First Five Newsletter: October 3, 2019

First Five
COMEDY AND FREE SPEECH, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND LGBTQ RIGHTS IN THE COURTS, FIRST AMENDMENT COMMENTARY BY DONALD TRUMP JR. AND MORE

First Five Column

The Freedom Forum Institute’s Katharine Kosin, Kirsti Kenneth and Pierce McManus discuss the social repercussions of freely speaking in ways that are offensive to marginalized communities — and whether or not being fired for what you say breaches the First Amendment. Read the column. A plain text version is available here.

News

Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, a Sikh sheriff’s deputy in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, was fatally shot Friday, Sept. 27 during a routine traffic stop. Dhaliwal is remembered for making national headlines in 2015 after he successfully lobbied the sheriff’s office to allow him to grow facial hair and wear a turban — as part of his religious commitments — while on duty.

Technology

In The Hill, Donald Trump Jr. argues that censorship by big tech companies — not government censorship — poses the most significant threat to free speech. He writes: “Which sounds more like free speech to you? Google, Facebook and Twitter wielding their unchecked power to silence conservative voices while avoiding the obligations imposed on normal publishers? Or citizens and political candidates freely expressing their opinions online without fear of suppression? The disdain shown by technology companies for viewpoint neutrality and their refusal to be honest about it shows the threat of the Silicon Valley monopoly over the modern public square.”

Law

A Catholic adoption agency in Michigan won a preliminary injunction against a state requirement directing the agency to place children with same-sex couples. And the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement backing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which is being sued for terminating a teacher’s contract because of his same-sex marriage.

Scholarship

Yale University Professor Tisa Wenger’s book, “Religious Freedom: The Contested History of an American Ideal,” illustrates how discourses about race, empire and religious freedom shaped one another at key moments in American history. In a podcast for The Religious Studies Project released earlier this week, David G. Robertson sits down with Professor Wenger to discuss how religious freedom talk shapes the category of religion.

Commentary

On the first anniversary of the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, The Washington Post published a collection of opinion pieces about the significance of his death. From Fred Ryan, the Post’s publisher and chief executive: “[T]he memory of Jamal’s killing will be long-lasting because its effects will be long-lasting. We will forever be deprived of the stories he would have written and so will remain forever ignorant of corruption he might have exposed, heroism he might have praised and insights he might have offered. Jamal’s story cannot be forgotten. If it is, his murderers will succeed in evading justice.”


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