Issue 101, Spring 2006

  • The US Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it found no "sound scientific" evidence to support medical use of marijuana, disregarding contrary findings by the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine in 1999. Scientists say that the FDA disputes the validity and sufficiency of available data, but the government stymies research by refusing to fund further studies, while the DEA will not allow them to grow marijuana for research purposes.

  • NCAC joined other groups to protest the "indefinite postponement" of My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play based on the writings of the American activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003. Anticipating an outcry from local religious groups, the New York Theater Workshop insisted that it needed to "minimize the distractions around the production so our constituency can hear the artist’s voice." The theater recently held four public discussions between artists and scholars on the topic of controversy in art.

  • Recent decisions in Illinois, Michigan, and California courts affirm that violent and sexual content in video games is protected by the First Amendment. In each case, injunctions were granted against measures that would "likely have a chilling effect on adults’ expression, as well as minors’ expression that is fully protected."

  • A proposed Constitutional amendment that would ban the burning or desecration of the flag has advanced in the Senate – and has already passed in the House. The First Amendment Center reports that in their most recent annual survey of Americans, 63% opposed such a measure.

  • 14 year-old Jacob Behymer-Smith, a freshman at Coral Academy of Science in Reno, Nevada, was barred by his school from reciting W.H. Auden’s classic "The More Loving One" in the state finals of the "Poetry Out Loud" contest. Administrators objected to the poem’s "profane" language ("damn" and "hell"). But Behymer-Smith won a restraining order and was able to compete as planned – his 2nd place finish won $1,000 "to support literary programs" at his school.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services recently spelled out speech restrictions in federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs. Lessons may not include "any material inconsistent" with the abstinence-only message; they may not "promote or encourage the use of any type of contraceptives outside of marriage"; they may not "promote or endorse, distribute or demonstrate the use of contraception"; and they may not provide "any other education regarding sexual conduct." Instead, they are supposed to teach that those who fail to abstain from sexual activity until marriage are prone to achieve and earn less as adults, and are more likely to become depressed and suicidal as teenagers. Over one billion dollars of federal taxpayers’ money has been invested in abstinence-only education. Visit to learn more.