Christmas Klansman: Does an Idaho Man Have The Right To A Hateful Noose-Dangling Snowman?

In Hayden, Idaho, one family has a unique way of spreading the holiday cheer . . . or fear. A family has displayed a Klansman snowman with a dangling noose in front of their home and neighbors are calling for action to remove the offensive display.

The owner, named only as “Mark” is reportedly a white supremacist who displays both Aryan Nation and SS flags. He allegedly passed out bullets last Halloween. He insisted that he only handed out bullet casings . . . “and only did so after he ran out of candy.”

To make matters worse, Mark lives only 100 yards from an elementary school.

The case raises a long-standing dispute over the criminalization of hateful symbols. Police told Mark that he is in violation of a law prohibiting such hanging of nooses. The noose is gone now and the pointed hat has been knocked off. Leaving just a snowman.

However, what remains is a free speech question. Civil libertarians have long argued that such symbols cannot be criminalized under the First Amendment — despite rulings of the Supreme Court such as Black v. Virginia upholding prosecutions for such things as cross burnings as inherently threatening. Presumably, he was allowed to have the KKK snowman, but the noose itself would be the basis for a prosecution. From a free speech perspective, individuals have a right to be hateful and unpopular. The concern is that such prohibitions not only curtail free speech but place citizens on a slippery slope where various symbols can be categorized as hate speech or conveying a hateful message.

Source: KXLY

49 thoughts on “Christmas Klansman: Does an Idaho Man Have The Right To A Hateful Noose-Dangling Snowman?”

  1. Henman,

    Tootie’s just whipping out her well known “No Trues Scottsman” fallacy. Klansmen aren’t Christian because they act in a way she doesn’t think Christians would act.

    My suggestion, just realize that you both use different definitions of the word. You’ll never convince her that someone who holds beliefs contrary to her can be a Christian and she’s not all that likely to convince you of anything.

  2. Tootie-

    I read your posting of Dec. 6,2010 at 9:16a.m. and consider it to be the ravings of a lunatic. Your questions have no relevance to anything Pete said or anything I said. “Crazed assertions”?? Reread your own post. Neither Pete nor I said anything about race or anything about inter-racial marriage. Pete and I both asserted that ALL Klansmen are self-proclaimed Christians. Only people who claim to be Christians are permitted to join their evil organization. That is simply fact which you cannot refute. As for giving you citations from the New Testament, forget about it. I threw my copy in the trash nearly fifty years ago. I deal in facts, not insinuations and suggest you do the same.

  3. Tootie,

    The first amendment protects “political speech.” The intent was to preserve the right of all citizens to criticize the government. That issue is the cruz of the debate over pornography. Can all displays be protected under free speech when they are not inherently “political.”
    Personally, I think this guy would be covered under first amendment rights with his Klan snowman. That is a political statement, however distasteful. The noose, however, implies a clear threat. Threats are not protected speech. Just as yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre is not protected because of the assumption that it will lead to violence, so threats/support of violence is also not protected.

  4. Pete:

    Are you one of those people who think just because a person is white he or she is a Christian? I sure hope not.

    Prove your crazed assertion.

    Where in the New Testament is it taught that attacking people because of their race is Christ like? When did Christ advocate murdering people because of race? I need book, chapter, and verse. Please tell me which version you are using (King James, NIV, etc.)

    Where is it taught in the New Testament that a white and black, or a white and Asian cannot marry? Where? Again, I need book, chapter, and verse or else I might think you are an outright liar.

    I need the evidence that the Klansmen believed anything in the Bible such that any rational person could conclude they were Christians following the message of Christ to love ones enemy, yes, even to feed him and give him live sustaining water should he need it.

    Why is it you smear Christianity like this? Is it because you, like the Klansmen, harbor deep, dark and unspeakable feeling about those you do not understand?

  5. Buddha,

    Thank you for picking up the gauntlet … your discussion with J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E. is very interesting.

  6. “I favor, as an alternative to Due Process the structuring human society so that it is intrinsically and inextricably safe for people to be directly truthful.”

    That’s a fine aspiration, Brian. One I agree with in principle. It is, however, one that does not comport with human nature on the whole. You can change a lot of things, but you cannot change human nature. Society, as a human endeavor, will always reflect humanity. Perhaps, and I’ve discussed this possibility with others, Asperger’s is a beneficial mutation – the next baby step in evolution. But until all are capable of seeing the world as you do, a society like that which you dream of is just that – a dream.

    Again, Due Process is not perfect nor is it a solution on it’s own, but through the pursuit of its perfection given the current state of humankind, civilization can come close to the world you dream of, if not attain the dream proper.

  7. B.I.L. and lottakatz, and whosoever else…

    I am working away at a plausibly useful reply to B.I.L.’s last comment(s), and continue to find far too many words landing on my computer screen. I may put more words here when I get them.

    For now, however, I would like to briefly reply to B.I.L’s final paragraph question of Dec. 3, 2010, regarding my wanting Due Process were I mistakenly charged with a crime I did not commit.

    Were I to be charged as B.I.L. conjectured, I would expect Due Process to automatically insure my conviction because I have always found “normal” people to find me (in the sense of a legal finding) to be deceptive because it is a majority-held universal truth that everyone lies, and, if I truthfully claim to be truthful, the majority-held standard automatically condemns me. Therefore, I would not want Due Process to work on my behalf in the hypothetical situation posed.

    “Did you stop beating your pet three-toed monozygous unicorn on June 31, 2010 at 10:69 A.M. in the afternoon?”


    “So, you admit that you are still beating your pet unicorn?”


    How often does not recognizing deviously subtle variations of the fallacy of assuming the consequent result in a Due Process conviction?

    I favor, as an alternative to Due Process the structuring human society so that it is intrinsically and inextricably safe for people to be directly truthful.

    Such is now shown to be possible, as I live it.

    Yet I am not foolish enough to assert that the safety with which I live is necessarily mere bio-physical safety.

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