservatives who think that any disagreement is a suppression of their freedom of speech.”

    Be that as it may, I would posit a lot more liberals think that way than conservatives, and the fact remains, it isn’t conservatives demanding university professors be fired, or dissenting students penalized, or conservative speakers disinvited. It isn’t conservatives shouting down people they don’t agree with and driving them from the microphone, or firing them for expressing even reasonable comments somehow in violation of an ambiguous company policy…Who is it wearing masks rampaging through the streets attacking police, reporters, and protesters alike under the pretense of fighting “fascism”?

    The intriguing thing is how some liberals are all for “free speech,” just not racist, intolerant, incivil, or harassing speech which they define so broadly as to encompass any speech they don’t like, and which they construe as speech that can literally harm those hearing it…a concept completely alien to the Constitution. What better way to champion free speech while suppressing it at the same time?

    It’s funny. I didn’t know there were any conservatives left in California, let alone Oakland with it’s close proximity to Berkeley. A conservative living there would be aptly justified perceiving liberal disagreement as suppression of their speech rights seeing how that disagreement is often expressed with a riot…just sayin’.

  28. “Just because some conservative religious demagoguery has been called out for trampling on the rights of others doesn’t mean they don’t want conservatives to have any rights.”

    Oh really? If demagoguery is speech, and it usually is defined as such, just exactly how does “demagoguery” trample the rights of others? Speech is a metaphysical abstraction.

    When I see a verb or an adjective materialize on the street beating someone with a mallet, I’ll concede your point gladly. Until then, your objection to speech you don’t like neither grants you the right not to be offended by it or as a means of suppressing it, try to assign to it violent agency as if speech itself could literally take away someone’s rights. The idea is incoherent in an open free democracy.

  29. 40% of college students consider the 1st A freedom of speech “dangerous” and favor censorship to avoid offending minorities.

  30. Check out the article on Fr. Martin posted today on this site. You might remember the Wheaton College prof who was forced out because she wasn’t conservative enough. Generalizations are a quick way to loose a point.

  31. There are some radical leftist people who act as you claim. I don’t know any of them, nor would I care to. As a LIBERAL, I have stated many times on these very pages pages that the answer to crappy speech is not suppression, but MORE SPEECH. AS a LIBERAL, I have stated repeatedly that right wing agents provocateurs are best ignored.

    You might want to look up a professor at Wheaton (?– not sure) college who was fired for expressing solidarity with Muslims. I have had plenty of conservative es hysterically accuse me of shutting down speech by disagreeing with them, in. Public forum, anonymously.

    There is plenty of blame to go around.

    Just sayin’.

  32. Of course I deny. anyplace south of the mason dixon line, and place west of Walnut Creek. CA. Dover, PA?

    Please. Stop with the caricatures.

  33. I can’t help but agree with you. There is plenty of responsibility to go around.

  34. I don’t know. I can tell you that every state judge on the great state of Texas supported a law denying marriage benefits to gay couples, all the way up to the state Supreme Court, which ignored the clause in the Texas constitution declaring equal protection of the law in general, and in the case of emoluments in particular.

    Why? because any judge in the state of Texas who did not go along with the religious right’s war on gay people would not have his job for very long.

    What were you saying about teaching civics?

  35. This just appeared as the top article at Religion news.

    “Seminary cancels talk by priest who urges dialogue with gays
    Far-right Catholic web sites and some conservative Catholic writers have denounced a book by the Rev. James Martin advocating for more compassion for gays within the church, and that has led to online campaigns to pressure Catholic institutions against hosting him.”

    Now what were you saying about those nasty liberals?

    Really, what were you saying?

    Or were you JUST SAYIN’?

  36. “it isn’t conservatives demanding university professors be fired, or dissenting students penalized, or conservative speakers disinvited”

    Did you see the article on this site about a priest being disinvited from a talk at a seminary for deigning to treat gays as people? Or the reaction to any conservative here to Christians who urge the same?

    If you are worried about the possible excesses of people fighting white supremacists and fascists maybe you shouldn’t give them a legitimate gripe. Maybe you should make efforts to keep fascists and racists from becoming normalized in our political climate.

