Banning the message, not the act

A quick note on flag burning:

  • The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4/8

Not only is flag burning not illegal, it is the preferred method of disposing of a flag in the U.S. Flag Code. What is being discussed in banning “flag burning” is not burning itself, but burning with specific intent or to send a specific message.

2 thoughts on “Banning the message, not the act

  1. I just don't get how anyone who loves the Constitution can be in favor of banning flag burning. You may not agree with the speech, but as long as someone isn't harmed, it's protected by the First Amendment. And nobody is harmed (usually). It isn't like burning a cross on someone's lawn, which is in fact a threat directed at a person/family. A blanket ban on flag burning is unconstitutional, plain and simple.

    Now, if there is a safety consideration, that's different. A law against burning ANY combustible object in a public space could pass Constitutional scrutiny. But once you say it's okay to burn a Romanian or Indian or Bolivian flag but not an American flag, you've censored free speech.

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