The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 66

Disney Versus The Baptists

24 June 1997

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.

1997 Ron Paul 66:1
Mr. PAUL. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I was recently asked who is right, the Southern Baptists or Disney, in their argument regarding homosexuality. The question was pointedly directed to me because it is known that my political positions do not exactly conform to Washington’s conventional wisdom.

1997 Ron Paul 66:2
As a Congressman, the answer for me was easy: both. Neither party is incorrect in stating their position. Both are permitted their viewpoint and neither has violated the other’s rights.

1997 Ron Paul 66:3
Disney has chosen to use its own property to express a view. Although not endorsed by everyone, Disney has every right to do so. The Government did not tell them they must nor did Disney ask for any Government pressure to be applied to those disinterested in Disney’s message. Moreover, no Government money was involved. Disney’s right of free expression is achieved in this case through its constitutional right to own and use its own property. This is an easy call when private property is involved and property rights are acknowledged.

1997 Ron Paul 66:4
If this incident occurred using governmental funds or on Government property, as in a Government school, and only the concept of free speech was taken into consideration, it would have been virtually impossible to satisfy everyone’s demands.

1997 Ron Paul 66:5
One set of taxpayers claiming free speech on public property only opens the floodgates of controversy in an attempt to permit everyone to express any viewed desire. But it is this very fuzziness injected by government control of property that today is the source of so many hard feelings and difficult problems.

1997 Ron Paul 66:6
Some argue that the freedom to express the views of secular humanism and even communism are perfectly acceptable in government schools, while at the same time, it’s necessary to exclude voluntary prayer and all religious programs. Recognizing that atheistic humanism is a substitute for religious beliefs, this argument falls far short of satisfying any group desiring to use government property for religious reasons.

1997 Ron Paul 66:7
Such conflicts do not occur on private property. No one argues the right of Protestants to invade Catholic-owned premises to preach the Protestant doctrine as a right under the First Amendment. Access to a newspaper, television station, or radio station should only come with the permission of the owner. Who owns the property becomes the overriding issue and the right of free expression is incidental to that ownership.

1997 Ron Paul 66:8
Essentially, all conflicts as to who can say what could easily be resolved with a greater respect for private property ownership. It is this principle which protects us in our homes from those who would lecture us in the name of free speech in public places.

1997 Ron Paul 66:9
Thus, it’s easy to argue for the Baptists’ right to boycott. They are expressing their disgust by withholding their support of their property, that is, their money. And that is perfectly appropriate. As far as I am concerned, the more voluntary nonviolent boycotts, the better. The boycott is the free society’s great weapon and was well understood by Martin Luther King. The evil comes when a boycott or any objection is made illegal by the State and the participants are jailed. When laws such as this exist, only jury nullification or even civil disobedience can erase them if the legislatures and the courts refuse to do so.

1997 Ron Paul 66:10
Quite clearly, both sides of the Disney flap are correct in asserting their rights. The proper view on homosexuality and tolerance is a moral and theological question, not a political one.

1997 Ron Paul 66:11
Problems like this can be voluntarily sorted out by the marketplace, but only when property rights are held in high esteem and there is an acknowledgment that government and individual force have no role to play. Imposing one’s view upon another, through any type of force, should always be forbidden in a free society.

1997 Ron Paul 66:12
Actually, the Disney-Baptist skirmish is a wonderful example of how freedom can work without Congress sticking its nose into each and every matter. Both sides have a right to stand up for their respective beliefs.

1997 Ron Paul 66:13
By using the rules of private property ownership to guide our right of free expression and religion, it is not difficult to find an answer, for instance, to the conflict between unwelcomed speeches in privately owned malls and mall owners. Because most of the difficult and emotional problems occur on Government-owned and Government-regulated property, we should, here in the Congress, do whatever we can to reinstate the original intent of the Constitution and honor and protect property ownership as an inalienable human right.

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