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audrey ruth

March 13, 2013  9:55pm

Jim, my question about Kerry's statement here -"People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it's the most provocative thing in the world" - is not a red herring at all; it directly relates to his own comment. How much would you bet that he would never make that statement in reference to a "gay" pride parade? You know the answer to that question, and that answer makes my point. He's not about to touch a political hot potato like that with a 10-foot pole. Dems proved their viewpoint when they booed God at the DNC. You think they would boo 'gays', even if/when they march provocatively in a parade? Yep, you know the answer to that.

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Jim Ricker

March 12, 2013  4:03pm

Audrey Ruth, A irrelevant question (called a red herring) that doesn't address whether or not Americans have the right to be stupid. I also answered your question previously but figured maybe you missed it. What Kerry meant by that is irrelevant. You DO have the right to carry signs, picket and have sit-ins (and a host of other free speech activities) for good or idiotic reasons. Americans take advantage of that right to be stupid quite a bit whether ir is picketing, marching or writing ignorant and foolish letters to the editor or making ignorant comments on the web. IN the context of his whole statement 9video provided below), Kerry was 100% right.

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audrey ruth

March 11, 2013  10:08pm

Jim, about Kerry's statement here: "People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it's the most provocative thing in the world" -- How much would you bet that he would never make this statement in reference to a "gay" pride parade?

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audrey ruth

March 11, 2013  10:06pm

John, it is one thing to acknowledge that about ourselves (and I agree). It is a whole 'nother thing to accuse others of that. But really, Kerry only made clear what Dems in general have made clear for several years now. Good grief, they even booed God Himself at the DNC last year.

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Jim Ricker

March 11, 2013  5:33pm

Sorry but Kerry spoke far less controversially than most people here. Stupid is a good word for what he meant and it matters not what he was thinking when he mentioned posters and such - it is a blanket policy. Personally, I think of those evil, non-Xians at Westboro Baptist along with the "Death to Cheney" folks. Come up with your own group. Plain and simple, we all have the right to be stupid in America and there is no sin in stating the obvious truth while not singling out particular people or groups.

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John Keirsey

March 11, 2013  4:56pm

In comparison to God we are all very, very, very, very, very STUPID. I bet we could multiply the "very" by 10 to the Nth degree, and spell the word Stupid with gigantic letters. Of course this includes the whole world, including me. Jeremiah 9: "23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord." NKJV

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audrey ruth

March 10, 2013  10:33pm

(Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States on Tuesday telling German students that in America "you have a right to be stupid if you want to be. As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view," Kerry told the students in Berlin, the second stop on his inaugural trip as secretary of state. People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it's the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another," he added. // If he had used a far less negative / inflammatory word than "stupid", I wouldn't have a problem with what he said. Q: Who do you think he meant when talking about parades and signs?

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Jim Ricker

March 10, 2013  3:38pm

There is NOTHING political about this statement and Kerry was 100% correct. Here is the video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5twSqDZRdiA

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audrey ruth

March 09, 2013  9:12pm

To be fair, a reporter employed by Time or Newsweek magazine, who traveled with the Kerry presidential campaign in 2004, made very similar comments about John Kerry after he lost the election to Bush. I don't know if Pop Seal saw those articles, or not, but his comments echo the ones I read there. In fact, theirs were actually even more acerbic. Dems were very harsh on him after he lost that election. I've wondered in recent weeks if they decided to make it up to him by having him appointed Secretary of State (and if he may run for prez again in 2012 due to Hillary's health problems).

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Jim Ricker

March 09, 2013  9:03pm

How is this a partisan political issue? Americans have the right to be stupid and Kerry is correct. Christians have the (American) right to be stupid. No matter how much I disagee with Kerry on almost everything politically, he is correct here. Truth is truth no matter who states it.

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Ken johnson

March 09, 2013  9:00pm

My first thought was, what was the context? If J G is correct, it seems like a perfectly legitimate way to explain some possible outcomes in a free society. Not all free speech is going to be intelligent, rational, reasonable discourse. I think it's important to be honest about this with ourselves and with other nations, even those that do not have the freedoms that we enjoy. We have decided that the advantages of these freedoms for individuals in the society, as well as the society itself, outweigh the disadvantages. I think most of those making comments realized that Kerry was referring to a specific example of free speech when he used the word "stupid". He was not using that word to give a definition of the the first amendment. And by the way, Pop Seal, your comments would fall into that category of stupid free speech from my point of view.

