Should the burning of the Flag be protected by the 1st Amendment?

Topic: Burning of the Flag

Should burning of the Flag and/or taking a knee during the national Anthem be protected by freedom of speech? Several, people believe that it should be banned and the actions presented was not in any way respectful, although others have thought that it should be allowed and is also, away to express their freedom.

Many sources state that the burning of the American flag is protected by the 1st Amendment, although it is unpleasant. Meanwhile, Donald Trump our well known president, thinks differently about the situation. Stating that “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”. But, others sees it is away to express disagreement. Just like kneeling during the National Anthem. If we ban the burning of the flag we should might as well ban our freedom of expression in total, then how free would we be?

 “All You Need To Know About Why NFL Players Are Taking A Knee And Where It Came From.” The Independent. N.                       p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.

“Flag Burning Or Desecration.” American Civil Liberties Union. N. p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.

“Flag Burning And The First Amendment: Yet Another Look At The Two – National Constitution Center.” National Constitution Center – N. p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.


Explicit symbol in music

Music is everywhere from the day you are born to the day you die. The variety of music expands from Classic Bluegrass to Screamo. Each type of music has its own characteristics that separate it from the other genres whether it is the rhythm, lyrics, or overall culture that embodies it. Although there is so much differentiation when it comes to the music industry, there is one aspect that unifies all genres: the parental advisory explicit symbol. This symbol was created decades ago by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to try and regulate the type of music that was being presented to the minors of the country. The term “explicit” is meant to target music dealing with strong language, depictions of violence/sex, and substance abuse according to NPR. The problem with this is there is no true set in stone definition of explicit which can cause problems when dealing with the inclusion or omission of the symbol. For instance, back in the 90’s the 2 Live Crew took to court the inclusion of the explicit label on some of their music due to it not being an accurate representation of their content. During the trial the prosecutor pointed out that the 2 Live Crew sang about sexual scenarios and the abuse of women which is deemed as explicit, but the 2 Live Crew’s lawyer rebutted with the fact that the topics talked about are “Reflect[ing] exaggeration, parody, humor, even about delicate subjects.” This point is crucial not just for the 2 Live Crew trial but for all music since certain genres, in this case hip hop, write about their cultural backgrounds, so calling certain cultures inappropriate is harsh and unfair.

The inclusion or omission of the explicit symbol may not seem like a huge deal at surface level, but the economic effects are substantial. When music is labeled with the parental advisory explicit symbol, it causes parents to not allow their kids to listen to certain music or become hesitant when purchasing certain songs on buying platforms like iTunes. Also, music containing the explicit mark is required to be moved to certain sections in stores which can cause large demographics, predominately the largest buyers being minors, to not even find the music they are looking for. On top of this, when certain artists are seen as explicit, purchasing tickets for their concerts can be even harder since sites like TicketMaster require you to be a certain age to buy tickets/attend a venue. Instances like these can be highly problematic when it comes to the money earned by many artists and record companies. The explicit symbol doesn’t have firm guidelines on when to be included within the music industry which is unfair due to the negative impact it plays on artist’s music.

Is burning an American flag protected by the symbolic speech clause of the First Amendment?

What is symbolic speech? Symbolic speech is when someone does something, like burning a flag or kneeling during the national anthem, to show or express his or her idea without using words. There has been a lot of controversy around this type of speech, but in the end, it is protected under the First Amendment.

One of the most influential court cases that involve symbolic speech is Johnson vs. Texas. In 1984 Gregory Lee Johnson was part of a protect in which he burned an American flag. He was convicted with one year in jail and a $2,000 fine because an American flag was seen as a venerated object, or an object that holds a lot of respect, and Johnson desecrated it. However, in an appeal court, it was decided that the decision needed to be reversed. When taken to the Supreme Court six out of the nine Justices agreed that Texas was limiting the people’s Freedom of Speech when it comes to symbolic speech. Overall, it was decided that it was unconstitutional to outlaw the burning of an American flag because it is a way, a very powerful way, to show one’s feeling to his or her country.

There has been a more recent controversy on the burning of an American flag because President Trump said that if someone does this that there should be major consequences like jail time or loss of citizenship. Obviously, loss of citizen and jail time would never happen, but this does make one think is it right to take such extreme actions to express own views. In fact, yes it is. America is a country that built itself on Freedom and the idea of Freedom of Speech, and that includes symbolic speech.