    If you can’t bring yourself to denounce Nazis, something every decent and moral person can do (but not our president or supporters) then you can’t be taken seriously denouncing those who may be opposing them. BTW the big internet campaign against antifa is largely Russian agitation.

  37. So I guess killing people you don’t agree with is not really a big deal for you, but acting passive aggressively towards them does.

    As far as I can tell, extreme right wingers, fascists, rabid racists have their own form of suppressing free speech. They murder people who oppose their views. They commit acts of terrorism against them, assault them in gangs, and attack laws protecting their victims. [Conservatives are the only ones who make a stink about hate crime legislation, I wonder why?]

  38. It wasn’t that the professor was not conservative enough, but that she no longer shared the convictions of the Wheaton’s theological confession that chartered it’s educational mission. Some think atheists and pagans should be allowed to teach at Christian colleges…

    I think the ratio of left-wing speakers to right-wing speakers that are invited to American campuses are at least 100 to one. So, forgive me if a few outliers do not remove the reasonable inference most people have that free speech suppression is largely the left trying to extinguish the speech of the right. The latest example being:

  39. Which is a roundabout and dishonest way of saying that her views did not fall in line with the ultra-conservative ones of the school pertaining to how to treat other faiths. So rather than show professional and polite disagreement, they suppressed her by termination.

    “Some think atheists and pagans should be allowed to teach at Christian colleges”

    So you think atheists and pagans should be suppressed and denied a right to speak at schools in order to maintain a certain ideological belief.

  40. And all of that has what, exactly, to do with general public awareness of 1st Amendment freedoms?

    Do you REALLY not know which party the NEA endorses? You couldn’t possibly be that uninformed. Spuddie, perhaps, but not you.

  41. I say, big mistake. Get him on campus pdq and insist that he defend his views in an open forum.

  42. Not the same thing. Let them talk. But no one is entitled to a job there.

  43. So firing someone for their views isn’t suppressing them. Suuure.

    Nobody is entitled to speak at a university as a lecturer either.

    Your argument is riddled with hypocrisy. Evidently, its only suppressing free speech if its done by liberals.

    “Rules for thee, but not for me” is apparently the mantra of conservatives these days.

  44. Of course nobody is entitled to speak at a university — it is not a true 1st Amendment issue. But neither does suppression of speech on campus evidence a true commitment to free speech or exchange of ideas or diversity of opinion. And of course the views of college students on actual freedom of speech confirm this.

    Employment is quite different. Paid employees in their official capacities represent their employers, and all hires are required to read and sign a mission statement from the beginning. There are no surprises.

    I’ll take you seriously when you show equal concern for conservatives fired for their views — maybe.

  45. “Some think atheists and pagans should be allowed to teach at Christian colleges…”

    If not, who is going to teach science?

  46. So Thela Ginjeet’s accusations are entirely unwarranted. People aren’t suppressing speech as claimed.

  47. They are supressing speech but not within the meaning of the 1st Amendment. And consequently their views on the actual 1st Amendment tend to fall as expected

  48. Not just the current article about Rev. James Martin, being shunned for suggesting dialog with LGBT…We just had David Gushee give his farewell article here — and he had his books banned by evangelical book stores for suggesting Gay people are not sinners. Some conservative Christians said he was guilty of treason.

    So spare everybody the “liberals are silencing us”. Conservatives are getting close to book burnings.

  49. Nobody cares about your prep school. Brag about it and your kid elsewhere.

  50. Bookstores are commercial enterprises. You think every bookstore is obligated to carry every book published just because it is denominated “Christian” in some manner? I’ve searched for books before at B&N that they evidently don’t carry. Big deal …shrug and search online or go to the library.

  51. Rather histrionic response. Says more about you than you probably suspect.

  52. For once we’re in agreement. Not really my point, but we’re in agreement.

    However, you do understand that the free and open exchange of ideas might cause the foolish, the uneducated, the gullible, and the easily led to come to the wrong conclusion.

  53. I don’t really care who endorses whom. I don’t base my political and personal judgments and opinions on what someone else thinks it ought to be. I can at least Guess whom the NEA endorses, but I care no more for that Than i care about whom political grifters disguised as religious people endorse.