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audrey ruth

March 09, 2013  2:46pm

I hear false accusations regularly from the MSM. RE: this article -- everyone in America has the right to be stupid (within bounds). That's part of living in a land of liberty. Of course, there are some limits to that, particularly regarding stupid things which are against the law. A lot of arrogance is expressed toward conservatives and Christians, as if the very fact people are conservative or Christian means they are in fact stupid. Nobody has a corner on 'stupid'. The Lord has told us in His Word that the wisdom of unbelievers is foolishness in His sight.

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Pilgrim Progress

March 09, 2013  2:41am

Instead of a knee jerk, "hate Obama" reaction to John Kerry, if we actually listen to him, he has a good point, based of Our Constitution, or most Evangelicals would be in prison for their false accusations about everything and everyone.

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Anthony Cracolice

March 08, 2013  3:31pm

I fail to see the major cause for dismay here. I would say Americans have a right to offend one another, rather than be stupid. The distinction seems minute. I find it troubling that militarism is dragged into the writer's argument. How does going to war make anyone one of God's people, regardless of one's personal views on the rights one kills to vouchsafe? Christ made no calls for doing that. Under his example we would become blessed by doing the opposite. Americans, it seems, also claim a right to distance Christ from his message and ally him with the armed forces. Either one sublimates one's own views and accepts Christ's, or one runs the risk of being disingenuous.

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Pop Seal

March 07, 2013  10:47pm

Kerry is a superior attitude snob. Married to more money than he could ever earn, he is typical of the reptiles that slink the halls of power believing he is better than his fellow man. You know, just like Al Gore but not as fat. His remarks aren't deserving of serious reply>>>

J G

March 06, 2013  9:55pm

Watch a few minutes of tape before the famous quote. Kerry's context was that freedom of speech gives Americans very broad rights to say stupid, offensive, vile, hateful things. Think Westboro Baptist. He was making this point to Europeans who wondered why American street utterance looks so objectionable in the media. In America, the right to free speech trumps wisdom. Not biblical, maybe, but eminently American.

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Jim Ricker

March 06, 2013  5:40pm

We do have the right to be stupid and unfortunately, Americans (and Christians too) too often exercise that right. One group brings some shame on Americans as a group while the others group brings shame on the great name of Jesus which is a far worse offense.

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audrey ruth

March 06, 2013  5:02pm

Wow. Just wow. Slowly but surely (and sometimes not so slowly), the foundations of our liberty are being chipped away. Psalm 11:3

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John pierce

March 06, 2013  10:28am

Well, okay, I'll retract the "Socialist-in-Chief" comment. I suppose that I had just come from reading a number of news reports about Obama's actions, and was in a particularly nasty mood at the time -- which seems to be the norm whenever I hear his name or read anything about him. That's no excuse, however. (On the other hand, I am reminded that Jesus referred to Herod as "that fox.") As for political action, John H. Guthrie commented that the early church didn't engage in it because it was disenfranchised. True enough -- but look at how powerful the early Christians were without political power, and how weak we seem today even though we have some measure of political influence. Ministry definitely should not be confined to the church walls, and we have to work while it is yet day. My fear is that there are still too many US Christians who are awaiting a political figure to set things right in this country.

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LAURA C STEEL

March 06, 2013  6:55am

Writing "Socialist-in-Chief" is an example of exercising the right to be, shall we say, less than wise. Socialists do not consider Obama to be one of them: http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/04/14/Obama.socialist/index.html Why not just say that you disagree with Obama without resorting to name-calling?

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John H. Guthrie

March 05, 2013  8:45pm

"Christians who continue to face persecution around the world often look to American Christians to continue to uphold religious freedom and set a standard. Coptic Christians in Egypt have told me that one of their greatest fears is that someday America will no longer be a place where Christians can express and live out their faith as freely as we can now. If that ever happens, they expect persecution to worsen worldwide." If Christians are driven from public discourse and give in to the notion that ministry can only be called ministry if it occurs within the walls of a church, as is the attitude of the current administration, than the church will not only suffer in the U.S., it will suffer all over the world. This is even more reason to oppose the notion that because the early church did not participate in political action, the American church should not do so. The early church did not engage in such participation because it was not an option in the Roman empire.

