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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Category: First Amendment
January 22, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Free speech: Pope was suggesting individual restraint, not state censorship

Leonard Pitts Jr. in his column “Pope needs a lesson in freedom” [Opinion, Jan. 18] criticized Pope Francis for his comments during the flight to Manila with respect to freedom of expression. Pitts quoted the Pope: “You cannot provoke” and “You cannot insult the faith of others.” Pitts then assumes, apparently without reading…

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Comments | More in First Amendment | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Free speech, Peter M. Anderson

January 15, 2015 at 6:05 AM

Charlie Hebdo attack: Not an attack on free speech

Despite what some commentators seem to believe, the Western world does not have a “Muslim problem.” And, the Charlie Hebdo attack was not an attack on free speech [“French paper puts Muhammad on cover, provoking a new storm,” Nation & World, Jan. 13]. Muslims are offended when the Prophet Mohammed is insulted. That doesn’t…

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Comments | More in First Amendment, Islam | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Free speech, Joe Sullivan

January 14, 2015 at 11:56 AM

Charlie Hebdo cover cartoon: Should newspapers publish it?

The Seattle Times made a reasonable call in deciding not to print the cartoon in question [“French paper puts Muhammad on cover, provoking a new storm,” Nation & World, Jan. 13]. There is no point in offending anyone.

I would have made a different call and printed the cartoon, but that doesn’t make my choice any more reasonable than The Times’. Having to walk a fine line and make decisions like this are a burden of Editor Kathy Best’s position. I’m glad she expressed the thought that the story can be covered adequately without printing the cartoon, and that The Times avoided inserting the stock self-serving cliches about diversity. If, for whatever reason, the story could not have been adequately covered without the cartoon and The Times chose not to print it, then the newspaper would then lack integrity. Being offended is an unavoidable and unpleasant part of living, and ignoring the offender is part of being an adult.

I trust that in printing stories that involve other symbols that are equally offensive to certain groups — symbols such as confederate flags, swastikas and others, that The Times exercises the same consideration about adequately covering the story and the same measure of respect as it extends to those who would be offended by the cartoon in Charlie Hebdo.

James B. Paden, Blaine

Editor Kathy Best’s explanation why the Seattle Times did not print the new Charlie Hebdo cover cartoon relies upon the notion that

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Comments | More in First Amendment, Islam | Topics: cartoons, Charlie Hebdo, Delton W. Young

January 12, 2015 at 9:29 AM

Charlie Hebdo attacks: We are learning the consequences of the excesses of free speech

We are again reminded that with the gift of freedom of speech comes the responsibility of self-censorship [“I am not Charlie Hebdo,” Opinion, Jan. 10].  The risks are real, and they are horrifying, but those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. When we as members of a sane western society finally give…

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Comments | More in First Amendment | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Frank Mitchell, Free speech

April 4, 2014 at 6:03 AM

McCutcheon v. FEC: Amend the Constitution

The Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC should be the last straw for “We The People” [“Ruling loosens reins on political donations,” Nation & World, April 2]. The five majority judges seem out of touch with how democracy should really work — one person, one vote. It is time to amend the…

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Comments | More in First Amendment | Topics: constitution, democracy, Free speech

August 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Town-hall protests: exercising freedom or hurting discourse?

Not just conservatives protesting ‘Obamacare’ It’s interesting to note there’s not a word of concern heard from the Democratic leadership when Conservative speakers are shouted down by organized liberal students and those allegedly from unions and minority groups or when conservative guest speakers are uninvited by colleges and universities for fear their words might lead…

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Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, Congress, First Amendment, Health care, Politics, Reform, Republicans

August 7, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Town-hall protests: legitimate free speech or dirty tactics?

Deceit has frightened people protesting at forums The people who are confronting elected officials at health-care forums are angry and frightened at the thought of reform. Of course they are. Very clever liars have told them that if health-care reform passes, they will no longer be able to visit their doctor and that illegal immigrants will…

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Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, First Amendment, Health care, Politics, Reform, Republicans

July 24, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Gates arrest: Was officer wrong to take him in?

Gates incident an example of oversensitivity to race Sgt. James Crowley seems to have followed proper procedures [“Was arrest of Harvard scholar act of racism?” News, July 21]. Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested for his hostile and verbal actions, which are common to law-enforcement work and security. I worked security for one of the major…

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Comments | More in First Amendment, Public safety, Race

May 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Freedom and vulgarity

Point of amendment is free expression everywhere While it is easy to sympathize with Joyce Lashua’s distaste for language she finds offensive, her opinion indicates that she agrees with the concept of free speech so long as it is not distasteful or offensive to her [“Free speech: offensive language,” Opinion, Northwest Voices, May 4]. She generously…

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Comments | More in First Amendment, U.S. Supreme Court