Freedom of Speech
The free flow of ideas and thought
The minute we begin to limit the speech of one person, we begin a slippery slope where more and more speech is limited until everyone's speech is suppressed. We have to understand that in a nation with free speech as one of the great cornerstones to our republic, we will encounter people that we deem offensive. However, they may find us offensive. It is a two-way street. One that I don't necessarily like at all times, but one I accept in order to ensure that my speech and your speech remain free from suppression.
Free speech is the vehicle by which ideas are transferred between two or more people. When we limit that free flow of ideas, we hamper our ability to grow, create, learn, and express ourselves. One of my favorite quotes which is often attributed to Voltaire is "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Protecting the speech of others, no matter how offensive, in turn protects our own speech.
So, what are we to do when we are faced with someone who's speech is so horrendous, offensive, and shocking? That's simple. Stop listening. Do not give the offender an audience. Attention is the fuel of speech. If you take away the attention, it cannot flourish. Your silence and disinterest will drown out the offensive speech. Another way to combat offensive speech with out suppressing speech is to introduce more, positive, non-offensive speech, which in turns also drowns out offensive speech. We don't have to take away the rights of another to protect our own rights.
I will always protect freedom of speech - yours, mine, and every other American. I want to hear what you have to say, even if I do not agree with you or am offended by your speech. Why? Because that is how I grow as a person, learn more about my community, my district, my state, my country, and myself.
I am committed to ensuring that your rights will always be protected! And I will ALWAYS welcome your thoughts, comments, criticism, opinions, and ideas. After all, how can I be an effective Congresswoman and represent you in Congress if I don't know HOW you want me to represent you?
(Click on policy name to view full policy)
Johnson Amendment Repeal: Basically, the Johnson Amendment bars all 501(c)(3) organizations (including churches and charitable organizations) from making statements relating to political campaigns (endorsing or opposing). If the churches and charitable organizations do make such statements, they risk losing their tax exempt status.
This is meant to muzzle our ministers to not take political stands. Many people look up to their religious leaders for guidance in spiritual growth, finances, parenting, grief, turbulent times, moral dilemmas, and so much more. Why wouldn't we want our religious leaders to guide us politically? Why would we silence our religious leaders when it comes to issues that affect our nation as a whole? The Johnson Amendment forces our religious leaders to choose between the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion by barring them from exercising both freedoms guaranteed to us, and them, by the FIRST AMENDMENT.
On May 4, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order titled "Presidential Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty". This executive order limits the enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, allowing individuals, houses of worship, and religious organizations to speak on political topics without the threat of losing their tax-exempt status. Although this is a step in the right direction to protect religious rights and speech rights, we need to formally repeal the Johnson Amendment. This needs to be done by Congress.
I will do everything I can to get it this amendment repealed so our religious leaders no longer have their First Amendment rights hindered in order to enjoy their tax exempt status.
Protecting Religion and Speech Amendment: I am considering a Constitutional Amendment to make this protection of speech and religion a permanent protection, not a choice between two freedoms. The Amendment would read, "Congress shall make no law that limits the free speech of churches, religious leaders, and/or places of worship in the United States; and churches, religious leaders, and places of worship shall be exempt from taxes because of their inherent, extensive benefit that they provide to the public."
I welcome your input in helping me decide whether repealing the Johnson Amendment is sufficient or whether we need a Constitutional Amendment to protect religion and speech simultaneously.
Speech & Political Correctness: I am looking at ways to protect speech in the workplace and in our schools. Although some speech (such as shouting "fire" in a crowded place) needs to be discouraged, people are now getting in trouble in school and/or getting fired over stupid things they said, that they regret immediately after saying them. We have all blurted out something that we wished we would not have said. I would like feedback from YOU to see if this is a topic I should continue to explore and try to rein in.