    As for what my comment has to do with teaching civics, I would try to teach the Tex-ass Supreme Court to read their own goddamned constitution, and to try to find the asterisk indicating that gay people need not apply for equality before the Great state of texass.

  54. the left doesn’t suppress your speech. They suppress your stupid ass beliefs. That’s why we make laws SO POWERFUL even your all powerful god succumbs!!

  55. fortunately though, secularism wins out and we defeat their silly “all powerful god”. Irony is funny

  56. Neither this article nor my comment had not one single thing to do with gay. Everything ain’t about you.

    You made an absurd objection to my comment that public education is liberal in nature. And claimed not to know that the National Education Association is solidly liberal and Democrat. Donated millions to Obama’s campaign and to Hillary’s (maybe their tax exempt status should be revoked ?). AND opposed requiring constitutional studies in schools — imagine that!

    But as usual, “I don wanna talk about that! I wanna talk about the gay! Wah!”

  57. Less chance of that if an speaker with a totally imaginary, totally unwarranted belief in his own superiority gets openly challenged in front of them (colleges got plenty of foolish and gullible, but as for uneducated — hey, it’s college after all. Not like an online forum where carrots and spuds and kids up past bedtime can all play too).

    But of course, it was for fear of this sort of thing that Berkeley burned.

  58. What an absurd response. Religious belief is protected equally with speech, as one reflects the other.

    Far more powerful regimes than the US have tried to wipe out Christianity and failed. A nation that can not even put together an intelligent budget will hardly prove a match for the church. Sorry.

  59. Did I say anything about wiping out? I said we make laws that CONTRADICT your god’s stupid ass terrorist and bigoted beliefs. And aint a damn thing your all powerful god can do about it.
    So, whine all you want. Your beliefs mean nothing in the real world

  60. You said suppress, nor contradict. No power on earth will ever suppress Christianity for long. Every nation that thought it had succeeded saw it come roaring back. So shall it ever be.

  61. you read like a christian. You don’t comprehend.
    the left doesn’t suppress your speech. They suppress your stupid ass beliefs. That’s why we make laws SO POWERFUL even your all powerful god succumbs

    That’s what I said.
    In other words, when you don’t give gays equal rights (for example), you will be arrested. Your all powerful god is powerless to stop us

  62. Is that all you’re talking about? Big deal. Rome fed us to the lions for not calling Caesar Lord, for crying out loud. And the church nevertheless took over the entire western world and changed its value system forever.

    You remind me of the scripture about the snake who would bruise the Messiah’s heel while the Messiah would crush his head.

  63. lol, well, whatever. time will tell

    The persecution that went on then is unlike today. Today, you are losing to logic, not lions

  64. Not true. Progressives do not think that.

    People who honor the Constitution understand that denying freedom of speech to unpopular views puts everyone’s freedoms at risk.

    This means the government is right to permit KKK speech. But this does not mean that the government cannot limit actions. It also does not mean the government can compel anyone to listen. It also does not mean that people can use government property or authority to send their message.

    A HS coach can go to church and pray on his own time. Students can pray in school. But a teacher or coach cannot use their government position and authority to make your kids pray. Nobody can use government power to compel religious exercise.

    A store owner can believe blacks are subhuman. He can march and write blogs. But if he owns a business, he must sell his products to blacks.

  65. What about Eugene Peterson who dared to say treating gays kindly was okay? He had to retract after hundreds of christians denounced him and Lifeway said they would not sell any book he had ever written regardless of subject matter.

    It seems to be conservatives who can’t tolerate differing views.

  66. The one view they really cannot tolerate is the view that it is conservatives who seem to have the harder time with tolerating different views.

  67. Apparently a lot of progressives do. Particularly on American college campuses and increasingly in a few other places.

  68. How many times each week do christians defend a teacher’s “right” to use government authority to push their personal religion? How many times do they ignore a non christian student’s right to attend school without religious coercion?

    Coaches lead prayers to Jesus.
    Administrators post bible verses and prayers to Jesus on the walls.
    Principals organize mandatory assemblies with alter calls to accept Jesus.

    And NEVER do christians stand up to protect the religious freedom of non christian students, or even the wrong kind of christian. Christians have kittens when a teacher during a social studies lesson states that Islam exists or describes an atheist point of view. Yet they say nothing when a student cannot attend his own HS graduation without being told he must abandon his personal beliefs and accept jesus to be a worthy member of society.

