Diary

Thank God for the First Amendment

From The Wall Street Journal:

Turkey Wants Formal Investigation of German Anti-Erdogan Satire

Outrage has put German Chancellor Angela Merkel in difficult position

By Andrea Thomas | Updated April 11, 2016 4:33 p.m. ET

BERLIN—Turkey formally requested that Germany investigate a television sketch that ridiculed the Turkish president, setting up a legal and diplomatic battle that pits relations between the two countries against Germany’s freedom-of-expression laws.

The Turkish government has expressed outrage over a poem recited by German comedy host Jan Böhmermann that made crude sexual jokes about President Tayyip Recep Erdogan. The spat comes at a critical time in German-Turkish relations, as Berlin is leaning on Mr. Erdogan to stem the flow of migrants and refugees who have been streaming for months through Turkey toward Germany.

The Turkish request “and the way forward will now be carefully examined by the government,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday. “I can’t and don’t want to anticipate the results of this examination.”

In a separate move, Mr. Erdogan has filed a defamation complaint against Mr. Böhmermann with the public prosecutor in the city of Mainz, the prosecutor said in a statement Monday.

Mr. Erdogan’s complaint will be examined as part of the ongoing investigation into allegations of offending a foreign head of state.

Under German criminal code, offending a foreign leader is punishable by up to three years in prison. To convict someone, the court must find that the alleged offense meets the legal criteria of being defamatory. For a probe to proceed, a foreign state has to formally request an investigation and the German government must allow it to move forward. Mr. Seibert stressed that Ms. Merkel regarded freedom of expression and press as key elements of Germany’s constitution. “Freedom of expression, art and science is of course treasured by the chancellor and nonnegotiable at home and abroad,” he said.

That decision will be made “within the next days, not weeks,” Mr. Seibert said.

The Bill of Rights

There’s more in the original article.

I wonder: would Germany have considered allowing such charges to proceed had President Bush complained about all of the satire aimed at him, some of which emanated from Germany?

But this points out just how good we have it in the United States. For all of our faults, we still have the protection of our Constitution, the First Amendment of which states that “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.” Nevertheless, we are continually having to fight against the left and their efforts to criminalize speech. William Teach pointed out how the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands is going after a private think tank, for speech that the Attorney General does not like, and 17 state Attorneys General, 16 Democrats and one independent, have formed AGs United for Clean Power, planning to pursue criminal charges against businesses which deny the existence of global warming climate change. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) even states, in his published platform, that he will, if elected, “Bring climate deniers to justice so we can aggressively tackle climate change.”

We have to remain vigilant, because the left and the Democratic Party do not like the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. They’d scrap the Second Amendment in a heartbeat if they could, and the Democrats are constantly trying to push more and more legislation to slowly restrict our right to keep and bear arms. The left want to penalize the free exercise of religion by those who do not believe in same-sex “marriage,” and use the law to punish people who decline to provide services for same-sex “marriage” ceremonies and receptions. The Obama Administration wants to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic Nuns, to provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, even though — really, especially because — the Catholic Church is opposed to the use of artificial contraception. The left want to throw out the right to privacy when it comes to public restrooms and locker rooms, by requiring then to be open to members of the opposite sex if they claim that their ‘gender identity’ is different from their biological sex. The left favor freedom of choice on exactly one thing; other than abortion, the left are very much in favor of having the power of government force people to behave as the left want them to behave.

There was a time when the libertarians, including the official Libertarian Party, were considered to be primarily liberal; the libertarians wanted the government to simply stay out of people’s lives and businesses, and to interfere only when someone else’s rights were violated. But now, the libertarians are considered to be mostly conservatives, because they are resisting the ever-increasing encroachment on our lives and our businesses and our choices by the left. There is a reason that the only libertarians elected to Congress did so running as Republicans.
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Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.