SaddleBrooke Freethinkers: rethinking free speech


Rolly Prager

On Sunday, February 25 at 10:00 a.m. at the MountainView Ballroom, Mel Durchslag will examine how a free society can maintain constitutional protection for free speech in light of escalating incidents of hate speech. Many Americans along with people around the world were shocked by the demonstrations that took place last August in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the melee that followed one counter demonstrator was killed and another 19 were injured. Many who reside in western democracies were appalled that such a demonstration would be permitted at all, much less protected by the authorities. To what extent are demonstrations such as the one in Charlottesville protected by the free speech clause of the first amendment? Should the tragedy in Charlottesville cause us in America to rethink the protection for noxious/hate speech? In that regard, are college campuses different from the streets of Charlottesville? What are the costs, both monetary and systemic, of protecting so-called hate speech and are those costs worth it?

Mel Durchslag is an attorney with a special interest in First Amendment Litigation. He received both his Bachelors and Juris Doctor degrees from Northwestern University. He was a professor of law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and continues today as an Emeritus Professor of Law. He and his wife have been SaddleBrooke residents since 2011.

SaddleBrooke Freethinkers provide a forum for the responsible search for truth and meaning in understanding the universe, and in understanding and solving human problems by applying science and reason. We believe that tolerance, compassion, equity, and civility should characterize the interaction among peace-loving persons and organizations. We strive to achieve these goals through meetings, lectures, discussions, and other means of communication. In 2017, the SaddleBrooke Freethinkers initiated a $10 annual membership fee. In addition to the program events which are open to all, members will also enjoy member only events throughout the year.

The SaddleBrooke community is cordially invited to attend Freethinkers meetings at 10:00 a.m. usually on the fourth Sunday of each month October through April. Attendees are encouraged to arrive by 9:30 for pre-meeting coffee and fellowship. Non-members are encouraged to make a $2.00 donation to defray costs.

Information about SaddleBrooke Freethinkers, upcoming presentations and programs is at

Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and cash donations to the meetings to support the Tri-Community Food Bank.