Arts and Entertainment television was out of line for suspending Phil Robertson for a recent statement that the network executives did not appreciate. They may not have liked his Bible quote but he was stating his personal belief and not speaking on behalf of the network. I realize that he is employed by the network, but that should not prohibit him from stating his opinion.
Every American in most circumstances has an opinion and many will disagree or agree depending on the subject. Because someone states something does not mean that it is reality, except in that person’s mind. However, there are many circles of shared belief throughout our world. I happen to believe some are right but some are also wrong...in my opinion.
My opinion is based on my background, upbringing, Bible reading, education, personal studies, media, folktales and even common sense.
I don’t like everything I see on television, read in the paper or hear on the radio. However, I have yet to eliminate any of the three from my life. I don’t like everything I see and hear in church but I still go. Yet, I believe in the freedom of religion just like I believe in the freedom of people to state their opinions and quote their favorite books whether it’s the Bible or Reader’s Digest.
As a free society our task is to muddle through the free speech and make a sensible determination. Free speech encourages or offends people. However the goal of speech should never be to limit human rights to anyone. A worthy goal for us all is to use our free speech to make America better even though words can burn as in the case of Robertson’s statements. Again, just because somebody makes a statement does not mean that it is reality, except in the mind of the person who made the statement. The statement simply is a window into that person’s soul.
I may not agree with what you say or even like it but let’s please preserve the First Amendment. A good America is a free America and a free America means free speech.
Glenn Mollette is an American columnist read in all fifty states. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com. Like his facebook page at www.facebook.com/glennmollette. He is the author of American Issues and numerous other books.
One Man’s Opinion
A Guest Column By Jim Sacia
If it didn’t break your heart it should have. During the week of December 5, 2013, a judge in Texas found a sixteen year old guilty of drunk driving and sentenced him to ten years’ probation. In his drunken stupor, racing his pickup truck, he killed four fellow teens and left one in a permanent vegetative state. The defense used the argument of “affluence.” Don’t bother to look it up, it simply means very wealthy. It became a household word last week. Outrage has swept the legal profession. The argument made was that the young man was so wealthy and undisciplined, in other words affluent, that he didn’t grasp his ill deed.
You can’t make this stuff up. Talk of another trial and disciplining the judge seems to be falling on deaf ears as she is retiring.
Where is the fairness? What about all the inner city kids with no financial means and no parental involvement. What clever word could we find to defend them?
Thirty years in law enforcement taught me that our judicial system is far from perfect but I do believe, what many have said, that it’s better than anywhere else in the world. Two years ago in
Boone County a thirty three year old man married with an infant child was found guilty of aggravated DUI (Driving Under the Influence). The gentleman was a good family man, working in the family business.
Months following the accident the elderly person in the other car died. The prosecutor insisted on a lengthy sentence. The judge ended up reducing the request significantly to four years and the gentleman is currently serving his time.
I will always believe that a competent defense attorney could have argued that the death of the elderly person, months later was not caused by the accident. Once the sentence is handed down there is little that can be done.
Two very conflicting signals! In my opinion neither one is even close to fair. It wasn’t my decision and all the facts perhaps are not on the table.
From what we do know – drive drunk in Northern Illinois you will, to use a very worn phrase, “get the book thrown at you”.
In Texas, if you are a young wealthy punk driving drunk you simply may be suffering from “affluence”.
No one says it’s fair. It sure makes a good argument for competent attorneys.
By Brian Stewart
IL State Representative, 89th District
There are hundreds of new laws that will become effective next year on January 1, 2014. Here is a continued list of some of them that were enacted by the Illinois Legislature. A complete list can be found at www.ilhousegop.org. Please take note and share them with family, friends, and co-workers.
Voting Age: Changes state election law to allow a person who is 17 on the date of the primary election to vote if that person will be 18 on the date of the general election. HB226 specifies that a person must be otherwise qualified to vote in that election (Public Act 98-0051).
Kelsey’s Law: HB1009 prohibits the issuance of a graduated driver’s license to a person under 18 if that person has a traffic citation for which a disposition has not been rendered. The Secretary of State may cancel a minor’s driver’s license if the Secretary determines that the license was issued while the minor had an instruction permit and an unresolved traffic citation. Prosecutors may request that a court invalidate the license of a driver if the driver is convicted of a violation of an ordinance if the violation was the proximate cause of death or injury of another person (Public Act 98-0168).
Toll Way Most Wanted List: Have you ever driven through a toll way entrance or exit without paying the toll? If you have, and if you do it too often, your name may go on an online hall of shame. SB1214 will allow the Illinois Toll Highway Authority to post names of people with the highest outstanding tolls on its website - their version of a most-wanted list (Public Act 98-0559).
Sex Education: HB2675 makes changes in the School Code and the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act. It provides that all public school classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual intercourse in grades 6 through 12 shall satisfy specified criteria. The bill provides that school districts that do not provide sex education are not required to do so, but if a course is offered in any of grades 6-12, the school district may choose and adapt the developmentally and age-appropriate, medically-accurate, evidence-based and complete sex education curriculum that meets that specific needs of its community. The bill also provides that sex education courses shall emphasize that abstinence is a responsible and positive decision and is the only protection that is 100% effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy, STDs, and AIDS when transmitted sexually. The bill allows individuals to examine the instructional materials to be used in the class or course (Public Act 98-0441).
Safety & Welfare of School Students: HB2768 states in a school district other than the Chicago School District, a principal will have the responsibility to utilize the resources of law enforcement when the safety and welfare of students and teachers are threatened by illegal use or possession of weapons, or by illegal gang activity. The bill specifically mentions illegal gang activity as an offense under which courts or police must report to the principal when a student is detained (Public Act 98-0059).
Bring Your Parent To School Day: HB129 amends the School Code and permits a school board to designate the first Monday in October of each year as “Bring Your Parents to School Day.” It provides that on this day, a school board may permit the parents or guardians of students to attend class with their children and meet with teachers and administrators during the school day (Public Act 98-0304).
Puppy Lemon Law: SB1639 amends the Animal Welfare Act and provides that certain disclosure requirements apply to the sale or exchange of each dog and cat within the State. In other words did you pick out a sick puppy? The pet store has to take it back and/or pay for your vet bills. There are restrictions that apply (Public Act 98-0509).
Workplace Violence Prevention Act: HB2590 creates the Workplace Violence Prevention Act. It allows an employer to seek an order of protection if an employee has suffered violence or threats of violence at work, or if the threat can be reasonably assumed to be carried out at work (Public Act 98-0430).
Domestic Battery Penalties: HB958 toughens the penalty for repeat domestic battery offenders. Under the law, domestic battery is a Class 4 felony if the defendant has one or two prior convictions for domestic battery. It is a Class 3 felony if the defendant has three prior convictions, and it is a Class 2 felony if the defendant has four or more prior convictions for domestic battery (Public Act 98-0187).
Work Zone Penalties: HB1814 creates separate offenses for exceeding the speed limit in construction zones. We all have wondered about the high penalties for work-zone speeds when no one is there. This law increases the penalties for speeding when workers are present and lowers penalties when the worksite is empty (Public Act 98-0337).
As another year comes to a close, we look forward to the next and welcome new challenges and obstacles in life. I wish you courage, hope, and faith to overcome all the hurdles you may face. May you have a great year and a wonderful time ahead in 2014. God bless you.
In the words of Goran Persson, “Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.”