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Willie G

March 05, 2013  8:41pm

I don't understand the criticism John Kerry is getting here for stating that Americans "have the right to be stupid". He's simply stating a fact. If stupidity were a crime in the U.S., a vast number of people would be in jail for it.I'm personally much more offended by the poster who refers to the President of the United States as the "Socialist-in-Chief". Even if you doesn't like our current president, you should have enough respect for the institution of the presidency itself to avoid such inflammatory comments. I believe that as Christians we have the responsibility to point out when others who profess to being Christians themselves make absurd, inflammatory,vile, or theologically incorrect statements (allegedly in the name of Christ). The Cause of Christ in the eyes of unbelievers is what suffers most from them.The words & actions of the Westboro Baptist Church are a prime example of this. I see very little Christian in what these people say & do, but I do see a lot of stupidity.

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Tim Fall

March 05, 2013  5:12pm

Nice job getting us thinking about this, Tonyia. If Mr. Kerry wanted a model for how to talk on the subject, he needed to look no further back than a speech given in September of last year: "Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. ... We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech -- the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect." That's how you show respect for those with whom you disagree, attacking their ideas and not the person's intelligence. And that's also how you honor God, who made those people in his own image. Cheers, Tim ( timfall.wordpress.com )

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Karen Smith

March 05, 2013  5:02pm

@J P: "You have the right to your own opinion, no matter how wrong it is"? That's the way my family always put it.

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J P

March 05, 2013  4:52pm

I generally don't say "the right to be stupid" -- I use the phrase "the right to be wrong." Same basic concept, which means I agree with Kerry (I can't believe I just said that). The only way freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. work is when everyone has that same freedom. We can't decide that only approved religions have freedom of religion; only approved positions have the right to say anything. Bad wording? Maybe. But the right idea.

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John pierce

March 05, 2013  3:47pm

A few observations. It would be good to know the entire context of the remark. But secondly, Kerry should be careful about how he says things. However, he wasn't very careful when he was running for President (but then, most candidates make really odd remarks at one time or another). Thirdly, a former pastor of mine knew Kerry when both were in 'Nam. He doesn't have a very high opinion of the man. Nor do I, but then I doubt that I would approve of anyone appointed by our Socialist-in-Chief. It is a very good thing that I don't believe in politics, but rather in the now-and-not-yet Kingdom of Heaven. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Maranatha. And, not to be forgotten, but possibly of greatest import, Kerry is one of the many leaders for whom should be praying, in accordance with Scriptural injunctions.

William David Troughton

March 05, 2013  3:32pm

Crumbs you guys are so earnest. Surely your Secretary of State can make a jocular remark! Mind you, many a true word is spoken in jest!

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Natalie Hart

March 05, 2013  12:05pm

This is a marvelous piece, and a great reminder that, in much of the world, speech and freedom are serious business. It's my hope that Kerry was just trying to be funny, trying to go for "cute." I also hope that the backlash will teach him that "cute" and funny often come off wrong.

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Adam Shields

March 05, 2013  12:04pm

I doubt that Kerry was saying that American's only right was to be stupid. It is inarticulate, but the reality is true. The hardest part of defending liberty is defending the offensive. They are usually offensive not just because we disagree with them, but because their view are 'stupid'. Jewish ACLU lawyers defending neo-nazis right to march through heavily Jewish Skokie, IL has always been the example that I wish more Christians would take. If we as Christians want to be taken seriously we need to be know for fighting for the rights of those that we disagree with. That is what makes people take notice. If we are just fighting for our own rights then no one cares, we are just doing what comes naturally.

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JANET W

March 05, 2013  11:52am

I think that as a representative of the United States, Kerry should have chosen his words with more care. He's representing the citizens of our country and by calling anyone's ideas/idealogy "stupid" it demeans our country to the rest of the world. I can't help but think that he's not off to a great start in his role as Secretary of State.

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Gina Dalfonzo

March 05, 2013  9:59am

Great piece, Tonyia. Thanks for calling attention to this.

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Karen Smith

March 05, 2013  9:21am

I actually managed to not hear about this. How, I'm not sure - politics is the one national thing I pay attention to. In any case, he's right, and he was exercising that right. In all seriousness, Americans DO have the right to be stupid, offensive, nasty people - and a lot of us (Americans, not Christians) take advantage of that when we shouldn't. Something we should all remember is that just because something is *A* right doesn't mean it is right to exercise it to the greatest extent - we *can* be stupid, offensive and nasty people, but we should strive to be better than that. With that said - I may not agree with what anyone else is saying or doing, but I'll fight for their right to say or do it - even if I disagree with what they are saying and how they are saying it --- Just Karen

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