The First Amendment does not mean what these people think it means

Ok folks, let’s get one thing clear. The First Amendment guarantee of free speech does not mean that you can say anything to anyone at any time in any place in any capacity. That this need to be clarified at all is astounding but clearly some people just do not get it, as when a state trooper Brian Hamilton started questioning Ellen Bogan after he pulled her over.

With the lights on his marked police car still flashing, the trooper handed Bogan a warning ticket. Then, Bogan said, Hamilton posed some personal questions.

Did she have a home church?

Did she accept Jesus Christ as her savior?

Hamilton then handed her a church pamphlet that asks the reader “to acknowledge that she is a sinner.”

Although Bogan says that she is not affiliated with any church nor does she attend one, she felt pressured to pretend that she did.

Micah Clark is one such person who thinks the trooper did nothing wrong, and his comments betray a total ignorance of the constitution.

Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said that although the traffic stop might not have been the best time to quiz someone about faith, he questioned whether a police officer should lose his right to free speech because he is wearing a badge.

“I have people pass out religious material all the time. Mormons come to my door all the time, and it doesn’t offend me,” Clark said. “(This case) might not be the most persuasive time to talk to someone about their faith, but I don’t think that a police officer is prohibited from doing something like that.”

Bogan and the ACLU are suing Hamilton, charging that he violated her First and Fourth Amendment protections.


  1. Matt G says

    An on-duty police officer is a representative of the government. It’s that simple. Same is true of a public school teacher, principal, superintendent, etc.

    The officer’s supporters will now claim he is being sued because of his Christianity.

  2. culuriel says

    Does the ACLU have any advice for what to do when we encounter this? I think I would just pause and ask, “Officer, am I free to go?”

  3. lorn says

    Does anyone wonder, or have illusions about, what Micah Clark’s reaction would have been if the officer in question had presented a pamphlet promoting Islam, or Wicca?

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