First Amendment reminder

To the Editor:

To respond to Gene W. Woods’s letter to the editor on April 27, it is quite possible that Mr. Woods may not understand the United States Constitution. Mr. Woods questions as to why the Bayonne Community News would allow for a full-page advertisement to run for a group’s view which is in contrast to his own view. What may be more disturbing is the fact that he questions, “Are there no rules or limitations to what can be published in a paper.” Since I am no expert on the Holocaust I leave that to Mr. Woods to discuss. Mr. Woods is given the opportunity to speak his mind and share his opinion under this amendment to the constitution known as the 1st Amendment. It may be necessary to remind Mr. Woods of the 1st Amendment here; “Amendment I. 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 grievances.”
Mr. Woods I would like take this moment to remind you that you are afforded the 1st Amendment Right and despite what you might think, so are other groups you disagree with. You talk of rules and limitations, and what I find even more disturbing than a group that denies the Holocaust is a teacher, who is obviously well educated, that questions the 1st Amendment within the same argument that Mr. Woods is exercising his 1st Amendment right. The hardest part of practicing is respecting the other side’s point of view no matter how distasteful or vulgar you may find such views. One does not have to agree but you must respect the fact that people are free to publish and speak their views just as you, Mr. Woods, have so elegantly done.
Take a moment to realize that suppressing speech as you are suggesting is actually more troublesome. Your own words are in fact suggesting that the 1st Amendment is not relevant if you disagree with the view. This is where the real problem lies when people such as yourself exercise your constitutional right in an attempt to suppress another person or group’s constitutional right. The Constitution is not something that just protects the majority. It is a document that is to protect the minority from what it is you are attempting to do which is to suppress the minority view. Even if it is not factual, misleading or vulgar, people and groups have every right to express their views. The more a group feels suppressed the larger their movement may become. Let people speak their mind, let them be heard, and that, Mr. Woods, will create a better world. Freedom for the minority view is equally important, and always will be the true way to destroy hatred and genocide.


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