Tennessee Free Speech meeting is contentious and intense

The First Amendment got a strong challenge in Tennessee on Tuesday and many Americans were not happy at what they heard. Photo: Free speech protest, Tennessee Photo: AP

CHARLOTTEJune 5, 2013 – The seminar against free-speech went on as scheduled in Manchester, Tennessee on Tuesday night with an estimated crowd of 2,000 people attending.

The seminar was led by Bill Killian, a U.S. Attorney appointed by Barack Obama, and FBI special agent, Kenneth Moore.


SEE RELATED: Is Sharia law infringing upon our American rights?


Among the attendees were Robert Spencer, an outspoken Islamic critic, prolific author of more than ten books and founder of Jihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, also a critic of Islam, author, blogger and political activist.

The contentious event was frequently raucous as numerous dissenters shouted down speakers in what Geller termed “the latest Obama administration salvo against the freedom of speech.”

In an article posted following the meeting Geller wrote, “U.S. Attorney Bill Killian gave a power- point presentation on hate crimes and hate speech. From beginning to end it was full of condescension, smears, charges that the crowd was racist, and thinly veiled threats that truthful speech about Islam would be prosecuted.”

If true, the warnings by Spencer and Geller “on how civil rights laws could and should be used to shut down speech deemed “inflammatory” against Muslims” is frightening. However given the president’s actions regarding Islam on numerous occasions in the past, there is no reason to doubt the validity of the claims.


SEE RELATED: At last, an Islamic voice of reason speaks out


As predicted, despite the gravity of the potential for a major upheaval to one of the most basic, and valued, rights of Americans combined with special considerations being afforded on grounds of religious persecution, the story went largely unnoticed and unreported

From Killian’ perspective, his free speech adversaries are racist Islamophobes. As Geller put it, Killian never once mentioned the fact the people are concerned about terrorism “and the uniform denial and obfuscation, and victimhood posturing, that follows from Muslim communities after every jihad attack.”

Writing for The Tennesseean Nicole Young described a few interruptions as being so intense that some of the participants were afraid of their fellow audience members sitting nearby.

On numerous occasions both Killian and Moore made absurd statements that aroused the crowd to a fever pitch shouting “Boston!” and “Free Speech.”

Among the protesters was former Saturday Night Live star Victoria Jackson who said, “The Constitution and Sharia cannot coexist. Islam is evil.”

Manchester, Tennessee was chosen by the American Muslim Advisory Council after a May Facebook post by Coffee County Commissioner Barry West said that Muslims were “best greeted behind a shotgun barrel.” West apologized for his post, but the controversy had already been ignited.

Among Killian’s comments was a claim that there has been a sharp rise in religiously-motivated hate crimes. As if beheading a soldier in broad daylight in a London street or blowing up innocent bystanders at a marathon doesn’t qualify as a hate crime.

Moore went on to show his ignorance of the complexities of the situation by saying “the FBI was continually working to build relationships with worshippers of Islam and other faiths because ‘they are essential’ to keeping the country safe.”

The Facebook post by Barry West was unfortunate, ill-timed and unnecessary, but that is a long way from providing special dispensations to specific entities that deny Americans their First Amendment rights because of mindless comments.

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Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) which offers tours and travel information for people who share his wanderlust spirit.  

Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@magellantravelclub.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 

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