In "We should not condone hate speech" [Opinion, June 25], columnist Anne Michaud proposes limiting the First Amendment rights of Americans to ensure we don't expose a person "to hatred or contempt ... on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination" or to "willfully [promote] hatred against any identifiable group."

She doesn't say that if a boss says something such as liking "visible minorities," as in the 2008 case of Shiv Chopra, that person could be hauled before a Canadian human rights commission and be forced to defend himself or herself at his or her own expense. Do we need an unelected bunch of professional meddlers interfering with our free speech rights?

The answer to free speech we dislike is more free speech, not less. The Constitution enshrined everyone's right to free speech; no one has a right to not be offended.

We've survived since 1787 with a First Amendment that has served us well. We should continue to honor it as we always have.

Thomas Reilly, Huntington Station

Anne Michaud's views on limiting free speech are dangerous, abrogate the meaning and intent of the First Amendment and ignore the question of who it is who decides what constitutes hate speech.

Repressive government or leaders can declare anything that they find offensive as hate speech. The perpetually offended could silence those they declare to be perpetually offensive.

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Free speech gives us a weapon mightier than money or arms. Americans have the right to all forms of discussion. We can talk, write or draw about religion, morals and ethics. We must not take on the values of other nations because of threat, violence or fear.

Intolerance for debate has led to threats of attack and killings worldwide. America's future must belong to those who affirm freedom over fear.

Bernard A. Bilawsky, North Massapequa