Bullying the First Amendment

, Tony Perkins, Leave a comment

When New Jersey passed the strictest anti-bullying law in the country, no one thought to protect teachers. But given how the Left is beating up on Viki Knox, maybe they should have. After making some private comments about homosexuality on her Facebook page, the special education teacher, who’s been with Union Township for more than 12 years, found herself the target of a district investigation. Why all the fuss? Well, Knox objected to the school’s celebration of LGBT “History” month. She posted a picture of the school’s display case on her personal Facebook page and wrote that “homosexuality is a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation… Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us?” Even though she posted the comments at home, after hours, and on her personal profile, officials insist she acted inappropriately.

And those officials include Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.). Christie made the mistake of weighing in on the controversy from a politically correct standpoint. Calling her views “disturbing,” Christie came dangerously close to dismissing Viki’s First Amendment rights altogether. “I think that kind of example is not a positive one at all to be setting for folks who have such an important and influential position in our society,” the Governor said. “I’m really concerned about those kinds of statements being made.”

If that’s the case, what kind of “positive” example does the Governor have in mind? A pro-homosexual view that leads to children’s physical and emotional demise? Our good friend Jan LaRue, who spent many years as FRC’s legal expert, wrote an excellent column in American Thinker about the “not-so-free speech” in Christie’s state. “If Knox’s First Amendment rights aren’t shed at the schoolhouse gate, as the U.S. Supreme Court held in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, surely her rights aren’t shed at the gate of her house… Christie could have seized the chance to… educate his constituents on the First Amendment. He is a lawyer, after all. And Tinker was on the books when Christie attended law school. At a minimum, he should have declined to comment.”

Meanwhile, this should serve as a powerful warning of where “anti-bullying” policy can lead. Homosexuals didn’t invent this strategy just to end “hurtful” speech; they invented it to end all speech! The problem, said ADF attorney Ada Davis, “is they don’t want anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin to be a teacher.” And now, their organizations are using legislation like New Jersey’s as the backdoor to silence anyone who disagrees with them. At the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Left’s “tolerance” was on full display when leaders launched a national campaign to fire Viki. (Now who’s the bully?) Knox’s husband, Gene, probably had the best response. On WCBS-TV in New York, he responded to accusations by saying, “Everybody’s entitled to an opinion… They can persecute her, but they can’t prosecute her.”

Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.