  69. Lions’ loss, BTW, on this one. Ever seen extremely christian southern Bible belters congregated together ? They are well fed, to say the least ?

  70. badly indoctrinated parents raise badly indoctrinated children
    Why do you think the secular world always makes laws against your god?

  71. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” John 7:7.

  72. scriptures only hold meaning to believers. We all just laugh at your crap lmao

  73. Fair enough. Historically, baptists have fought for freedom of religion because they had been marginalized. It was in a letter to Baptists that Jefferson used the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” to summarize constitutional protections.

    So I agree, “never” is too strong. But even most baptists now ignore the religious rights of non christians. Russell Moore is one of the ones who has defended religious rights.

    Christian news dot net recently had 2 articles running at the same time. One was about a high school teacher in a class on mythology who read a poem written by an atheist saying gods are make believe. This was one of many perspectives presented. The other was about an elem school that posted a prayer in the cafeteria “use this food to your service Lord Jesus.”

    Yep. Christians condemned the attempt to remove a christian prayer – with no educational context or alternate views – from an elementary school cafeteria. In the same breath, they demanded that an atheist viewpoint – in an educational setting and among alternate views – be silenced. Some wanted the teacher fired.

    After seeing this a few thousand times, it starts to get old.

  74. Both history and political science education is seriously lacking in the US and is due to the overwhelming influence of the alt-right. They do not want the average citizen to to know their rights. I was stopped by a cop at a “safety check” point and when I asked him “what is the probable cause” he replied “it’s in the Constitution”. Well I took that ignorant cop to school and if I was black I’m sure I would have gotten an ass whooping for my efforts.

  75. You only need one example to prove you wrong. Simply take a look at Tim McVeigh’s bombing of the OKC Federal Building on April 19, 1995. BTW, I was there.

  76. I hope somebody who doesn’t want to burn Galileo again.

  77. The ACLU was begun as a “transmission belt to Soviet Communist dictatorship” the ex-con Roger Balwin wrote in his Harvard book “Communism is the goal” . It never has been NEVER will be “champion for anybody’s First Amendment rights

  78. To the context of the original comment? No. We were talking about “speech.” Blowing up a building is not speech. It’s violent action classified as terrorism. When did SCOTUS rule that the latter was protected by the Constitution? It hasn’t, but it has ruled that speech, even “hate speech” in the form of demagoguery is protected. We don’t have to like it, but if one kind of speech is suppressed…it all is.

    My speech cannot hurt you, it’s actions that are criminalized and prosecuted. Some progressives of late don’t want to make a distinction.

  79. That was a laughable assertion even back in the days of Joe McCarthy.

    It’s telling that you have to reach down to nearly 70 year old red baiting tactics to cough up something here. My suggestion is you go back to the cryogenic chamber you just woke up from.

  80. Muslims or Mohammed Men as they were called then, were specifically mentioned by the founders as being included. the religion clause was specifically written to exclude atheists, the reason it was not worded ‘freedom of conscience’ was that would include atheists.

    However the law since then has included all beliefs and non belief, religion AND irreligion, is written into the constitution now via supreme ct.

    Obama passed and signed the international religious freedom act just before he left which protected atheists around the world the same as the religious, and that includes here.

  81. Would you like to explain how the “libs” (I guess that’s a word I don’t know; it’s not in my dictionary and sounds offensive) are “running the public education circus?

  82. How does this relate to public education. But let’s not call them names, Mark.

  83. As a longtime, devoted member of the ACLU, despite my reluctance to protect speech by, for example, neo-Nazis in Skokie in the late 1970s, I support them with funds every month. Remember this, by Niemoller:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  84. Re: “… because any judge in the state of Texas who did not go along with the religious right’s war on gay people would not have his job for very long.” 

    Ah, the great American sport of majoritarianism! Where the mob gets its say and the rest must go away! (Lame rhyme inented.) 

    Except in presidential elections, where the majority’s vote is ignored in favor of the Electoral College. Whew! It’s a good thing the Constitution had been constructed so as to undermine majoritarianism, otherwise Hillary would now be our president. 

