Rand Paul cites speeches by Muslim extremists to support his opinion. The senator believes that attendees of a rally where the speaker is advocating the overthrow of the government should be imprisoned. Of course, one would like to believe Rand Paul is an equal opportunity offender and holds this opinion for rallies featuring extreme rightwing groups. But that's another story.

Here is how Rand Paul expressed his opinion:

PAUL: I'm not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they've been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they've been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn't be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that's really an offense that we should be going after -- they should be deported or put in prison.

Fortunately for supporters of our constitution, as Salon.com Glenn Greenwald points out, not only is the attendance of such rallies protected, but even giving such speeches:

Indeed, the First Amendment not only protects the mere "attending" of a speech "promoting the violent overthrow of our government," but also the giving of such a speech. The government is absolutely barred by the Free Speech clause from punishing people even for advocating violence. That has been true since the Supreme Court's unanimous 1967 decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio, which overturned the criminal conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader who had threatened violence against political officials in a speech.


While I myself do not advocate the overthrow of the government, we do have a constitution to uphold. We cannot pick and choose certain parts of an Amendment and deny others the full protection. This is why the Westboro Baptist Church can carry on. We may not like what they have to say, but they are protected. We all are.