First Amendment Run Amok

Rick Wiles is an American non-denominational senior pastor at Flowing Streams Church in Vero Beach, FL, radio host and pundit. He is the founder of TruNews, a website known for promoting racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Mr. Wiles came onto my radar yesterday when I saw this …Wiles-tweetHe went on to say …

“If they take him [Trump] out, there’s gonna be violence in America. That’s all there is to it. However he leaves, there’s gonna be violence in America. I believe there are people in this country, veterans, there are cowboys, mountain men, I mean guys that know how to fight, and they’re going to make a decision that people who did this to Donald Trump are not gonna get away with it. And they’re gonna hunt them down. The Trump supporters are going to hunt them down. It’s going to happen, and this country is going to be plunged into darkness and they brought it upon themselves because they won’t back off.”

Yes, before you beat me to the punch, I know this is just ignorance and hatred talking, I know that Mr. Wiles is but a gnat on the posterior of humanity.  But … I propose that his speech is classified as hate speech and as incitement to violence and must be stopped.

I’ve said this at least a thousand times before on this blog … ‘Rights’ come with responsibilities.  Rights are not unconditional.  Those who cannot use their rights judiciously, who continually abuse them, who cause harm to others by invoking their own rights, must lose those rights.  I’ve spouted endlessly about the Second Amendment, how it does not give the right to unfettered and unconditional gun ownership, nor the right to own an unlimited number of guns with the capability of killing hundreds within minutes.  I don’t think the gun advocates or NRA supporters have heard me, but … know that someday, somehow, somebody will figure out how to shut the gun lobby down and inject common sense into the interpretation of the amendment.

The First Amendment is no different.  Contrary to popular belief, it does not give people the unlimited right to say whatever pops into their mind, in any venue, and at any time.  Mr. Wiles is a public figure, and as such, he has even more responsibility than the rest of us.  He has a history of racism and anti-Semitism.  He frequently referred to President Obama as a “demon from hell”.  He has asserted that the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the city of Houston, Texas resulted from Houston’s LGBT community; has described Judaism and Islam as “the Antichrist”; has called Central American immigrants a “‘brown invasion'” being used by God to punish American whites because of abortion; has claimed that the Las Vegas massacre was conducted by government death squads; has asserted that Antonin Scalia was murdered; and, in July 2018, predicted an imminent coup that would result in the nationally televised decapitation of the Trump family on the White House lawn.

There are those who would say all of the above fall under the protections of the First Amendment right to free speech.  I disagree.  Remember when Alex Jones claimed that the Sandy Hook school shooting was all a hoax and that the grieving parents were paid actors?  Some parents are still being threatened by the fools who bought into his theory. Remember when the same Alex Jones bought into the theory that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were dealing in human trafficking and child sex slavery in the basement of a local pizzeria?  Yes, folks, words have consequences.

Do you seriously believe that the framers of the Constitution would endorse or support a man calling for the death of members of a political party solely because that party followed the mandates of the Constitution?

I think we have long passed the point where we need to codify the limitations on certain ‘rights’, starting with both the First and Second Amendments.  For far too long, it has been open season … people claiming that they have a right to say whatever they wish, whenever and wherever, and damn the consequences.  Mr. Wiles presents a clear and present danger to all of us who do not sing the praises of the Oaf in the Oval, and this is not … I repeat … THIS IS NOT the idea upon which this nation was founded.  The right to free speech was intended to provide people the ability to engage in political discourse, to state opposing viewpoints without fear of repercussions.  It was never ever intended to be a tool given to those who would incite violence for any reason.  This nation was once a hell of a lot better than it is today.  Think about it.

37 thoughts on “First Amendment Run Amok

  1. You know it is a sad day when the corruption and lies are spouted, not just from the pulpit, but from the microphone in the public space. Americas churches are becoming so corrupt and vile… I wouldn’t give this @#&* two cents worth of my time. America, Please Wake Up!

