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What The Patriot-News doesn’t understand about democracy would choke a horse

June 27, 2015

This is not a canon law post, so if you’re looking for canon law issues, this post does not deal with any.

Part One

Yesterday The Patriot News of Harrisburg PA, within minutes of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell, banned all op-eds and public letters in opposition to the high court’s ruling. You need to read it to believe it: As a result of Friday’s ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.

In a later tweet, Patriot-News editor John Micek doubled-down on his thought-policing and expressly likened such opposition to expressions of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism. “Pretty simple”, Micek said.

I wonder, have Micek and The Patriot-News ever banned expressions of opposition to any other Supreme Court case? Please, do name even one. […Cue crickets chirping…] I do not know how long The Patriot-News has been in business, and frankly I have never been convinced by the analogies that gay activists try to draw between “same-sex marriage” and the Civil Rights Movement, but I wonder how might Micek have applied that very analogy to, say, expressions of disagreement with the Dred Scott decision in 1857 (which, btw, came down on a Friday). Maybe something like? … As a result of Friday’s ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to slavery.

This might come as a shock to Micek, but according to the US Constitution, there are legal ways to overturn Supreme Court rulings, but these ways depend largely on the free and public exchange of ideas in a democracy. Micek’s either going to provide a forum for the expression of those ideas in central Pennsylvania, or he isn’t.

Part Two

Wow. Micek is actually channeling Big Brother!

Incredibly, Micek is now MIS-quoting himself in an attempt to fend off what must have been an avalanche of criticism. Consider his line: “I came up with three sentences which currently read like this”, and read it again.

One marvels at the Orwellian syntax of Micek’s sentence: “I came up with [past tense] three sentences which currently read [present tense] like this”. But Micek has changed what he originally wrote! He now claims that his outright ban (was? is?) only a “strict limitation” and that the immediate character of his ban takes effect only after a brief interval. Micek still will not accept letters in opposition to “same-sex marriage”, but The Patriot-News will allow, for a brief time and under strict control, criticism of the high court’s decision and its legal merits.

How very open-minded of Micek. One can’t criticize “same-sex marriage” in his house, but one may, I suppose, make ancillary remarks about, say, the difficulties on the merits caused by Ruth Bader Ginsburg voting in a 5-4 case legalizing “same-sex marriage” after she had officiated at such a rite, a la … Poor form, that, what-what, tut-tut. Indeed, poor form, Ms. Ginsburg. Tsk-tsk. Pass the sherry.

As to Micek’s three substantive points (in their current version, we’ll have to see how they read tomorrow):

  • “No one at PennLive and The Patriot-News is an opponent of the First Amendment.” That’s nice, but it’s also easy to say. No one at PL/PN can violate the First Amendment because the First Amendment only applies to state action. Micek can, and clearly will, run his paper pretty much any way he sees fit.
  • “More than once yesterday I was referred to as ‘f****t-lover,’ among other slurs.” I am very sorry Micek suffered such personal attacks. And I’m sure he feels very sorry for the vicious personal attacks routinely poured out on defenders of traditional marriage.
  • Micek (channeling Henry Ford’s quip that car buyers can have any color they want, so long as it’s black) declares that opponents of the court’s decision “are, and always will be, welcome in these pages”—albeit for a limited time, under strict controls, and provided they don’t criticize “same-sex marriage” itself.

Thanks for nothing, Patriot-News. We have the internet.

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