The staging of an event at Louisiana State University Baton Rouge’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center has raised the question about whether events at state facilities ought to be censored over free speech concerns of its sponsors, and is worth some exploration.
A prayer rally termed “The Response” is scheduled there Jan. 24 of next year and has caused controversy because the main sponsor behind it is the American Family Association. The organization has gained recognition for organizing boycotts of and registering legal complaints against television programs and movies that show higher amounts of graphic sex, violence, or language, and generally supports traditional morality in public policy. As a result, it strongly has condemned the practice of homosexuality and laws that legitimize it in the public sphere, such as same-sex marriage.
In turn, supporters of the concept that policy should protect expressions of homosexual behavior bitterly oppose the group. The absurdly-named Southern Poverty Law Center – being as its assets are over a quarter billion dollars – quaintly calls the AFA a “hate group,” which is the standard appellation it levies on groups who promote an agenda to which it disagrees, rendering it the genuine hate group of them all. Elements that apparently agree with that assessment seek to protest the event and to change policy concerning facility rental. To make matters more interesting, the event’s guest of honor appears to be Gov. Bobby Jindal.