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FRC’s Inane Argument Against Overturning Citizens United

A bill has been submitted to adopt a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and, despite the fact that the bill has zero chance of passing, the Family Research Council is working overtime to fundraise on the issue, absurdly claiming that the bill would destroy the First Amendment and “muzzle the Christian viewpoint.” The hysterical rhetoric here just cracks me up.

I thought I’d seen it all.

I thought the First Amendment was settled. I thought freedom of speech — the fundamental bulwark of liberty at the very heart of our republic — was so basic to our American way of life, no liberal would have the audacity to suggest scrapping it.

But I was wrong.

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall has actually proposed an Amendment to the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution that would give the government the right to limit and restrict political speech. Astonishingly, 45 senators have signed on as cosponsors.

Yes, the proposed amendment focuses on “political” speech and the ability to contribute to candidates or funds spent by and for candidates. But everything in our society today is influenced by politics. If you don’t have free political speech, you don’t have free speech at all.

It’s utterly outrageous to suggest gutting the First Amendment. It is critically important to our national life. Freedom of speech, especially political speech, sets us apart from most other countries in the world. It keeps liberty alive.

It seems Democrats want “free speech” to consist only of government-authorized speech.

They claim they want to cut back on the influence of “special interests” in election campaigns. But of course, the “special interests” they want to silence are organizations like FRC Action. They want to muzzle you and me.

This is not about “election accountability.” This is a naked power grab.

This amendment to the Constitution would give the foxes the keys to the henhouse. Those in power — whom FRC Action is committed to holding accountable — would now have the ability to silence us, to gag us, to strip us of our right to fully engage in the political process.

Interestingly, if such a far-fetched alteration of our Constitution were to actually take place, there is a particularly strong group that would be protected — the press! Democrats’ liberal allies in the mainstream media would retain their free political speech, while organizations like FRC Action would lose theirs…

The Left would love nothing more than to quash our freedom of speech; to silence our calls for liberty and self-government; to muzzle the Christian viewpoint; to make the debate totally one-sided; to brainwash the next generation into believing that this is how it should be.

There isn’t even the faintest pretense of an actual connection between the bill in question and any attempt to “muzzle the Christian viewpoint.” Citizens United dealt with how much money could be spent on independent expenditures during a campaign, and from what source. It doesn’t restrict Christians or Christian organizations any more than any other group. And bear in mind that the regulations overturned by that ruling existed for many years before that. Was the “Christian viewpoint” being “muzzled” from 2002 to 2010? Of course not. This is just pure demagoguery, empty fear mongering to scare their ignorant followers into sending them more money.

Comments

  1. Artor says

    Well, the FRC knows their followers will never check up on their claims. There are tens of thousands who believe every word of that screed, and think it’s a perfectly rational conclusion. The lies are just tiresome. The scary part is how many people embrace them wholeheartedly.

  2. Chiroptera says

    Yes, because US conservatives, including the Religious Right, cannot win elections without gerrymandered election districts, preventing opponents from voting, and using vast financial resources to drown out the airing of opposing viewpoints.

  3. says

    “Citizens United dealt with how much money could be spent on independent expenditures during a campaign, and from what source.”

    Citizens United dealt with a corporation that wanted to make and distribute a movie on Hillary Clinton. Seems a 1st amendment issue to me. If a Constitutional amendment rolls back the 1st amendment enough to forbid the distribution of Hillary, would the 1st amendment still be strong enough to protect, say, Farenheit 9/11?

    And if so, on what legal grounds?

  4. theguy says

    If I remember correctly, the FRC lobbied for the Ugandan anti-gay law. One part of this law was to silence pro-gay speech.

    That being said, the FRC shouldn’t be accusing anyone else of censorship. Of course, they don’t feel shame – makes it easier to lie.

  5. zenlike says

    rturpin says

    Citizens United dealt with a corporation that wanted to make and distribute a movie on Hillary Clinton. Seems a 1st amendment issue to me. If a Constitutional amendment rolls back the 1st amendment enough to forbid the distribution of Hillary, would the 1st amendment still be strong enough to protect, say, Farenheit 9/11?

    Maybe you should actually read up on Citizens United. And no, Fahrenheit 9/11 would still be legal even if the ruling in Citizen United went the other way.

  6. Chiroptera says

    One source has the provides the following text for one of the proposed amendments:

    SECTION 1: To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.

    SECTION 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.

    SECTION 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.

    As far as I know, the movie about Hillary Clinton wasn’t a movie just showing up in theaters to earn it’s producers a profit; it’s distribution was being paid for by a corporation, Citizens United. It would appear that the amendment would give Congress the authority to regulate such a thing.

    I don’t know enough about how or when Fahrenheit 9/11 was financed and distributed to know whether it, too, could be affected.

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