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    • Unfortunately, when we try to put any restrictions on freedom of speech, it becomes a slippery slope with some trying to take it too far. But in truth, I do think the time has come to put a muzzle on people like this who openly call for violence. Imagine if speech had to be truthful or honest … why, Fox News and others would be out of business! Not to mention that the president would never be able to open his mouth. Hmmmm … might be rather nice, eh?

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  2. So true Jill. None of these rights are absolute rights. There are always exceptions, at least there should be. You can’t talk to these nut cases though. My wall would understand better. They’re clueless…mindless….hypocrites. Am i being too harsh? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sigh … you are right … I don’t know what has happened to respect and kindness in today’s world. I don’t much like the world the way it is these days. My friends/neighbors are refugees from Iraq, and just last week they became U.S. citizens. They are great friends, and we love them dearly, so of course I told them how very proud I was of them all, but then I said … “I don’t want to be a citizen anymore … I hate this country”. It just came out of my mouth, with no thought whatsoever, but the words were the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s what it’s come down to Jill. We’re all horrified at what he’s done, and what he’s doing. It’s nice to know your Iraq friends have obtained citizenship. I’m sure that they’re kissing the ground..not literally of course…because we know life over there was pretty atrocious. We do have opportunity here, that they would never have in Iraq. I guess you can say we’re still a beacon for many in the world….even though Donny boy is trying his best to remove that beacon! We can’t let him do it!

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        • Yes, I guess we sometimes forget that while we are in a bad situation at the moment, others around the world have it much worse. And yeah … Donnie and his supporters would happily stop people like our friends from even coming to this country, let alone becoming citizens, were it in their power. Perhaps we should send them to Syria or Afghanistan to live for, say, 6 months and see how they fare?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. OK Wiles, as you are obviously in the SFB category, let’s take you by the scruff of your scrawny little neck and face your ugly little face against the wall of history.
    1861-1865….Guess who won that war…..asshole!
    Those who start wars usually lose them (WWI; WWII; I won’t go any further because it will tax the whatever you have between your ears).
    Question
    “Hey Rick Wiles fell off of a building the same time as Steve Bannon and Alex Jones”.
    “Who hit the ground first?”
    “Gee I never thought to ask through all the cheering,”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In October of 1943 during a speech in the UK Parliament, the revered Winston Churchill spoke some words about free speech that seem relevant to this excellent post. “Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.” The outrage expressed by the discourse of Rick Wiles regarding the possible removal of Trump is odious and a downright dangerous incitement of violence. In that event, it is quite possible that there are some of Trump’s more rabid supporters who will resort to exactly what Wiles is promoting. Sadly, it is also possible that there are some dissenters of Trump who will fall prey to the fear Wiles hopes to instill. Thank-you!

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    • Thank you, dear Ellen! Yes, that is exactly my fear … as Keith pointed out in his comment, look at all the times just recently that somebody’s words, often Trump’s, has given someone the idea or the motivation to commit violent acts. I have always fought for the right to free speech, but in this Reign of Trump, I am now supportive of certain constraints. The trouble with that, of course, is that it is a slippery slope, and who can be trusted to decide where that very fine line is? Sigh. A conundrum indeed. I have no doubt whatsoever that when Trump leaves office, especially if he is impeached or voted out, there will be “trouble in River City”. How we prepare for that, as suggested by Hugh, I do not know. I suspect temporary martial law will be required. Never thought we would have to live like this. Sigh.

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  5. Jill, as you know, bigotry from the pulpit is a pet peeve of mine. It is a gross dereliction of duty when a religious leaders demonizes others.

    Promoting violence goes further than bigotry and could be viewed criminally if someone took him up on his “preaching,” We should not forget the Florida Trump follower who sent bombs in the mail to 15 or so Democrats. Nor should we forget the Texas male who drove across the state to kill Mexican-Americans. This also does not condone the Democrat who shot up a Republican Congress baseball practice either.

