Lately, there has been a dangerous trend in this country to limit free speech, with calls for representatives to resign and administrative officials to be removed from office. The latest example of this is occurring in Virginia after Republican Delegate Bob Marshall made a statement against the state funding of Planned Parenthood. The transcript of his discussion had religious connotations that some have called ‘hate speech’ and there are calls for his resignation.
Mr. Bob Marshall was quoted as saying that the “number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically…Because when you abort the first-born of any, Nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. In the Old Testament, the first-born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest, and with the knowledge they have from faith has been verified by a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University. First abortions of the first pregnancy are much more damaging to the woman than latter abortions.”
Mr. Marshall is now under fire from his own political party, with Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell taking a shot at the delegate, calling the delegate’s words offensive and wrong. For a political party that beats its chest about supporting the Constitution, there seems to be a sudden lack of consideration for the 1st Amendment and Mr. Marshall’s right to free speech. The delegate identifies himself as a devout Catholic, and so his faith is going to shape his thoughts and beliefs. There are plenty of analogies in the bible of God punishing individuals and civilizations for not following the bible’s guidelines. In addition to his religious views, Mr. Marshall also cites scientific data from Virginia Commonwealth University which has influenced his opinion. For Delegate Marshall to change his belief and thoughts on abortion when it comes to his personal studies and experiences is akin to asking him to toss away a portion of his own self-identity. This is why freedom of speech is so important, because it is connected to individualism as well as healthy political dialogue. Instead of lampooning free speech, Governor McDonnell would have done us a better service by quoting Voltaire as I would have done, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
If Delegate Bob Marshall attempts to force his morality onto the population through legislation then it would be time for us to speak out against him. However, his fight against the state funding of Planned Parenthood should be supported. The government forces taxpayers to participate in government-sponsored population control. Taxpayers can decide to help change the laws that use their money to fund programs they are morally against, accept this state of affairs, or stop paying taxes and go to jail. Legislative change is the only logical recourse to those who wish to object the usage of their taxpaying dollars.
Finally, I’m more concerned with a politician’s legislative record than his recorded transcripts. Recently, Delegate Bob Marshall pushed a bill to support states rights in regards to a takeover of health care by the Federal government. This bill is called HB-10, the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act (VHFA), and it states that “No law shall restrict an individual’s natural right and power of contract liberty to choose private health care systems or private plans.”
Instead of taking his time to lampoon supporters of my natural rights, I’d rather see Governor McDonnell support Delegate Bob Marshall’s right to free speech and HB-10 legislation. While he is at it, the governor could also push his party hard to pass Democratic delegate Ward Armstrong’s HB-651 and HB-652, which gives the individual greater protection from eminent domain. Our representatives must aggressively restore individual rights, rather than actively denying them.
– Chair of the Peninsula Libertarian Party (vplp.org)
– Libertarian collecting petitions to appear on the ballot for the 3rd Congressional District
of Virginia (jamesquigley4congress.com; firstname.lastname@example.org)