Today, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney is defending Jerry Boykin, who collaborated with Gaffney on the Team B II report concerning the purported threat of Sharia Law, from calls that West Point drop Boykin from speaking at an upcoming prayer event. According to Gaffney, such attempts to disinvite Boykin are actually a threat to his right of freedom of speech:
According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), there is a grave threat to America that must be suppressed at all costs. The threat is that Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin might be allowed to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.
To paraphrase the famous German pastor, Martin Niemöller, first they are coming for the “Islamophobes” and for Muslims who oppose shariah’s political agenda. How soon will they decide that you have no right to speak freely, either?
However, no one is questioning Boykin’s right to say whatever he wants to say about Muslims, but groups are questioning whether the military and government officials should be bolstering someone who had described the U.S. military as engaging in a holy war against Islam, compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler and frequently demonized Muslim-Americans.
In fact, the only person interested in taking away anyone’s First Amendment rights is Boykin himself, who said that Muslims should not be allowed to build mosques and “should not be protected under the First Amendment.” As VoteVets made clear, the military has specifically denounced rhetoric that frames the U.S. as anti-Islam as not only wrong but also dangerous.
If Gaffney really believes that groups protesting Boykin’s appearance at West Point are actually stripping Boykin of his right to free speech, then Gaffney is a serial opponent of the First Amendment under his standard.
Last year, Gaffney demanded that the American Conservative Union disinvite Suhail Kahn of Muslims for America from the Conservative Political Action Conference. He also called on CPAC to give the boot to Grover Norquist, who has done advocacy work in the past with Muslim-Americans including Kahn, labeling both of them threats to the conservative movement and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, Liberty Counsel’s Awakening 2011 conference, Gaffney condemned the conference for allowing Norquist to speak there and said that he made it his “personal burden for the past twelve years” to warn conservatives against joining with Norquist, saying, “I must tell you I think this is time to bring it to a stop”:
Therefore, if Gaffney thinks that asking a conference to disinvite a person from speaking at a conference is an attack on the “constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech,” then Gaffney himself has been one of the biggest opponents of the freedom of speech.