Conservative Leaders Decry New Statute Enabling Campaign Against Free Speech
Warn of Unrestricted Political Warfare Against the First Amendment
Washington, D.C.—Congress and President Donald Trump enacted last month—without public debate—legislation drafted by a Sharia-supremacist group, Emgage, that promotes an agenda championed by Islamists and their allies on the hard left: suppressing freedom of speech.
In response, more than 70 individuals and organizations committed to protecting and exercising that foundational and constitutionally guaranteed liberty wrote an open letter to the congressional leadership and the president. The letter calls on Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “clarify your commitments to freedom of expression, reaffirm your sworn oaths to defend the Constitution which guarantees that fundamental liberty, and reject further legislative efforts that weaken First Amendment protections for all Americans.”
At issue is a statute now known as PL115-58. This joint resolution begins by denouncing some of the groups responsible for inciting and engaging in violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. It then embraces—and promotes—a frightening narrative, one that is being increasingly and aggressively advanced by those who, in the name of preventing “hate,” are actually suppressing expression by those with whom they disagree politically.
“We are concerned that this statute will inexorably lead to unconstitutional suppression of freedom of expression aimed at silencing those smeared by political opponents as, for example, ‘haters,’ ‘racists’ or ‘bigots,’” wrote the signers.
“Many of us have been slandered in this fashion, falsely characterized as ‘white supremacists’ or some other, similarly disparaging epithet simply because we support, for example, traditional marriage, civil liberties rather than Sharia, secure borders and the enforcement of our immigration laws and/or effective counterterrorism policies,” the letter continued. “Worse yet, this is no longer a matter of hurtful and groundless name-calling. Increasingly, it is evident that such behavior is just the leading edge of an aggressive campaign to ruin the financial condition and prevent the widespread dissemination of the work of individuals and groups being targeted for what amounts to unrestricted political warfare.”
Signers of the letter include: Cathie Adams, Eagle Forum; David Barton, WallBuilders; Tom Benton, M.D., American College of Pediatricians; Elaine Silodor Berk, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness; Paul Blair, Reclaiming America for Christ; Rabbi Menashe Bovit, Bellerose Jewish Center; Brad Dacus, Pacific Justice Institute; Joseph Farah, WND.com; Pamela Geller, American Freedom Defense Initiative; Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy; Arthur Goldberg, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness; Abraham Hamilton, American Family Association; Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring; Nancy Hansen, Capstone Legacy; Brad Johnson, Americans for Intelligence Reform; Rick Joyner, Morningstar Ministries; Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government; William Owens, Coalition of African-American Pastors; Sandy Rios, American Family Radio; Sam Rohrer, American Pastors Network; Rick Scarborough, Vision America; Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch; Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel; Dale Walker, Tennessee Pastors Network; Elizabeth Yore, #EndFGMToday; and Frank Wright, D. James Kennedy Ministries, among others.