The First Amendment of the United States Constitution ensures that all US citizens have freedom of speech and are free to choose and participate in whatever religion they want. However, there is and has always been a lot of controversy over where one person’s rights begin and another person’s end. Fisher argues that, in the United States, the discourse surrounding sexual morality is predominantly based on the more powerful religious cultures (namely Christianity) which act to control the sex lives of the populace and to organize individuals into those who are “pure” and those who are “polluted”. There are those who corrupt, typically men and “impure women”, and those who are corrupted, typically children.
Following this logic, the United States is organized in such a way that sexuality is suppressed, children are taught abstinence only sex education, and women are slut shamed. However, in recent years there has been a major shift in the discourse. With the ever growing marriage equality laws across the country, people are more aware than ever of the inequality and oppression that those who fall outside of the heteronormative Christian group face.
Recently, the Duggar’s, a very conservative Christian family, the stars of the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting”, have been at the center of controversy. 100,000 people have signed a petition to remove them from the television claiming that they are “fear mongering” and “spreading ignorance and hatred” about the LGBTQI community. All of this started because the mom, Michelle Duggar, opposed a law for her community which would allow transgender individuals to use restrooms and changing rooms based on their chosen gender, not their assigned one. Duggar remarked that she did not want the system to be abused by child predators who could lie about being transgender.
Do you think Michelle Duggar’s response to her town’s proposed bill warrants such extreme reactions from the public? Are her rights protected less under the First Amendment because she is a conservative Christian? Where is the line between freedom of speech and religion and “fear mongering” and discrimination?