Exclusive – SC Representative: If Anything, Anti-Semitism Bill Is Infringement On Free Speech
South Carolina Republican Representative Josiah Magnuson (District 38) was a co-sponsor of an anti-Semitic bill, but changed his mind about the legislation once he had time to see what actually was being addressed. Magnuson believes it is an infringement on free speech.
The latest version of H 3643 reads as follows:
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 59-101-220 SO AS TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS CONCERNING ANTI-SEMITISM, TO PROVIDE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING IN THIS STATE SHALL CONSIDER THIS DEFINITION WHEN REVIEWING, INVESTIGATING, OR DECIDING WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN A VIOLATION OF AN INSTITUTIONAL POLICY PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION, AND TO PROVIDE NOTHING IN THIS ACT MAY BE CONSTRUED TO DIMINISH OR INFRINGE UPON ANY RIGHTS AFFORDED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION OR SECTION 2, ARTICLE I OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS STATE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 1, Chapter 101, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 59-101-220. (A) For purposes of this section, the term ‘definition of anti-Semitism’ includes:
(1) the definition of anti-Semitism set forth by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the Department of State in the fact sheet issued on June 8, 2010; and
(2) the examples set forth under the headings ‘Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism’ and ‘What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?’ in the fact sheet.
(B) In reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion, South Carolina public colleges and universities shall take into consideration the definition of anti-Semitism for purposes of determining whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent.
(C) Nothing in this section may be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Section 2, Article I of the South Carolina Constitution, 1895.”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Though a supporter of the nation of Israel, Magnuson said that the controversial bill was political, and that he was one of only three people that voted against the bill.
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In an exclusive interview, Magnuson told The Washington Standard that the bill had been placed as a “budget proviso.”
“When the budget comes back, it will either still be there because the conference committee will have accepted it or they’ll not have accepted it,” Magnuson said.
In other words, those in support of the bill will not try and advance it based on the bill alone, but are attempting to hide it in a budget bill.
Magnuson did originally did have his name on the bill as a co-sponsor and said that virtually everyone in the House did also. However, he changed his mind after giving it more thought.
“Basically, this was presented to me as a way to discourage anti-Semitism on college campuses, but as I examined the issue, there were several problems,” he said.
The first problem was that the bill wouldn’t actually do anything.
“It seemed like it was just a political stunt,” Magnuson said.
He then elaborated on the problem that would arise if the bill actually did do something.
“If it did do anything, it would be to infringe on free speech,” he said.
So, in Magnuson’s opinion, and mine as well, the only effect of the bill would be to infringe on free speech.
“I support Israel, but that doesn’t mean that we pass legislation to eliminate all criticism of that country’s actions,” Magnuson said.
I agree. I was curious as to where the anti-Christian legislation was at. No one has put the forward.
However, even while people are attempting to label some speech as “hate speech,” Magnuson saw clearly what this was. It was an attempt to stifle free speech and protect one group of people over another.
“As an advocate of liberty, I don’t think there is such a thing as groups,” Magnuson said. “I think everybody is treated as an individual.”
“When you start to protect certain groups over other groups, then you run into a lot of pitfalls,” he added.
Only three House members voted against the bill: Republicans Magnuson, Jonathan Hill (District 8), and Democrat Leola Robinson (District 25).
There were no votes against the bill in the Senate.
This is cause for concern. I have advocated against the public worship of Islam. I have done so based not only on the First Commandment, but also on the basis that the First Amendment was never intended to protect every single religion. The First Amendment protects the right to do what is right, not what is wrong.
To back my claims, consider some of the quotes from America’s youngest appointed Supreme Court justice, Joesph Story, said.
In speaking of law, Story said at a speech at Harvard:
“There never has been a period of history, in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundation.” (1829)
In response to a pamphlet written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina, titled ‘The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States’, Story said:
“My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government can not long exist without an alliance with religion; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.” (1833)
He would later write in a ruling:
“Christianity…is not to be maliciously and openly reviled and blasphemed against, to the annoyance of believers or the injury of the public….