    Curious how the Right seems to veer around in its reverence for the notion that “the majority rules.” They agree with it when it leads to some conclusion they want, but oppose it whenever it runs counter to them. Hmm. Yes, very curious. 

  85. So denying one an opportunity to speak in a commercial or academic venue is perfectly justifiable when done by reactionary religious figures but not for people on the opposite side of the ideological fence. /S

    You support attacking the existence and rights of people, but evidently you think people who teach treating others decently or respectfully hurts you somehow. Go figure.

    As I see it, you have no problem with those who attack the rights of others. You just want to be on the side of the attackers.

  86. I don’t think you even know what a straw man argument is. You assign your own motives to me and then argue against them. Great, have at it, but you’re not engaging me or my real point.

    It’s somewhat gauche of you to butt into a response made to someone else before they’ve had a chance to comment…but then again you were raised underground…lol.

  87. any religious group, that is hostile to the 51 constitutions of the united states are not to be entertained.

    the 51 state and federal constitutions, are written about being americans under G-D not jew, christian, atheist, buddhist, occult, islam or other heretic religions.

    sharia law, is treason against the 51 constitutions of federal and state governments. they, do not believe in or worship ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son. they, do not even worship the same g-ds you do. your talking treasonous disaster, when you introduce the worship of other g-ds in this nation.

    islam is anti-american, shouting death to america over there. no matter how nice they, may deceive you over here in hidjra. all of islam, does not even worship all the same g-ds over there. and is why the slaughter, each other over there along with christians and jews.

    One Nation Under G-D, does not mean one nation under a multitude of other g-ds. common sense should tell you that would be a disaster regardless of the deceitful islamic indoctrination in america. when all you need to do, is to observe what is happening in islamic countries. to see they are not the religion of peace as the hypocrites claim.

    jews, christians, buddhists, and most agnostics and atheists,, are not against the constitutions of the united states like islam is.

  88. I dunno. What did the question I was asked have to do with public education? Perhaps your question would be better addressed to Mark.

  89. i do not care what religion it is, if it entertains treason against the 51 constitutions of the united states. it is, a hostile treasonous religion to the united states.

    for over 1400 years, they have been murdering each other, along with christians, jews, buddhists. while they, merely claiming to be a religion of peace.

    and importing those, who were just recently shouting death to america, americans, yesrael, and jews is not a smart scenario.

  90. there is such a thing, as allowing your stupidity to cross the bridge too far.

  91. I know you do not know what a strawman argument is. I simply took your own positions and threw them back at you. No misrepresentation or fake issues presented here.

    You started off with the nonsense assertion that universities which refused to hear ultra-conservative speakers were somehow showing a disdain for free speech. But then you made excuses for schools which did the same thing for those on the opposite side of the fence.

    You were the one:
    1. Defending the school which fired a teacher for deigning to treat another religion respectfully
    2. Defending a seminary which dropped a speaker for deigning to treat other people respectfully
    3. Asking in a sarcastic manner whether atheists or those of other faiths have a right to teach at a school

    You undermined your own premise.

  92. If an excon says it, it must be true. They’re look honest.

  93. Really got under your skin didn’t I. BTW, if you’re going to post in a forum you should 1) make sure your comments are coherent and 2) spelled correctly as both matter.

  94. Well Stan, I could say something ugly like “coherence” is not easily understood by anencephalics…but I won’t.

  95. They have the same issue with activist judges. Thus corporations are people, money is speech, and signing a waiver is birth control.

    But women people and gay people are not really people.

  96. as much as christianity, has betrayed ELOHEEM and THEIR Son again. i, do not perceive most of them as a threat to the constitutions of the united states.

    i have been re-materialized again, not to support jews christians, or forbid muslims. i am here again, to only give support to ELOHEEM here in This Same again 7 Day Physical Story.

    for those, who can accept it. I Am Eleeyahoo (Elijah), The Male Child to announce the coming of HaMosheeach again.

  97. Oh yeah, it’s the old story about how everything is TERRIBLE and “the sky is falling” when someone they dislike is doing something … but when they do it, it’s just fine and no one is permitted to question them. If you do, you’re depriving them of their religious freedom, or something. 

