Free speech? In DC? Ha!

By Nathan Barton
The METRO (the subway and bus/train system which serves the District of Columbia and nearby areas of Northern Virginia and Maryland) has a ban on political and religious advertising on its buses, trains, etc. It is commonly called the “Geller Ban” because Pamela Geller and her advertising was the original reason for the “outrage” which prompted the ban.

Here is one of the original ads banned – after all “Free Speech” is political, and the Prophet of Islam is religious AND political:

The ban just hit part of the Roman Catholic Church. Here is the ad the Archdiocese of Washington wanted to run on the DC Metro:

Apparently, based on a quick review on-line of pictures and policies, you CAN:

  • Have ads attacking “Israeli racism”
  • Have ads advertising and promoting abortion services
  • Have ads supporting homosexual “marriages”

But because they are “religious” or “political” in nature, you cannot:

  • Have ads attacking Arab or Islamic fundamentalism or Islamic “homophobic” doctrine and violence
  • Have ads encouraging women NOT to have abortions, or advertising alternatives
  • Have ads against homosexual “marriage” or homosexual practices

Oh, and although you can’t have “political ads,” you can have ads by DC lobbyists touting purchasing THIS military aircraft or that one, and you can have ads promoting FAKE candidates (like “Underwood 2016”) in TV series (House of Cards) – unless you are promoting the TV series “Man in a High Castle” and your advertisement consists of a flag with a swastika instead of 50 stars in the blue canton with the thirteen stripes. (‘Cause that is “promoting fascism” as though Underwood wasn’t.)

Federal court upheld this today, as reported by One Page News. The Catholics lose.

No free speech in DC, not on the trains and buses.

So it is NOT just Catholics lose. ALL of us lose.

Mama’s Note: “Free speech” is not the core problem here. This is just another example of everyone trying to control everyone else via government. The real solution would be private property in a free society. Whoever actually owned and operated the bus, train or whatever would be free to post, or not post, any sort of ad that appealed to them or whatever they believed their customers would want to see.

This kind of “free speech,” with everyone trying to impose their own ideas and power over others, can never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Nobody should be able to force someone else to publish or post their “free speech,” any more than force others to do anything else.

I wonder if the people who ride those buses and trains have much, if any interest in  the ads or posters of any kind. They have their jobs, families and personal problems to occupy their thoughts, I’m sure. I trained myself long ago to ignore ads, anywhere. Especially political ads of any kind.

We are all harmed by the controllers. We all lose when people impose their ideas on others by force.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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3 Responses to Free speech? In DC? Ha!

  1. Excellent points from both of you. The state demands total allegiance, and has progressed to the point that “fake religions” (in their eyes) can no longer be tolerated, lest they weaken the control of the state by some resistance. Another point to remember is that the state has no moral support or justification for owning and operating the Metro – such things should be private property, rather than property seized by government (or purchased by government using stolen money). Theoretically, private property can be used as the owner wishes – and the owner can decide whether or not to allow someone to advertise.


  2. beau says:

    the First Amendment, in its negative sense, means govt cannot support a particular religion. seems simple, doesn’t it? it is quite simple and straight forward until the entry of those with agendas who use the force of govt to shove their ideas down the throats of all. at that point, words/meanings become not so clear, original intent means nothing and the ‘living document’ must be expanded to understand what the words mean.

    if ‘public property’ is used by ALL RELIGIONS to put forth whatever they wish to put forth, then how is govt ‘favoring’ a particular religion? obviously, it is not and, therefore, under such conditions, the First Amendment is NOT violated. so why all the angst when things such as the bus advertisements annotated come to the fore? the answer is simple: if religion, and, therefore, the concept of God can be eradicated, or prevented from seeing the light of day, what then constitutes the ‘gods’ in a society? the answer is govt and those populating the positions in the govt. too much hubris? not for the megalomaniacs occupying the ‘halls of power’ for they think themselves better than and above the rest of us, residing on Mt Olympus, if you wish, and that they are, indeed, our ‘gods’, meant to RULE us in every facet of our lives.

    in summary, the ‘separation of church and state’ is used, not as intended, but, rather, as a club to beat out any concept of religion and God so the state then becomes ‘god’ and is the sole power in our lives. in short, the ‘separation of church and state’ is used to sanction an official religion, ie, secular humanism, and has come to mean the EXACT OPPOSITE of what was intended.


    • MamaLiberty says:

      The key here is control. There is no such thing as “public property,” because the public does not control it. Only private property can be controlled by individuals or their voluntary associations. If they truly own it, of course. With taxes, regulations and so forth, I’m not sure there is any truly private property in the country.

      The power of government to control the lives and property of everyone is the problem, and the “constitution” or BOR certainly doesn’t help in the least with that. The only rational answer is to eliminate the “state” from all of it.

      God is in the eye of the worshiper, and far too many these days worship the state. That’s exactly what gives them so much power.


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