Work Cited

“Burning the U.S. Flag: Wrong, but Not Illegal.” Record, The (Kitchener/Cambridge/Waterloo, ON), 1 Dec. 2016. EBSCOhost,

Garbus, Martin. “The ‘Crime’ of Flag Burning.” Nation, vol. 248, no. 11, Mar. 1989, p. 369. EBSCOhost,

“Legal but Ill-Advised: Flag Burning and Hostile Trump Tweets.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), 29 Nov. 2016. EBSCOhost,

How do you provoke free speech at school, without crossing a line?


According to, Freedom Of speech is the right to express your opinions without government restraint. Originally this idea came from the ancient Greeks. Free speech was talked about in Greek literature around the end of the fifth century B.C. Fast forward to the US, free speech was adopted into the Bill of Rights in December 15, 1791. says, When free speech was written into the Bill of Rights it was never specified what is protected under free speech. This caused many gray areas. Around WWI The Supreme Court decided that there should be limitations to free speech such as “Obscene material, Plagiarism, Defamation, and True Threats.” For more information on the background of free speech visit

In 1965 at a public high school in Des Moines, Iowa, there was an organized, silent protest against the Vietnam war. A girl by the name Mary Beth decided to wear an armband that had a peace sign on it. Want to know more about Mary Beth, check out She was then suspended from school, because the armbands were distracting and could lead to danger of other students. I feel this is a lousy argument that many schools still use today. Lucky the supreme court ruled in her favor. For more information on Tinker vs Des Moines visit

Free speech can be a great thing, when used the appropriate way. But what is deemed appropriate especially in schools? Well that is when things get difficult. I believe if high schoolers want to wear a band with a peace sign on it protesting the Vietnam war, then they should have the right to do so. Then they should have the right to, it is their opinion. It is important for people to know that not everybody is going to have the same opinion as you. Now if the students were to wear shirts that say “I hope the soldiers die in Vietnam” then I would see that as going too far. Overall in the grand scheme most things are opinions, and we must be careful how much we limit before we censor everything. Somethings that make me mad is how the schools make lousy excuses for kids to not share their opinions. That they are being too distracting. These reasons are too vague and is showing kids that it is dangerous to share a different opinion than the majority, because then you will get in trouble or be a distraction. This confides people’s minds into boxes and does not allow for individual thinking.

Works Cited

Freedom of Speech

“Freedom Of Speech.” HISTORY. N. p., 2019. Web. 21 Feb. 2019.

This Girl Fought for Free Speech: EBSCOhost

” This Girl Fought For Free Speech: Ebscohost .” N. p., 2019. Web. 28 Feb. 2019.

Yelling “Bomb!” on an Airplane

Austin Burbach

Many people think the first amendment, freedom of speech, let’s them say whatever they want,  However, there are some restrictions. For example, is it legal for people to shout “bomb” at an airport or on a plane?  This is the same as shouting “fire” on a plane, in a theater, or any place people get together. The bottom line is you still have freedom of speech on an airplane, theater, etc, but it you words incite panic, you can get in trouble. You have broken the law. There was a case in 1919 where a man and woman named Charles Schenck, and Elizabeth Baer handed out leaflets that said the draft for World War I was a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. Schenck was charged with conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917 by trying to have men join the military. Both Schenck and Baer were convicted of Espionage and they appealed on the grounds that the law violated the First Amendment. The Court held that the Espionage Act did not violate the First Amendment and was an appropriate exercise of Congress’ wartime authority. Oliver Holmes concluded that the First Amendment does not protect speech that starts to create present danger of a significant evil that congress has power to prevent

Recently TMZ did an article about a man that was yelling, “Your father is ruining this country!” at Ivanka Trump. This isn’t illegal to say, but the fact that he was disturbing the peace. The man was then escorted off the plane and while being escorted he shouted, “You’re kicking me off for expressing my opinion?!!”.  This just shows that people don’t fully understand that there are restrictions on freedom of speech and the first amendment. This is the same in schools, you are not allowed to wear or say certain things within the school or at schooling events.