  98. well you, can call someone appointed by ELOHEEM as The Male Child Eleeyahoo (elijah) a freak all you want. and i am sure G-D, jesus (Yeshooah), and The Prophets, would all appreciate you calling Them as freaks too.

  99. No, but I do know that a number of conservative newspapers that have not endorsed a Democrat for many decades (if ever) endorsed Hillary Clinton.
    There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton. … Those are real shortcomings. But they pale in comparison to the litany of evils some opponents accuse her of. Treason? Murder? Her being cleared of crimes by investigation after investigation has no effect on these political hyenas; they refuse to see anything but conspiracies and cover-ups.
    Bill Weld (Libertarian vice presidential candidate)
    I have a lot to say about Mrs. Clinton that has not been said by others recently and I think needs to be said. I have known her for 40 years, I’ve worked with her, I know her well professionally, I know her well personally, I know her to be a person of high moral character, a reliable person, and an honest person, no matter how much Trump may rant and rave to the contrary.

  100. Fine, but the discussion has to do with public education and which party and ideology has influenced it more.

  101. Prob more accurate to say that secular education is more liberal in nature. So yes, public education is secular/liberal, because it has benefits for everyone regardless of ideology. Religious education is more conservative in nature, and only does anything for those who subscribe to that particular religion – the idea of a subset of the population benefiting while others not tends to be more conservative (my religion, my country, my discussion topic). It doesn’t make any sense for those who are squarely against a secular education in one breath to then blame a secular education for not educating them in the next.

  102. Not sure one student in one school’s experience should be indicative of the quality of all secular education perpetrated by “the libs”. That’s called bias.

  103. Did you read the article? The majority of Americans do not know what their 1st Anendment rights are. The majority are also public school educated.

  104. Did say I was squarely against secular education? My own kids go to “secular” public schools.

  105. The liberals in Texas who have more influence over books all over the country than anyone? Or the gutting of public school funding to make way for charter schools and private school vouchers is a liberal idea? Demonization of teachers every day is done by liberals? The large percent of the Tea party wing that thinks we shouldn’t even have public education is part of the Democratic party? White flight and segregation in schools are liberal creations? And the systematic underfunding of schools so that they fail is done by democrats? No child Left Behind that created tests that teachers teach for, rather than teach comprehensive needed education, was championed by Liberals?

    Maybe in cities liberals run things, but in suburbia and rural areas conservatives run the school boards. Here is an article by a teacher on what it is like to try to teach in the Mississippi:

    If you’re going to make a blanket statement like that try to provide evidence or thought as to why. not just “education is liberal” that is not an argument

  106. I took the time to follow through. In terms of disinvitations according to the Business Insider. right wing speakers are disinvited at about a ratio of 2:1.

    Your example of the professor is probably not what it seems. He wrote a paper for an outside ‘think-tank’ not a peer reviewed journal where rebuttals are also published. If I was taking political science, not sure how I would feel about the credibility of a professor who blames Betty Friedan for transgenderism . While the article suggested that students debate him on the paper, as an undergrad I would have never argued with a professor for fear of mark retaliation. It is really an unequal power situation.

    I think the best way to protect free speech at universities is to pair controversial speakers with their opposites and have fact checkers active. Move towards an approach that fosters conversation and respect for the person as opposed to the ideological agenda and model those skills for students. And allow student questions be responded to by both speakers.

  107. Concerning Scott Yenor, I’m not sure why you think publishing for a think tank as opposed to a peer reviewed journal would make a difference in any of the opposition he has received. Scholars publish a variety of articles in different places all the time depending on who the intended audience is. Yenor’s article is reasonably argued research from cited sources no different from thousands of other articles published each year by scholars, academics, thinkers, and critics. It went unnoticed until it was posted on the Boise State Dept of Public Service Facebook page. Offended readers immediately demanded it be taken down, then wanted him fired. No one has as of yet demonstrated that his argument is wrong. These responses thus far have been remarkably unacademic.

    It sounds like you’re advocating a debate style forum, symposium, or round table and that is, I think a perfectly acceptable format and entirely appropriate for the public exploration of many issues, but it can’t be the only way we consider important ideas. I’m not sure how “fact checkers” would work since the speakers themselves are the fact checkers.

