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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 2 — Self-Government

Section 6: Right Of Expression; Licentiousness

The right of expression, including artistic freedom, speech and the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained except by despotic governments.

The right freely to create, speak, write and publish sentiments or expressions on all subjects shall not be infringed. Obscene, defamatory or profane expressions are licentious and are an abuse of the right of expression.

That which is obscene, including pornographic expressions offensive to chastity or purity, is a licentious expression punishable by civil government.

That which defames, including slanderous and libelous expressions, the use of which tends to or actually destroys or impairs another's good name, character or reputation, where falsely and mali­ciously uttered, is a licentious expression subject to civil redress.

That which is profane, including blasphemous speech, though a licentious expression against God, is beyond the jurisdiction of the civil government to punish or remedy.

Nothing herein shall work to compel speech, writing, publication or artistic expressions, nor shall same be subject to prior restraint, licensing, permits or registration.

As this section notes, the central right is one of expression. Among this class are found rights of speech and press, which are among the bulwarks of liberty. That all men are endowed with the liberty to govern themselves in such a way as to fulfill the obligations which the Creator desires is foundational to understand­ing speech and press. Right of speech is an offhand way of describing the means by which human beings may carry out the will of the Creator. Having been supplied the necessary physical prerequisites at Creation, to wit the ability to speak, men imitate their Creator by speech. The freedom of expression which an artist, musi­cian, photographer or sculptor enjoys are also protected and are immutable, though it may involve no word or writing.

Press is of the same class, but obviously involves the written word and not the spoken word. Again, men imitate their Creator in this respect, writing that which is directed toward all of life which the Creator estab­lished at creation. The same limitations apply on the wrongful use of writing to destroy or impair another's liberty or reputation. The right of the press is not a right which the press or media only enjoy. It is broader than that, invoking all forms of the written word by any person.

In a larger sense, the word, written or spoken, reflects something of the Creator, for in the beginning was the Word. As the Creator speaks, so men speak; as He writes, so men write; as He creates, so men create. The physical corollary to defilement by expression is defilement of the land by acts. See Article 5, Section 17.

These rights include no "right" to be subsidized in their expression. See Article 2, Section 8.

That expression should be gracious and well seasoned is axiomatic. Though not all expression is so dedicated, only a very small class is licentious. It is not the use of certain words or expressions which is licen­tious, but their wrongful use. There are no words which are licentious per se. Their wrongful expression or use constitutes licentiousness.

This section is constructed around three types of licentious expression, i.e., the wrongful use of ex­pression. The first involves obscene expressions and includes pornography. Obscene expressions are ex­pressions offensive to chastity or purity. Pornographic expressions are a subset of obscenity, but are more spe­cifically related to prostitution and orgies. In either case, these expressions are licentious and contravene the principle that man has no authority to defile that which is clean.

In the case of obscene or pornographic expression, their rendering defiles the land (Lev. 18:24-25 and 19:29). As the civil government has the duty to secure the inalienable right of property (including real estate), and obscene and pornographic expressions defile the land, the people are thereby injured. Such expressions are therefore directly contrary to a universal right and public well-being. Therefore they properly fall in the criminal code.

It will be observed that the wrongful sexual acts of Lev. 18 destroy families internally. Their acts also de­stroy the object of families with respect to taking dominion over the land. Thus, wrongful sexual acts defile the land, further undermining the family and agriculture. Obscenity and pornography are but mere extensions of this principle. Lev. 18 is likewise but a restatement of the universal principle of ejection from the land ex­perienced by Cain when he killed his own brother. For a description of land which is defiled, see Deut. 28:15-68.

The second wrongful use of expression involves defamation, which includes slander and libel. Defamation is a type of defilement, but it relates to man and men, not the land. Defamation tends to or actually destroys or impairs the good name, character, reputation or occupation of another. Its expression must also be false and malicious when rendered. Since it tends to impair the liberty of another man in his reputation, a civil remedy is appropriate. Defamation is not a criminal offense. Truth is an absolute defense to a charge of defamation. Libel is a written and published defamation; slander an oral one.

The third wrongful use of expression involves profanity, which includes blasphemy. Profanity is also a type of defilement but it relates not to the land or to men, but to God. Profanity is broad enough to include a sense of pollution or defilement, but is directed toward religion and God. It reflects irreverence or contempt. Blasphemy is more specific and focuses on speaking or acting against God as to revile or reproach. It differs from cursing another and swearing as in an oath (see Article 4, Section 4). As the offense is against God, there is no civil remedy. The civil government is not competent to punish profanity or blasphemy or provide a forum for civil resolution. No interest or rights of others are implicated.
 

 
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