February 25, 2012

Where I agree with an atheist

Personally, I think a lot of them are obnoxious as hell ... but that isn't a crime in these United States. Unfortunately, a Pennsylvania judge doesn't see it that way:

The Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists, Inc., Mr. Ernest Perce V., was assaulted by a Muslim while participating in a Halloween parade. Along with a Zombie Pope, Ernest was costumed as Zombie Muhammad. The assault was caught on video, the Muslim man admitted to his crime and charges were filed in what should have been an open-and-shut case. That’s not what happened, though.

The defendant is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet.

The case went to trial, and as circumstances would dictate, Judge Mark Martin is also a Muslim. What transpired next was surreal. The Judge not only ruled in favor of the defendant, but called Mr. Perce a name and told him that if he were in a Muslim country, he’d be put to death.

This idiot judge called Mr. Perce a "dufus" for his actions, and offered long-winded soliloquies about what it means to be a Muslim.

I don't care what it means to be a Muslim. Or any other religion or culture. The First Amendment clearly protects what Mr. Perce did -- and not what the defendant did. Why even have a First Amendment if it only "protects" speech that everybody has no issue with? It's supposed to protect speech that people may dislike. This Judge Martin (obviously a believer like Justice Ginsburg, eh?) should be impeached ASAP.

Local affilliate report on the incident:

UPDATE: Andy McCarthy dissects the audio tapes and finds that the judge isn't actually a Muslim. But that doesn't change anything about his (the judge's) idiocy regarding the law.

Posted by Hube at February 25, 2012 08:35 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

"The First Amendment clearly protects what Mr. Perce did..."

Yes, but the first amendment concerns how the State can regulate expression. It offers no real protection from private individuals assaulting you or suing you for libel. Not that I think this case was decided properly.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at February 25, 2012 10:31 AM

I think case law would demonstrate that the First Amendment clearly favors Mr. Perce, despite the State's regulation of expression. And yeah, there are certain restraints on free speech, but this example ain't one of them. I'd ask you to show me where such an instance like this hasn't routinely been shot down, and shot down quickly, where there was a judge who had just a bit of First Amendment common sense.

And of course the 1st Amendment doesn't offer protections against an assault or libel. Mr. Perce, however, was guilty of neither of these -- while his attacker clearly was.

Posted by: Hube at February 25, 2012 10:38 AM

I would think the only way that a costume could be considered (making a First Amendment case) as justification for a physical assault is if you could somehow make the case that said costume constituted "Fighting words," which fall under the general limits of "free speech."

Of course, that would be a difficult hurdle, since to do so in this case would require the government to privilege Islam over all other religions, and that is arguably an equal violation of the First Amendment because it amounts to a move toward "establishing" a religion by granting it legal preference.

Posted by: Steve Newton at February 25, 2012 07:30 PM