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Archive for Sunday, March 4, 2007

Fear tactics

March 4, 2007

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To the editor:

Ignorance and fear. These are the tools of the self-proclaimed moral majority, including Phill Kline and Rep. Lance Kinzer. Using public ignorance and fear, these men try to intimidate people into complying with their narrow religious conservative agenda. Kline's demand for abortion records had nothing to do with prosecuting sex offenders but everything to do with intimidating young women considering abortion. Any honest effort to prosecute sex offenders would have sought records of childbirth by underage girls rather than focusing exclusively on abortions.

Now, we have Kinzer trying to legislate away protection of teachers' academic freedom. Fear mongering is clear in Kinzer's posturing that, under current law, materials "illegal if sold at a porn shop may be legal if displayed to a kindergarten class." By equating kindergarten curriculum with Porn 101, Kinzer is using public ignorance to instill fear in hopes that such fear will lend support to his agenda. If signed into law, Kinzer no doubt hopes his bill will prey on teachers' ignorance of the law, their fears leading them to self-censor or risk prosecution.

But there would be no prosecution. Kansas statute defines obscene material as "lacking serious literary, educational, artistic, political or scientific value." So any material used legitimately to support school curriculum cannot be defined as obscene - even if Harry Potter does scare Phill Kline. And that is what this is really about. The ignorance and fear used as tools in this crusade are, ironically, what motivates it to begin with.

David Reber,

Lawrence

Comments

Kathy Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

But, that's just it, Pilgrim, there is case law involved which makes your argument moot.

Jamesaust 7 years, 11 months ago

Pilgrim - there's NOTHING in the schools that CAN'T be published in the newspaper.

The newspaper just chooses to avoid offending anyone so it can accept advertising from everyone and sell the maximum number of papers possible. Not all that's appropriate for 18 year olds is appropriate for 5 year olds.

Kinzer just believes that his hicks-with-pitchforks should make the decisions not the elected school board that sets policy and hires/fires the teachers.

Kinzer is the perfect example of why the length of the Legislative session needs to be curtailed.

Kathy Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

What a simple to follow, obvious analogy! Equating Kline and folks of his ilk's sex crime ruse to the latest protection from the evils of pornography ruse of the moral majority should make clear to everyone fooled by the fear-mongering neo-cons, that they have been just that - Fools!

To Pilgrim: "If you can't publish it in your local newspaper, it has no business in your local school library or classroom."

I would be truly interested in you citing some case law to back this up. My recollection of Pico tells me you are confused in questions of law here. The Judge got his inspiration, in Pico, from the case of "Right to Read Defense Committee v School Committee", a 1978 decision from the Boston federal district court where Judge Joseph Tauro described the school library as a place in which the student could discover and explore ideas. "What is at stake here," Tauro wrote, "is the right to read and to be exposed to controversial thoughts and language..." I would ask you how you became the thinking adult you are today, without having had the privelege of being exposed to ideas outside the neocon box?

Kathy Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

yellowhouse, what does this have to do with this thread? Have I missed something?

Kathy Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

Fear of repercussions from whom? I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest....... What are you people afraid of, parkay?

kujayhawk7476 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh, let's see, might there be more pressing issues the legislature and the attorney general's office should be dealing with than this? Oh my gosh, maybe the deteriorating condition of the Regent's institutions infrastrusture????

Kinzer (K), Kline (K)......the dauntless defenders of our morality! These guys, their buddy, Sam Brownback and the other right-wing wackos are dangerous and a constant threat to our civil liberties.

I wonder what will happen when we don't attend the correct church?

Kathy Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

The Miller test? Several state and federal courts have determined that a standard of decency or indecency would violate state/federal constitutional free speech, because it would require a test of tolerance. The key is that the Supreme Court has NOT defined obscenity, and until they do, there can be no "standard".

A few things to ponder:

Do we want the fear that could make dissemination of ideas limited and self-censoring, or do we want free dissemination of ideas? Or is there some middle ground? A national standard? Or would this lead to a standardized mediocrity of ideas?

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