    We need ministers to preach inclusion. And, while I am a far from perfect person, folks that hold up the president as God-chosen, are overlooking his morally and alleged criminally corrupt behavior. Multiple affairs, multiple sexual assault victims, rampant lying and bullying and maltreatment of allies, friends and trading partners seem to run counter to WWJD? Keith

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    • You make excellent points. Words matter, they have consequences. To your list, I would add the families who lost children in the Sandy Hook shootings, and have been mercilessly hounded because of Alex Jones’ ridiculous conspiracy theory. There is always somebody out there with an axe to grind, and all it takes is somebody like Trump, Jones, or this Wiles character to set them off, to lend false legitimacy to their acts of violence. Though not religious myself, I’ve always thought it was the duty of the churches and their leaders to promote peace, inclusion, and love for others, but more and more these days we see them promoting hatred and violence. Sigh.

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      • Jill, we need people to say to others “that is not right” regarding inappropriate action or statements. What Alex Jones did to Sandy Hook families was not only not right, he may have to pay a hefty penalty for it. When people say the president is not a politician to rationalize when he is being a jerk, they need to hear that is not right. Namecalling, denigrating, lying, etc. is not being unpolitical – it is wrong. Our president is an exemplar. When he acts like a jerk, others feel empowered. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • You know I agree with you … but it seems that some people … about 40% of them … find some thrill in Trump’s horrific language and behaviour. That’s a problem, in my book. What ever happened to common decency???

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  6. Thank you sharing!!.. Unfortunately those closed minded individuals (who are interested in their own interests, no one else’s) use “fear” to promote their ideology, be it religion, economics, etc to justify their actions against humanity.. world over… change started in the Obama era and now those who reject change are “drowning creatures grabbing at straws”…

    “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”. Isaac Asimov

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    • Thanks Dutch! You are so right … self-interest to the exclusion of all others is one big part of the problem here and throughout the western world. But, I think ignorance or apathy is the other part … many simply choose not to educate themselves about the situations at hand, and instead prefer to believe what they are told by the pundits over at Fox News, or by Trump himself. Or Boris, or Jair Bolsonaro, etc. A strange world we are living in … it brings to mind that old adage that “truth is stranger than fiction”, for I could never have imagined the world we are living in today, ten years ago. The Asimov quote is quite apt.

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      • There are a good number of people in this world who have found themselves a “comfort zone”, physically or ideology, and refuse to leave it and will vehemently deny any change that may threaten that zone, especially in the world of religion… 🙂

        “Life is a process of becoming… a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” Anais Nin

        “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” (John F. Kennedy)

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        • True … I’m coming to realize that as long as people have jobs and are doing relatively okay, they largely don’t care about the bigger picture, about the potential for disaster. Sigh. So many are content to live in their little cocoons and not pull their heads out of the sand.

          The quote by Anais Nin is a perfect description of this. I’ve never heard that one before … thank you! And for JFK’s, too!

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  7. Well said, Jill. Rawgod has a good point as well. I have come to believe that it matters not whether Trump is ousted by impeachment, by the voters, or by the law that forbids anyone more than two consecutive terms; he will not leave willingly or graciously and armed rabid dogs will back him up. It’s downright frightening.

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    • Thanks John! Yes, Trump has made clear he will not “go gently into that good night”, and will need to be dragged out … I suspect there will be blood shed in the streets in some places when that happens, but happen it must … and the sooner the better, for his bad behaviour is escalating at an alarming rate. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. He may have been trying to rile people up, (or else he is simply engaged in blackmail) but he is basically right — except for the part about “they won’t back off.” It has become about us and them, sadly. And those who support Trump will go to the streets armed and dangerous. That’s a very real possibility. This should not stop the process, but it is something we need to be prepared to deal with somehow. .

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    • It may well be the case that he won’t go quietly, and that whatever followers he still has at that point will be loud and obnoxious, but this guy is basically calling on them to commit murder. As if the fools don’t already have enough bad ideas. I agree … we need to be prepared, but … how to do that? Barricade ourselves in our homes? My fear is that it may come to that. Sigh. I’m not crazy about this country at the moment.

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  9. Humanity itself never came into being to eventuate such travesties, and yet, here we are on the edge of becoming totally inhumane. Ask yourself not, are you a good American (or whatever nationality you are), but are you a worthy living being? If you are not, are you willing, and desirous, of becoming one?

    Liked by 4 people

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