“To put it bluntly, we are fed up, disgusted, offe
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- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
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“To put it bluntly, we are fed up, disgusted, offended, and pissed off about having our First Amendment rights trampled, ignored desecrated and pissed on by spineless politicians that have sold out this country to corporate intrests, religious zealots that seek to turn this once free nation into an intolerant theocracy where we all MUST worship THEIR God, THEIR way, or burn
in hell for all eternity, and the so-called liberal sentries of political correctness in which nobody can dare utter a single word in that it might be construed as something that might offend someone.” -Anonymous(1)
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise theory of; or abridging the freedom of speech, the press,
or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This article is
what the above comment is being spoken-out in defense of.
It seems more and more US citizens are taking matters into
their own control and losing sight of the laws and rights
established and given to us by our fore-fathers. People are
being arrested, charged, and penalized for using profane
language-”free speech”(as these protestors and many others
refer to it.)- in public.
Profane and obscene language can sometimes be
labeled as “the DEVIL’S LANGUAGE”. Obscenity means the
character or quality of being obscene; indecent; or lewd.
Profanity means showing irreverence towards sacred things;
particularly, an irreverent or blasphemous use of the name
of God. Profane and obscene language is vulgar, irreverent
and coarse. The categories of Profanity and obscenity also
need to include Blasphemy. Due to how similar it and
profanity are, and how frequently they are mixed up with
one another. Blasphemy pertains to the reviling or ridiculing
religion or God.
Cursing and swearing cannot be excluded from this
topic. Cursing involves calling upon divine judgement, as in
‘God damn you’; while swearing takes God’s name in vain,
as in an oath like ‘so help me God!’
Profane and obscene language include cursing,
swearing, and blasphemy. However, by definition, this does
not mean that any of these are ‘dirty’ language. it is
language that can be offensive to peoples’ feelings and
It is amazing the number of cases in which people
have been arrested for using profane language in public. In
many cases, the charges may not have been accurate. In
Windsor, Connecticut during 1937, a motorist was arrested
for speeding. He was fined $10.00 for a traffic violation and
another $10.00 for blasphemy due to remarks he made to
the arresting officer. More than likely the remarks made
were profanity, and not blasphemy.
Another incident in 1957, in Mt. Clements,
Michigan occurred when a man was convicted of blasphemy
for cursing at an officer, who was investigating a complaint of
In 1971, however, the Supreme Court, in
overturning an offensive conduct stated, “one man’s
vulgarity is anothers lyric”(2) The case involves a young man
who had worn a jacket, in public, that stated ‘fuck the draft’
on it to show his dislike for the country’s involvement in the
Laws regarding ‘dirty’ language, profane and
obscene, involve several important questions. What are the
characteristics of human nature? What ties laws and morals
together? What is the appropriate role of the State in a
democratic society in relation to making such laws?
Benjamin Lee Whorf describes profane and
obscene language as “Language is all about things
(nouns) and the actions (verbs) of energetic things: One
thing...acts on...another thing.”(3) He also states that if
mind is betrayed by grammar as well as by words, the
problem of language becomes very troublesome. O.B.
Hardison Jr. claims that any kind of language is a set of
conventions developed laboriously by a social group over
generations. “Each human mind is formed by a natural
language, which in turn, is a vehicle for the history of a
What Whorf and Hardison are saying is that
different languages develop, or progress over the years.
What we now know as slang was probably profane language
in the 50’s and 60’s. As language progressed, the words that
one was scolded for saying, or that raised some eyebrows,
have now become basically ordinary words.
The ordinary language of today is now a
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