Chesapeake School Board Chairwoman Christie New Craig, like many Facebook users, used her page to convey opinions she believes are worth discussing. Obviously, in today’s political climate, there will always be someone who takes offence at practically every thought-provoking article. All it took for Craig was a simple query.
Despite the fact that America was built on the principle of individual liberty, there are still people who strive to silence speech they find disagreeable. Craig, however, became the subject of the outrage mob after using her First Amendment rights and posing a contentious question to Muslims in the United States.
Craig was chastised after sharing a meme on Facebook that questioned why Muslims move to America if they dislike American ideals. The post, which Craig removed after receiving reaction, was published from a Facebook group named “The Conservative Hammer” and asked, “What the hell do they come to America for?!”
Unbelievably, Craig was chastised for even posting the meme. But it wasn’t long before her position on the school board became a target for angry Muslims and their non-Muslim sympathizers. Indeed, the Washington branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded that the district look into Craig’s Facebook post.
Christie New Craig was accused of “discrimination” in CAIR’s official complaint, forcing the media to bombard her with questions about why she asked the insulting question.
Craig was immediately labeled a “racist” for denigrating the Islamic religion. She then emphasized that, although she had no intention of offending anybody, she had the right to free expression.
Craig, naturally, understood that no amount of submission or self-flagellation would rescue her from the wrath of the outrage mob. Surprisingly, in response to requests for her resignation, she said that she would “absolutely not” quit due to her position.
Craig’s decision to double back in her defense of her post sparked outrage in the Muslim community. She had no clue, though, how much sympathy her unwillingness to submit had sparked. Craig was ultimately re-elected as vice chairman of the Chesapeake School Board.
Remarkably, Craig’s determination to stand up for her ideas was sufficient to defeat the online lynch mob, which has regularly triumphed in getting others fired for similarly politically incorrect utterances.
Craig’s case demonstrates that if we do not preserve the freedom to express ideas and opinions that we find offensive, we will lose our First Amendment rights very quickly. Freedom of expression was not designed to safeguard inoffensive speech, which requires no protection in the first place. It was established to protect our freedom to communicate freely without fear of censorship.