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Friday, February 03, 2006

Chill, or where you can and cannot talk about boobs, courtesy of the American Family Association 

Let's start with Jennifer:

Is the American Family Association EVER happy about ANYTHING? Why on earth Christians would expect secular TV to portray us kindly is beyond me.

For the record, the American Family Association is not just offended about network television. They're offended about a lot of things, and take the time to say why they're offended.

In all of the cases, the AFA urges that speech be restricted. Don't award "Brokeback Mountain," don't honor the Planned Parenthood person, don't run for office if you don't pass the litmus test, and don't televise those junky shows.

With this background in mind, it's extremely surprising that this piece appears on the afa.net web site. Emphasis mine:

FIRE Doubts New Report's Campus Sexual Harassment Stats

By Jim Brown
February 2, 2006

(AgapePress) - The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says a new report claiming nearly two-thirds of college students are sexually harassed is "fatally flawed."

The report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) finds that 62 percent of undergraduates say they have encountered some type of sexual harassment and nearly one-third of students say they have been physically harassed. However, the study's definition of harassment includes not only physical assault but also non-contact harassment, consisting of such things as "sexual comments, jokes, gestures, or looks."

The AAUW study found the primary form of harassment occurring in college and university settings to be such non-contact offenses. But Greg Lukianoff, interim president of FIRE, says genuine harassment is much more serious than someone merely being offended. He feels the AAUW report wrongly conflates "harassment" with speech that someone may simply deem inappropriate.

"To have a study that includes things that are actually, in some cases, criminal acts on the same continuum of someone cracking a joke that someone doesn't happen to find funny -- it just shows how detached from reality this study actually is," Lukianoff says. Harassment, he contends, is the most abused rationale for censoring clearly protected expression on campuses today.

The FIRE spokesman says the AAUW's research relied on an "incredibly overly broad definition of sexual harassment." He believes harassment accusations are often, with the help of such over-generalized definitions and restrictive speech codes based on them, leveled to censor free speech on academic campuses....

The academic freedom and free speech advocate believes many university officials today are so fearful of litigation that they take measures that ultimately restrict students' constitutionally protected freedom of expression. Because of the administrations' anxiousness to avoid "what would normally be considered frivolous harassment suits," he says, "they feel like they have to pass these kinds of codes so people don't say things that someone could potentially deem harassment."

This one really threw me for a loop. I could understand the inconsistency in the AFA's position if they were defending someone engaged in religious activity - for example, defending someone who wants to hold a prayer meeting in his/her own home. While logically inconsistent, at least the AFA's support of this case is understandable.

But why is the AFA going through such pains to support sexual speech? Think about it - if a character on an NBC show says, "Hey, baby, those are some hot boobs!", AFA will be leading the petition drive to yank the show off the air. But if a male college student goes to another student and says, "Hey, baby, those are some hot boobs!", it sounds like the AFA will defend to the death the student's right to say this.

So who is FIRE?

The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America's increasingly repressive and partisan colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE's core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

So here are the FIRE articles that discuss the lack of freedom of speech and religious liberty at Bob Jones University:

Actually, there is a potentially justifiable reason for the two different approaches. One could argue that the First Amendment primarily applies to public institutions (e.g. a state university), and that these institutions are obligated to allow all sorts of speech. At the same time, one could argue that there are limitations on the First Amendment for private institutions (e.g. NBC), and that they are not obligated to promote every loony Satanic view.

But it's still a stretch.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

Now I'll have to check and see if I get a lot of search hits for the phrase "hot boobs." Or for "abused rationale." Or "fire articles."
Sounds like pure hypocrisy to me. The only possible reason I can think of for the two-faced standard is that some perverted, horny old AFA guy wants to be able to talk dirty to some young hottie and get away with it. Otherwise, they need to revise their guidelines.
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