More thoughts on Commissioner Coonrod's Alarming Statements
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the comments made by County Commissioner Coonrod today. It seems to me the Greene County Commission is sending a lot of mixed messages regarding what is appropriate and not appropriate in regards to free speech these days.
Greene County Presiding Commissioner Dave Coonrod recently said he was speaking for the entire County Commission when he stated that even if Circuit Clerk Steve Helms disassociated himself from his County office when writing a letter to the editor he didn't have a right to do so. If you are interested in Coonrod's comments you'll find them linked in a previous JackeHammer posting.
I didn't weigh in during the election cycle when there was a controversy over whether Helms should have a poster hanging in his County office which, among other historical references, included the 10 Commandments but, Commissioner Coonrod did. He advised Helms to remove the poster from his office because it might be offensive to some patrons of the office.
As an American and a Christian, I had no problem with Helms displaying that poster including the 10 Commandments but, if I was opposed to the 10 Commandments hanging in the Circuit Clerk's office why wouldn't I also be opposed to a daily choir singing Christmas carols at the County Courthouse?
Don't get me wrong, as an American and a Christian I think it is lovely that choirs are singing Christmas carols in the County Courthouse rotunda. I love the idea.
I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It took one offended atheist's complaint to cause Helms to remove that poster from the Circuit Clerk's office wall. Why isn't this atheist complaining about Christmas carols sung in the Greene County Courthouse rotunda? Could this have been an attack on an incumbent Republican Circuit Clerk in an attempt to effect the November election!?
I'm just asking some questions here, I don't know the answers, and I've already admitted to being naive in the past so, feel free to honor me with that moniker anytime. It's been highly publicized that Christmas carols are being sung in the County Courthouse rotunda but no one seems to be offended enough to complain and the very County Commissioner who went on the record as opposing a poster which depicted American historical events and contained a religious reference has sanctioned these carols. Some people would say there's a word for that, but today, they are being as quiet as a Christmas mouse. ;)
I am opposed to singular citizens censoring religious freedom under the guise of tolerance for all and I am opposed to opening a can of worms which gives elite, elected office holders the power to make judgement calls for everyone about what is acceptable and unacceptable speech, about what is appropriate or inappropriate religious reference and about what can be worn on a T-shirt within a County building. I don't care if you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, a Constitution Party member, an Independent, a Green Party member or a member of any other number of political organizations...free speech is under constitutional protection for a reason. It is in times when an individual's speech offends a person that the wheat is separated from the chaff in regards to whether a person believes it is a valued right.
Freedom of speech should not be used as a partisan exercise.
In a highly publicized public meeting, an independently elected County Commission office holder, speaking on behalf of other independently elected County Commission office holders, admonished another independently elected County office holder for exercising his freedom to express his opinion in the public arena. In doing so, that independently elected County Commission office holder exercised his freedom to express the opinions of himself and the elected Commission in the public arena. It appears that Coonrod believes he has retained the right to express his, and the entire Commissions,' personally held opinions in a public forum while believing that Helms should be censored for exercising his own.
Ironic, ain't it?