IT IS UNNECESSARY FOR US, HOWEVER, TO CONSIDER THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SCHOOL OR COLLEGE, FOR THE PROPAGATION OF…DEISM, OR ANY OTHER FORM OF INFIDELITY.
Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country…
Why may not laymen instruct in the general principles of Christianity as well as ecclesiastics…
WE CANNOT OVERLOOK THE BLESSINGS, WHICH SUCH LAYMEN BY THEIR CONDUCT, AS WELL AS THEIR INSTRUCTIONS, MAY, NAY MUST, IMPART TO THEIR YOUTHFUL PUPILS.
Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a Divine Revelation…its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated?
“What is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay teachers?
IT MAY WELL BE ASKED, WHAT IS THERE IN ALL THIS, WHICH IS POSITIVELY ENJOINED, INCONSISTENT WITH THE SPIRIT OR TRUTHS OF THE RELIGION OF CHRIST?
ARE NOT THESE TRUTHS ALL TAUGHT BY CHRISTIANITY, ALTHOUGH IT TEACHES MUCH MORE?
Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” (1844, Vidal v. Girard’s Executors)
In expositing the US Constitution, Story wrote:
“At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Amendment to it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship.
AN ATTEMPT TO LEVEL ALL RELIGIONS, AND TO MAKE IT A MATTER OF STATE POLICY TO HOLD ALL IN UTTER INDIFFERENCE, WOULD HAVE CREATED UNIVERSAL DISAPPROBATION, IF NOT UNIVERSAL INDIGNATION.
BUT THE DUTY OF SUPPORTING RELIGION, AND ESPECIALLY THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE RIGHT TO FORCE THE CONSCIENCES OF OTHER MEN OR TO PUNISH THEM FOR WORSHIPING GOD IN THE MANNER WHICH THEY BELIEVE THEIR ACCOUNTABILITY TO HIM REQUIRES…
The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural as well as of revealed religion…
“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.” (1840, Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States)
In his Commentaries on the Constitution, Story wrote why the central government was restrained in the jurisdiction of religion, and notice he appeals to Christianity as religion, not anything else.
“In some of the States, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in other, Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects.
IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE THAT THERE SHOULD NOT ARISE PERPETUAL STRIFE AND PERPETUAL JEALOUSY ON THE SUBJECT OF ECCLESIASTICAL ASCENDANCY, IF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT WERE LEFT FREE TO CREATE A RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT.
THE ONLY SECURITY WAS IN THE ABOLISHING THE POWER.
BUT THIS ALONE WOULD HAVE BEEN AN IMPERFECT SECURITY, IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOLLOWED UP BY A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHT OF THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION…
Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State constitutions.” (1833, Commentaries on the Constitution)
While people can think and believe what they want to believe and the state has no right to become thought police, the foundations of Islam are anti-American. Pure Judaism that rejects Jesus as the Messiah are also an attack (just as in the days of the apostles; cf. Book of Acts), though I would admit that if a Jew holds to the teachings of the Old Testament law, at least the foundations are similar in law, they have just not come to the fullness of what was promised in the Scriptures.
Still, criticism of Israel for a variety of things, including things the US engages in similarly, should be fair game and facts presented to back someone’s claims. After all, ultimately, we are all accountable to our Creator and we are subject to His laws first and foremost.
However, we already have laws in place that deal with things like libel or slander. We already have laws to deal with threats, and we already have laws to deal with insurrections and rioting. So, Magnuson is exactly right when he says this is a purley political action.
The bill comes on the heels of the US embassy being moved to Jerusalem.
SC representatives and senators should be ashamed of themselves for advancing such legislation that is in opposition to both the US Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution and then seeking to push it through deceptively in a budget bill.
Thank you Josiah Magnuson for upholding your oath in this matter!