Pubdate: Sat, 30 Jun 2007
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2007 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Douglas C. McCrory


I can't believe the U.S. Supreme Court's decision against the student
who unfurled the "Bong hits 4 Jesus" banner (news story, June 26).
What were they smoking?

Chief Justice John Roberts asserted that it is reasonable to assume
that the cryptic slogan would be construed as promoting drug use;
however, by my read the message is clearly satirical. It is more
appropriately interpreted as a jab at the Christian right than a
pro-drug use message, and obviously is meant to evoke a laugh, or
possibly a critical evaluation of the next "What would Jesus do" conjecture.

Interpreted in this way, this speech should not be censored and the
student should not have been censured.

What horrifies me is that now the Supreme Court's conception of the
protection provided by the First Amendment no longer will permit
irony, satire or anything a humorless "reasonable person" may not
"get." Does the court really not understand a joke, or do they just
think the American people can't? I, for one, hope that we, the people,
have a little more wit than Roberts gives us credit for. I also hope
they will stop taking away our constitutional rights. Now.

Douglas C. McCrory

Chapel Hill
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake