How does the First Amendment protect the rights of students and teachers? This guide provides background on the legal and practical questions surrounding school censorship controversies.
The National Coalition Against Censorship is concerned about a new policy at Montclair Public Schools that threatens to chill teachers' ability to select instructional material that deals with race, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.
North Carolina lawsuit demands that public schools protect one religious viewpoint above others by banning Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X.
Government intervention into the content of higher education courses is very likely to suppress certain views, chill dissent, and restrict academic discourse.
The New Jersey legislature is considering an education bill that would redefine anti-Semitism so broadly as to infringe on protected speech.
The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco removed two works from its exhibition, La Frontera: Artists Respond to the U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is considering legislation intended to combat anti-Semitism that poses a serious threat to the free speech rights of Floridians. NCAC and PEN America are gravely concerned.
The Aurora Public Library has removed a poem entitled "Hijab mean Jihad" from a display after community members complained.
School Cancellation of Muslim Speaker Continues Disturbing National Trend of Suppressing Speech in Response to Threats
The cancellation of a scheduled appearance by a Muslim guest speaker at a Connecticut public school is the latest disturbing example of suppressions of free speech in museums, on college campuses and now at middle schools in response to threats of violence.
The parents claim that the school taught solely Islamic religious practices in a World Culture and Geography curriculum, ignoring education in other world religions.
NCAC's letter underlines the mistake of conflating religious education with religious indoctrination.
Club activities will “include a healthy snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, science lesson, puzzle solving, and art projects.” Students of all religious faiths are welcome to attend.
Mark Ryden: Fountain, 2003. Oil on Panel, 12x6.25 inches. ©Mark Ryden. In a replay of former New York Mayor Guiliani's attempt to grab attention by attacking "blasphemous" art, Ben Loyola, a member of the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, is directing his ire against the work of LA-based painter Mark Ryden, featured in Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of [...]
Complaints about a lesson that included Arabic calligraphy caused an entire school district in Virginia to close down.
A conservative legal group's threat to sue a school over the planned reading of a book about a transgender child is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the First Amendment applies to public schools.
An artwork draws protest from local clergy in Georgia. But the museum where it is displayed is standing firm.
Parents in Florida are upset that third graders will be reading books they say promote Islam.
Who gets to decide how history is taught? ACT! for America, a grassroots political advocacy group fighting "Islamofascism," is attempting to exert control over World History in Charlotte County, FL. NCAC has responded.
Last December, a guidance counselor in rural Pennsylvania read a children’s book about a dress-wearing boy to a kindergarten class without advance notice to the parents, upsetting some residents in the district.
The audience coming to see John Adams' Death of Klinghoffer on Monday, October 20th, had to pass through a cordon of angry protesters crying "shame" and holding placards condemning the Metropolitan Opera of rather far fetched things like "taking terrorist $$$" or "glorifying terrorism." They must not have succeeded in shaming anyone as the house was full. The few hecklers in the [...]
The superintendent at Bordentown Regional School District [in New Jersey] made a public statement that “religious music should not be part of the elementary program[s]” and decided to ban religious Christmas music during winter concert performances at elementary schools within the district [...]
Despite concerns the Smithsonian's Flashpoints and Faultlines forum would be a bland showcase designed to obscure the institution's commitments to First Amendment principles instead of examining them, last night's opening panels included direct criticism from the dais of Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough's decision to censor David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire In My Belly" from the Hide/Seek exhibit at the [...]
Last October we reported about an incident at the Loveland Museum/Gallery in Colorado where a woman ripped into a lithograph after she busted the artwork’s plexiglass case with a crowbar. She did this because God told her to do it. In her explanation of the vandalism, Kathleen Folden refers to the similar destruction of Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ in Australia [...]
In response to the disturbing story of a woman who attacked a Gauguin at the National Gallery, Flavorwire Art Editor Marina Galpernia has helpfully compiled a photo set of great works modified for those with...delicate sensibilities: Thou shall not show your wiener to God, Adam. Even if Michelangelo’s God is emerging out of an embracing pile of amorous angels, he [...]
A couple weeks ago, Terry Jones finally gave into his burning desire to burn a Qur'an. Over the weekend, Afghans rioted over online video of the burning, resulting in the deaths of up to 20 people. General Petreus called the burning a "security threat" to the Afghan occupation, and Senators Harry Reid and Lindsay Graham have called for Congress to [...]
Were you unable to make it to NCAC's "Policing the Sacred" panel on religion and freedom of expression at this year's CAA? Now is your chance to take in the discourse and debate with these full-length videos! The National Coalition Against Censorship has edited video of “Policing the Sacred: Art, Censorship, and the Politics of Faith,” a session held during [...]
Joy Garnett of NEWSgrist has posted her reflections on the NCAC's panel at CAA: 'Policing the Sacred' broached the most interesting age-old conundrum of art, religion and censorship. It asked that we ourselves examine the lines between hate speech, critique, parody, and appropriation of the sacred and its symbols by artists as well as by governments. Several factors were noted [...]
Policing The Sacred, organized by the National Coalition Against Censorship, looks at the volatile relationship between art, politics and religion.In recent decades the tensions between these have become intense, evident in the American culture wars of the 90s, the Danish cartoon uproar, and ongoing battles over artistic depictions of religious figures, including the recent removal of a David Wojnarowicz video from a show at the National Portrait Gallery. The panel, open to the public, takes place on Wednesday, February 9th, from 12:30-2 PM.
This is from an attendant at the protest organized by Transformer on Thursday, Dec. 2nd: The protest's silence was very effective. The rows standing mute along the entire width of north steps of the Portrait Gallery for about 25 minutes until the museum closed at 7:00 was eloquent and impactful in a way beyond the quantity of supporters or passion [...]
A joint statement by the NCAC, ABFFE, AICA-USA, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, AAP, Catholics for Choice, and other art and free speech organizations protesting the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery in response to pressure from the Catholic League and Republicans in Congress.
What began as a heated protest over Enrique Chagoya’s artwork at the Loveland Museum in Colorado has ended in vandalism. A disgruntled woman ripped into Chagoya’s controversial lithograph “The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals” after she busted the artwork’s plexiglass case with a crowbar. City council members, religious groups and individuals had hoped that the public pressure caused by the [...]
PEN American Center, a member of NCAC’s coalition, released a statement in support of the proposed Park51 Community Center project, calling First Amendment freedoms “the birthright of all and our best defense.” NCAC is grateful to PEN for expressing thoughts we share about this fear-based controversy. The release and statement: Writers Support Park51 Project, Religious Freedom New York City, August [...]
Violence against those who create and disseminate controversial words and images is not new. But for the last couple of centuries, commitment to free speech has trumped fear of violence in Western liberal democracies. As late as 1989, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses continued to be published and read in the face of a fatwa issued against its author and in [...]
We couldn’t make this up. Not so long ago, Yale University Press, on direction from the university, pre-emptively self-censored images of Mohammed from The Cartoons that Shook the World by Jytte Klausen, a scholarly examination of the controversy that erupted over the publication of cartoon images of Mohammed by the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Yale’s action was met by a torrent [...]
NCAC, AAUP and Others Issue Call to Action Over Censorship in Response to Threats of Violence, Real and Imagined
The National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Association of University Professors, joined by leading groups in the academic, civil liberties, journalism, and free speech fields, issued a Statement of Principle and Call to Action urging governments, institutions and private individuals to support freedom of expression and academic freedom, and to resist caving in to threats of violence, real and [...]