JLF Triangle Blog

“It puts the government in the role of deciding what is and isn’t considered to be offensive”

Back in December, the Chapel Hill town council voted on rules that will govern ads accepted on town buses.

The council voted 5-2 at a meeting Monday night to designate the inside of Chapel Hill Transit buses as a limited public forum.

This will allow political and religious ads to appear as long as they are not deemed “disparaging” or “disrespectful”.


Fast forward to today’s Daily Tar Heel, in which a UNC professor tells the paper that Chapel Hill is likely to be sued for its new policy.

“The new policy appears to show favoritism by allowing certain ads that are offensive but denying others,” Goldstein said.

He said he strongly believes Chapel Hill will eventually be sued because of its guidelines for the ads.

“It puts the government in the role of deciding what is and isn’t considered to be offensive,” Goldstein said. “I don’t see any way that the disclaimers will be successful in the long run.”

Be wary of government officials who put themselves in charge of arbitrarily determining what is “disparaging” or “disrespectful.” Living in a free society means that each of us will be offended at some time by what someone else says or believes. Grown-ups, and those who really do believe in the sacred nature of free speech, realize that is the cost of freedom.

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