Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Graham Misunderstands Rights

Franklin Graham doesn’t seem to understand the concept of rights. He thinks that getting uninvited from speaking at the Pentagon means his rights have been violated. Politico reports:

The only reason his invitation was dropped, Graham said, was that “a couple members of the Pentagon who are Muslim objected about me coming.”

“I feel my religious rights are being denied here because of what I believe,” the evangelist said. “I believe Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life…I believe that because of my beliefs, that’s why I’m not being given the opportunity to speak.”

Except that you don’t have a right to be invited to the Pentagon to speak. You have an unalienable right to express your religious beliefs, of course, but that doesn’t mean the government has to invite you to speak and give you a forum to express those views — especially when doing so might well undermine the country’s ability to fight a war without prompting an even wider one by declaring an entire religion “evil.”

The constitution provides absolute protection for your right to believe whatever you want. The government cannot arrest you for expressing your views, it can’t prevent you from expressing them in any way. But it doesn’t have to provide you the forum to do it and offer an endorsement of it by allowing you to speak at official government events. Not inviting you to take part in such a forum does not violate your rights in any way.