By Harvey Tobkes

I strongly believe in freedom of speech, but there are exceptions. As a prank, yelling… “Fire!” In a crowded theater, may be free speech to some, but to me it is criminal. A kindergarten teacher using foul language in the classroom is another exception.

A third exception in my book is criticizing religious deities…Jesus, Mary, Mohammed, Buddha, Elohim, Krishna are revered by billions of people and therefore qualify as out of bounds when it comes to free speech.

So, simply put, I feel a country’s flag and national anthem deserve reverence and should be above and beyond the limits of free speech. They are mortal, of course, and not on a level with deities but in my view they too are sacred.

What shines a spotlight on all of this are football players and other athletes of color (or not) using their celebrity and posture from TV exposure to protest social and civil rights abuses. During the playing of the national anthem and the waving of our flag, they go down on a knee while other Americans stand in silence…some sing the words of The Star Spangled Banner and some even put a hand to their left breast in deep respect. To me kneeling is a no-no and president Trump (on this issue) is on the right side in his criticism of the protestors.

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