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June 3, 2015

Governor Haley’s Ill-Considered Participation in Mass Prayer Rally

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is promoting and participating in a June 13th Christian prayer rally called “The Response: a call to prayer for our nation.”  She regrettably is following in the footsteps of former Texas Governor Perry who back in 2011 was a keynote speaker at similar event bearing the same name and attended by 30,000.  Governor Haley’s involvement in this event is not only deeply insensitive to many of her constituents, but violates the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

According to The Response web-site,

America is now in such a state of crisis . . . and the root is not to be found in political agendas, economic doldrums, crime rates, or terrorist threats, as many believe. Our country is in crisis because we are a people who are no longer honoring God in our prosperity or humbly calling on Him in our predicaments. The Response is committed to activating a return to prayer by those with contrite hearts, to provide witness that the Church is taking a stand for righteousness and asking God for His mercy on the land we love.

It further states that although “… everyone is welcome to come and join us in prayer, the focus of the prayer will be unashamedly Christian. The only name that will be lifted up will be the name of Jesus Christ.” ADL supports every American’s right to pray and follow the religious beliefs of his or her choosing, including Governor Haley’s.  But the founding fathers knew that the best way to protect these fundamental rights is to make sure that our elected officials and representative government would not impose one religion over another or any religion at all. Governor Haley was elected to lead a religiously diverse constituency.  But her official participation in The Response and encouragement of others to attend this event are deeply divisive.  It conveys a distinct message to non-Christians that they are outsiders.  Such official actions that divide Americans along religious lines are not a productive way to address our nation’s problems. The genius of the First Amendment is that religion in all its diversity has thrived in America because government is required to keep its distance from it.   Governor Haley would be wise to follow this essential principle by reconsidering her participation in The Response. As a 501(c )(3) non-profit organization, the Anti-Defamation League does not support or oppose candidates for political office.

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February 12, 2015

The Right to Be Forgotten Has No Place in the U.S.

right-to-be-forgottenThe right to be forgotten—the right of Internet users to request that search engines remove links to outdated or embarrassing information about themselves from search results—is once more in the headlines in Europe. Recently, following up on a previous European Court of Justice ruling that individuals have the right to ask search engines to remove links to “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant” information about themselves online, European regulators and judges have called for Google and other search engines to apply the Right to Be Forgotten around the world, regardless of which country the search engine serves and where the search takes place. However, the Advisory Council that Google appointed to look into the issue has recommended that Google limit its response to European-directed search services, such as (used in France) and (used in Germany) and not extend it outside the European Union. That Council, in a new report, found that there is “a competing interest on the part of users outside of Europe to access information via a name-based search in accordance with the laws of their country, which may be in conflict with the delistings afforded by the ruling.”  ADL agrees with their recommendation.

Last November the Anti-Defamation League adopted a policy position that “individuals should not have the right to have links to old and/or embarrassing information about themselves removed from Internet search results.” Doing so is tantamount to taking a scalpel to library books, allowing people to tear from public record things about themselves from the past that they simply do not like. The Right to Be Forgotten could allow, for example, a white supremacist to erase all traces of his history of bigoted rhetoric before running for public office, denying the public access to make a fully informed decision.

The Internet has provided the largest and most robust marketplace of ideas in history, opening lines of communication around the world. As the Internet brings the world closer, however, countries must be cognizant of the impact that their laws and regulations have in other parts of the world. In the United States the First Amendment provides much stronger protections for free speech than the laws do in Europe. Americans, and search engines based in the United States, should continue to respect the laws and founding principles of our country, denying the right to be forgotten here.

El Derecho a Ser Olvidado No Tiene Lugar en Estados Unidos

El derecho a ser olvidado —el derecho de los usuarios de Internet a solicitar que los motores de búsqueda eliminen de los resultados de búsqueda los vínculos a información desactualizada o vergonzosa sobre sí mismos— está una vez más en los titulares europeos. Recientemente, a consecuencia de un fallo anterior de un tribunal de justicia europeo según el cual los individuos tienen el derecho de pedir que los motores de búsqueda eliminen los enlaces a información en línea “inadecuada, irrelevante o no pertinente” sobre sí mismos, los jueces y reguladores europeos han pedido a Google y otros motores de búsqueda aplicar el derecho a ser olvidado alrededor del mundo, independientemente del país del buscador y de donde se realiza la búsqueda. Sin embargo, el Consejo Asesor que designó Google para investigar el tema, ha recomendado que Google limite su respuesta a los servicios de búsqueda enfocados a Europa específicamente, como (utilizado en Francia) y (usado en Alemania), y que no la aplique fuera de la Unión Europea. El mismo Consejo, en un nuevo informe, encontró que hay “un interés conflictivo de parte de los usuarios fuera de Europa por acceder a la información mediante una búsqueda basada en el nombre de conformidad con las leyes de su país, que pueden estar en conflicto con la opción de eliminación ofrecida por la sentencia”. La ADL está de acuerdo con su recomendación.

En noviembre pasado la Liga Antidifamación adoptó una posición política según la cual “las personas no deberían tener el derecho a que los enlaces a información vieja o vergonzosa sobre sí mismos sean eliminados de los resultados de búsqueda en Internet”. Hacerlo equivaldría a aplicar un bisturí a libros de la biblioteca, permitiendo a la gente arrancar de los archivos públicos cosas sobre sí mismos que simplemente no les gustan. El Derecho a Ser Olvidado podría permitir, por ejemplo, que un supremacista blanco borrara todos los rastros de su historia de retórica intolerante antes de postularse para cargos públicos, negando al público la posibilidad de tomar una decisión completamente informada.

Internet ha proporcionado el mercado más grande y robusto de ideas en la historia, abriendo líneas de comunicación alrededor del mundo. Sin embargo, a medida que Internet acerca al mundo, los países deben ser conscientes del impacto que sus leyes y regulaciones tienen en otras partes del mundo. En Estados Unidos, la Primera Enmienda proporciona garantías a la libertad de expresión mucho más fuertes que las leyes en Europa. Los estadounidenses y los motores de búsqueda con sede en Estados Unidos deben seguir respetando las leyes y principios fundacionales de nuestro país, negando el derecho a ser olvidados.


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October 8, 2014

Gun Range Owner’s Offensive Ban on Muslim Patrons is Unlawful


Jan Morgan

Citing to public safety concerns stemming from the 9/11 attacks and a recent Oklahoma workplace beheading, Arkansas gun range owner Jan Morgan last week publicly declared her business a “Muslim-Free zone.”  Although this odious and unlawful declaration has been removed from her Facebook page, a message on Morgan’s Twitter account states that the rule still stands.

In a diatribe justifying her decision,  Morgan wrongly claims that Islam is not a religion.   And therefore, she erroneously concludes that Muslims are not entitled to First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom.  Morgan also falsely asserts that she has the option to bar Muslim patrons from her gun range.  But this ban blatantly violates the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993, which  prohibits  “… any establishment, either licensed of unlicensed, that supplies … services to general public … “ from discriminating against a person “… because of … religion.”

Later admitting that the anti-Muslim ban disregards the law,  Morgan nonetheless declared  that she “will do whatever is necessary to provide a safe environment for my customers, even at the cost of the increased threats and legal problems this decision will likely provoke.”  Although she relies on the Second Amendment to remain in business, Morgan wants to ignore federal and state Equal Protection Clause principles codified in anti-discrimination laws.  Picking and choose among legal protections is simply not an option in our nation of laws, and Morgan would be wise to revoke her offensive ban against Muslim patrons.

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