Playing with FIRE

February 8, 2007

It’s all well and good to desecrate a flag these days—as long as it’s an American flag. If the flag represents, say, a terrorist organization such as Hamas, then you could find yourself in trouble.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education performs an estimable service by defending free speech on college campuses. It doesn’t choose sides, defending only the speech it likes or agrees with. FIRE has defended individuals from across the ideological spectrum.

In the current case, it’s sticking up for a group of College Republicans at San Francisco State University (SFSU) who held an anti-terrorism rally at which they “stepped on butcher paper they had painted to resemble the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah,” according to FIRE.

Naturally, they have been brought up on charges.

As FIRE vice president Robert Shibley says, “At a public university, stepping on a flag—even burning an American flag—is without question a constitutionally protected act of political protest. The right to protest is at the very heart of the First Amendment, and means nothing if only inoffensive expression is permitted.”

All of which raises the, ah, burning question: Who knew there were any Republicans at SFSU?
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Schools: San Francisco State University Cases: San Francisco State University: Students Investigated for Stepping on Flags