Conservatives wage a new battle for free speech

Thursday, October 12, 2017
Chris Woodward (

U.S. ConstitutionConservatives are speaking out against a new statute they say enables a campaign against free speech.

The issue at hand is a statute known as PL115-58 -- a joint resolution that begins by denouncing some of the groups responsible for inciting and engaging in violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

However, American Family Association (AFA) general counsel Abraham Hamilton III, argues that the hastily enacted statute has overly broad terms that could weaponize leftist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to continue persecuting groups with which they have an ideological disagreement.

As a result, Hamilton is among the 70-plus signers of an open letter asking President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to clarify their comments to freedom of expression, reaffirm their sworn oaths to defend the United States Constitution as it guarantees that fundamental liberty, and reject further legislative efforts that weaken First Amendment protections for all Americans.

"The hope and the intention is President Trump, Speaker Ryan and Mitch McConnell will all see that and say, 'Wait a minute, maybe we need to step back and revisit what we've done previously,'" Hamilton shared. "This is much broader than somebody throwing out a name and name calling. This is the United States Congress enacting law (PL115-58), but you would have completely broad, ambiguous and undefined terms."

Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, who also signed the letter, said that the issue has already been resolved.

"This was adopted without any debate at all in the United States Congress," Gaffney asserted. "Everybody thought there should not be any controversy or need for discussion."

Some of the other signers of the letter include:

  • Cathie Adams, Eagle Forum
  • David Barton, WallBuilders
  • Tom Benton, M.D., American College of Pediatricians
  • Elaine Silodor Berk, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness
  • Paul Blair, Reclaiming America for Christ
  • Rabbi Menashe Bovit, Bellerose Jewish Center
  • Brad Dacus, Pacific Justice Institute
  • Joseph Farah,
  • Pamela Geller, American Freedom Defense Initiative
  • Arthur Goldberg, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness
  • Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
  • Nancy Hansen, Capstone Legacy
  • Brad Johnson, Americans for Intelligence Reform
  • Rick Joyner, Morningstar Ministries
  • Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government
  • William Owens, Coalition of African-American Pastors
  • Sandy Rios, American Family Radio
  • Sam Rohrer, American Pastors Network
  • Rick Scarborough, Vision America
  • Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch
  • Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel
  • Dale Walker, Tennessee Pastors Network
  • Elizabeth Yore, #EndFGMToday
  • Frank Wright, D. James Kennedy Ministries

Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates

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