    The way you keep academic freedom free and vibrant is if you don’t agree with someone’s position, you do the intellectual research, you respond to them, and you prove how they’re wrong, hopefully in a civil manner. Yes. It’s rigorous work, but ideas hone ideas. That’s how research works. You don’t have fact checkers and gatekeepers deciding which ideas are approved and which are not. Because obviously, once you have unchallengeable orthodoxies with underlying premises you’re not allowed to question, then you no longer have academic freedom.

    Unfortunately, some of Yenor’s critics are lazy, its just easier to shut down the ideas of someone you don’t like without having to debate them….by casting false aspersions on their character and demagoguing their work. It’s one thing to say, “that idea is stupid, here’s why,” but to demand someone be censored and fired for otherwise reasonble content is chilling if not frightening.

    I mean Scott Yenor is now a neo-Nazi because in this article he attempts to track back contemporary ideas on sex and gender to what he considers their logical starting point in some of the ideas of feminism….It’s a reasonable proposition, but because he challenges entrenched political interests, he’s a threat whose ideas have to be de-legitimized.

    He’s getting heavy flak so he must be over the target.

  108. interesting how you blame the libs when it’s the right that is statistically more ignorant.

  109. “It was in a letter to Baptists that Jefferson used the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” to summarize constitutional protections.”

    Actually he was not summarizing constitutional protections of his time. He was expressing what he would have liked to see all the states do. But he also made clear that he could do nothing to help them with that because he was only the president and the federal government could do nothing on the subject of religion.

  110. “You assign your own motives to me and then argue against them.” Back when I used to visit HuffPo I found out that it is hard for many liberals to argue without the help of straw men.

    So many clairvoyants, wasting their time trying to read our minds when they should have been using their psychic talents to read the minds of the swing state voters last fall!

  111. This is one of the most frustrating things about trying to have a half-way rational discussion with progressives. You just gotta leave it alone laughing cause it’s so crazy.

  112. You just about covered it all in that one paragraph.

  113. Half-rational, but not at all in its entirety. You start off with a provocative broadsides of unfounded generalizations and compound it by undermining your own prior statements and then end it with tone trolling. I don’t know what you consider a conversation, but it was clear you had no interest in anything other than an echo chamber.

  114. I would have liked to have seen this published in an academic journal rather than a GOP think tank publication – partly for the discussion by academics/researchers who are familiar with works cited as well as other works not considered. Rebuttals are common in traditional academic journals. When Yenor goes off in a new direction, it makes more sense that he begin in the arena where he normally publishes. It is in professional journals that academic freedom thrives. It also provides a venue for others to consider beforehand possibly pre-empting the shut down. And then, from there think tanks based on those laurels. (aks first published in etc). Think tanks have no obligation to publish anything contrary to positions they have published. Additionally they are not at the top of academics’ reading lists either. Going first hand to a think tank with an apparently original idea Otherwise, it is akin to self publishing while using status to push the book even though it is not in area of expertise – seen it done more than once. Plus ends any controversy as to credibility.

    A debate style forum was suggested at a university level. Undergrads generally have minimal research skills and probably hold opinions based on what pops up on social media feed and peers. And there is a big difference in inferred status between a published PhD and a student in terms of their ability to challenge on a more adult level. I see it more as having potential as a learning opportunity for students as to how to engage in civil discussion while holding differing opinions and strengthening awareness as to how to effectively challenge positions.

    Sorry about the delay

  115. Uh huh, tell me more Shawnie5 about how others are using bias and opinion instead of fact to back up their statements; as you do the same. 5 kids, multiple states (Florida, New York, Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington, and Oregon), 17 total schools (yes) – all public – all taught civics, U.S. History, and a plethora of other programs. All of my children (I’m an Atheist and Liberal mind you) from 8 to 19 can define their rights and understand how this country was formed. It isn’t the lack of information but how it is consumed. Most states that we lived in that were right-leaning push extremely heavy into standardized testing which causes teachers to teach through rote memorization the details for the standardized test. This does not teach critical thinking. Here in Washington (where I am now) they teach critical thinking and assume that those skills will help on the testing, as opposed to teaching the answers to the test (Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee).

