Video: O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly yell at each other over atheism; Update: Atheist sign stolen from Capitol; Update: Sign found
posted at 1:17 pm on December 5, 2008 by Allahpundit
Surprise fireworks as FNC’s most combative anchor tries to explain the First Amendment to its most combative commentator. Good luck, Megyn!
My knowledge of FA jurisprudence is rusty, but isn’t the crucial distinction between the atheism case and O’Reilly’s MLK/KKK hypothetical the fact that one of them touches on religion and the other doesn’t? The Establishment Clause prevents the state from endorsing religion over no religion, but there’s nothing in the Free Speech Clause preventing it from endorsing one non-religious viewpoint over another. The fact that MLK Day is a federal holiday doesn’t mean we have to have Klan Day, for example. (Although good luck applying that reasoning to Christmas.) In other words, whereas the religion clauses set a certain baseline which the state in theory can’t diminish or exceed for any group, the baseline set by the FSC operates only as a floor, not a ceiling. Everyone has a right to protest on public grounds, no one has a right to have an exhibit devoted to their own little pet cause installed in the rotunda of the state Capitol. Or so I understand it. Exit question: If Kelly’s so worried about the state dictating which viewpoints are and aren’t appropriate, why does she seem okay-ish with the “fighting words” doctrine, which lets it criminalize certain types of speech that make people really, really angry? If atheists hold a rally and Christians show up to chant that they’re going to burn in hell, are those “fighting words”? They are in my neighborhood, bro! (But wouldn’t be in court.)
The sign, which celebrated the winter solstice, had some residents and Christian organizations calling atheists Scrooges because they said it was attacking the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth…
The incident will not stifle the group’s message, Gaylor said, adding that a temporary sign with the same message would be placed in the building’s Rotunda. Gaylor said a note would be attached saying, “Thou shalt not steal.”
“I guess they don’t follow their own commandments,” Gaylor said. “There’s nothing out there with the atheist point of view, and now there is such a firestorm that we have the audacity to exist. And then [whoever took the sign] stifles our speech.”
Update: The sign’s resurfaced at a radio station in Seattle after someone showed up and dropped it off. Smells like an inside job:
State Patrol Sgt. Ted DeHart said the billboard was still on display Thursday evening when the Capitol rotunda building was shut down.
“We have troopers responding to the scene to actually take a look around,” he said.
DeHart said there would be no way someone not authorized to be inside could get in the building after it’s closed at 6 p.m.