The First Amendment doesn’t protect everything you say. Which I think is perfectly fine. In the matter of saying bomb on in an airplane or yelling fire in a school, it should not be acceptable. If you are attempting to cause people to panic by what you are saying you shouldn’t be allowed to say it.

“Here’s Why You Don’t (And Shouldn’t) Have “Freedom Of Speech” On A Plane – One Mile At A Time.” One Mile At A Time, 2016,

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Does student’s free speech rights at school violated student’s limits to the first Amendments?

In many schools in the United States, students are allowed to wear whatever they want because we have freedom of speech with what we can and can not wear, it is a way of expression. One way that students can express themselves is wearing something that makes them, them. For example,  if I wanted to wear a shirt that had my favorite band on it, it would be okay. WIth the First Amendment it states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances”. We have the right to wear whatever we want, but there are things that we wear that teachers or students think that are not appropriate for school. For example, if a student wears a shirt with guns or drugs on it, the student is told to take it off. It violates the First Amendment because we as students or teachers are allowed to have the right to wear whatever they  want to express themselves. Students are limited to what they can or can not wear.

A court case that I looked at was the Tinker vs Des Moines Independent School District. This case had to do with three students, John and Mary Beth Tinker and  their friend Chris Eckhardt. They protest against the Vietnam war that was going on at the moment by wearing black armbands with peace signs on them. Their school officials told them to take them off, but when the students refused, they were suspended from school. With this case it violates the First Amendment because they had the right to have freedom of speech and they had the right to wear whatever they want, but with this case they were suspended for wearing something that they believed in.

Is it okay as a business owner to deny service to a customer because you don’t agree with their lifestyle?

The civil rights Act of 1964 states that businesses can´t refuse service to a customer based on their race, color, religion, or national origin. This act was first proposed by John F. Kennedy and other members of Congress and signed by Lyndon B. Johnson. Refusing services based on these features is illegal however this act does not address anything about denying service to customers based on the owner’s personal religious beliefs. If a customer were to request service from business and the owner did not agree with their customers’ lifestyle because it went against their religion legally they can deny service to that individual. Many people take their religion very seriously and believe in their beliefs strongly. If a person chooses to open up a business, it’s for the public and anyone is allowed to give their service. When an owner of a business denies service because of their religion and personal beliefs that can open so many doors to treating groups of people inequity. It makes it okay to make the decision of turning them down.

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President Lydon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act, July 2, 1964.

Though the act states that as a business you are obligated to provide service to a customer no matter their religion, appearance, race. The federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation. In one case a couple from Colorado experienced this type of discrimination when they went to a local bakery to get a wedding cake made with anti-gay verses from the bible on it and they were refused service due to their sexual orientation and ¨offensive¨ piping they wanted on the cake. The incident was then taken to court, but because of the bakery owner´s religious beliefs no charges were pressed and the owner was legally allowed to deny service to the couple. In this case, because of the circumstances involving religion and the  owner not feeling comfortable with making this cake with anti-gay verses from the bible on it, denying access to service was legal.  Leading up to the essential question, under certain circumstances, it is in fact, okay to deny service to a customer if it involves religious beliefs. At the end of the day everyone is still a customer so if a business owner decides to deny service it´s a loss of a customer and money. 

My sources:

“Should businesses be able to deny service to customers based on personal religious beliefs?” Hear My Voice. 01 Mar. 2019 <a href="http://"Should businesses be able to deny service to customers based on personal religious beliefs?" Hear My Voice. 01 Mar. 2019 .”><;

“The Right to Refuse Service: Can a Business Refuse Service to Someone?” 11 Jan. 2019. 01 Mar. 2019 <a href="http://"The Right to Refuse Service: Can a Business Refuse Service to Someone?" 11 Jan. 2019. 01 Mar. 2019 .”><;

Karimi, Faith. “Here’s why some businesses can deny you service – but others can’t.” CNN. 30 June 2018. Cable News Network. 01 Mar. 2019 <a href="http://Karimi, Faith. "Here's why some businesses can deny you service – but others can't." CNN. 30 June 2018. Cable News Network. 01 Mar. 2019 .”><;.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” ~Benjamin Franklin, writing as Silence Dogood