  116. Oh, and also: Having lived in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, Washington, and Oregon — I can tell you from first-hand experience that the first 3 generally had people who believed the data like it is in this article, and I’ve yet to meet that mindset in the later three. Though the latter three is more likely to net you the other end of the spectrum (anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists). The ignorance of both ends is due to poor education in many regards, lack of parent influence and teaching of critical thinking skills, but heavily influenced by economic status across the board.

  117. You do realize that NCLB was repealed a year and a half ago, fortunately, and more control has recently been returned to the states?

    Heavy standardized testing came about in an effort to meet the requirements of NCLB which was not a conservative but a bi-partisan effort — it was in fact one of Ted Kennedy’s pet projects. And when it was finally repealed and replaced the Obama administration and Obama’s education secretary fought to keep the standardized testing requirements that you are lamenting here. So did the SPLC and the NAACP and Sen. Elizabeth Warren in particular, who all greatly feared the loss of federal oversight, resources and accountability. And so the testing continues at the lower levels – only the scores are no longer required to be used to evaluate teachers. THAT is what the difference is about, and hopefully we will see the same shift in all the states.

  118. Atheist Americans should start with trying to remove “In God, We Trust” slogan because it seems really silly and dumb.

    But other atheists in those countries which have largely Muslim community, they have really shameful daily life problems.

    For example even though secular Turkey having so many problems due to Islamic government:

  119. I don’t disagree that it’s a problem that they don’t know what certain amendments say. What I’m saying is that you are not just saying this – you are saying that this lack of education is to be blamed on liberals and that is where I am taking exception. Liberals have no political motive to suggest someone shouldn’t be aware of those rights.

    Did you read the article? Because it doesn’t say anywhere that the majority of Americans do not know what their 1st Amendment rights are. The number listed in the article is 37 percent.

    Lastly, your data (even though there is nothing in the article to suggest that it is true) is a non-sequitur – you are assuming that because you believe two things to be true that they are inextricably related. What if the data suggested that a higher percentage of those who did not know their constitutional rights also were found to not have attended public school? A logical assertion would say “the majority of Americans are both public school educated AND don’t know what their 1st Amendment protections are”, but you’d be hard pressed to back that up from the information in this article.

  120. “Because it doesn’t say anywhere that the majority of Americans do not know what their 1st Amendment rights are. The number listed in the article is 37 percent.” Go back and read it again. 37 percent can not name ANY 1st Amendment right. There are five of them. About half can name freedom of speech — woo hoo! But only about 14% can name freedom of religion. According to another similar 2015 survey only 10% could name freedom of press and assembly, and only a pathetic 2% can name freedom of petition. All things taken together, it’s pretty clear that the majority of Americans DON’T know their 1st Amendment rights.

    “What if the data suggested that a higher percentage of those who did not know their constitutional rights also were found to not have attended public school?”

    Good question. Arizona did a breakdown of the data on that very subject, the assessment being not constitutional rights but the much easier citizenship test. The results led to legislation mandating higher standards in civic education. Only 3.5 percent of public school students could pass the test, compared with 14 percent of private school students. Not good, by any means, but more than four times better.

    (Did you really think public school srudents did better???)

    Even more discouraging is that only about is a third of college and graduate students could pass the same test, according to a study done by the American Civil Literacy Program.

  121. i wouldn’t say I actually hate ignorant, right-wing conservatives but….oh, who the heck am I trying to fool here. I DO hate those people with a passion and say so every chance I get…

  122. That’s precious, dear, but education alone reduces the rate of Christianity so fast it makes conservative heads spin. there’s a reason that the more developed and educated a nation is, the less religious it is. christianity mostly flourishes in underdeveloped nations where there is poverty and lack of education.

    Go to highly educated, highly developed nations like the Nordics or Japan? Christianity is dying fast or never took hold in the first place.

  123. ACtually SCOTUS ruled on it before Obama. They ruled that it is not possible to have freedom OF religion if you are not just as free, with no repercussion or loss of rights, to choose none at all and thus atheists were protected just as any religious designation.

  124. The courts have ruled that case also applies to undocumented immigrants. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  125. can you tell me the name of that decision from scotus?

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