CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND/OR SOCIETAL OBLIGATION: IS THERE A COMMON GROUND (GOOD) IN DEFENDING THE UNPOPULAR ?

The First Amendment to the Constitution:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievancesWe live in a time of conflicting views resulting in actions which may be contrary to our nature and to the Constitution. We mouth the words “freedom of speech”, “freedom of religion” yet are witness to actions which may be viewed as contrary to those principles.In recent months there has been a groundswell of speech vilifying those who are adherents of Islam because of turmoil in the Middle East and the rise of ISIS, violence and speech vilifying the gay community and most recently in Highland Park, Texas a school board’s decision to ban seven books (read Bruni’s column in the NY Times for background http://nyti.ms/1qpFhE6). I Arvada, Colorado the school board recently proposed a curriculum-review committee to promote patriotism, respect for authority and free enterprise and to guard against educational materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder.” See, http://nyti.ms/XYVXqmYet , inherent in all of this are those who, while not agreeing with the concepts espoused by those who “speak” in such terms, will defend the right of those persons to utter their thoughts in public forums.Your assignment is to examine the exercise of free speech and religion through the lens of law, history and sociology. In your research journey you may draw corollaries from history, political science, literature, film and other commentary to draw your conclusions. The question to examine as subtext is whether we are on a collision course in terms of constitutionally protected rights and the intent of the Framers versus a society today confronted with threats from without in terms of dismantling our government and society and domestically confronting change in valuesYou may examine the case Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207 (2010) as a starting point but do not rely on it because it embodies a distasteful situation and one which would definitely fit the parameters of Lewis’s book.. I would suggest that your investigation may also look at historical aspects as well in terms of change in law and the consequences. Does defending the unpopular or challenging via the law that with which we disagree bring us a better understanding of ourselves, our society?