Two new data points to add. First, a black mass apparently designed to satirize religion has been cancelled after complaints and protests:
A reenactment of satanic rituals known as a “black mass” that had been scheduled for Monday evening on the Harvard campus was abruptly canceled amid a chorus of condemnation from Catholic groups and university officials and students. [...] The initial plan to hold a black mass on the Harvard campus prompted widespread outrage.I wouldn't have protested it nor would I have participated in a Black Mass, which strikes me as sophomoric and ineffective. But it's not hate imo. It's ridicule. But to my larger point, everyone has a right to protest everything. You can agree or disagree with a protest as your views lead you.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston held a eucharistic procession that began at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology chapel in Cambridge Monday evening, followed by a holy hour at St. Paul Church in Harvard Square. Jon Swedberg, 64, of Taunton and a marcher in the procession, said he was strongly opposed to the black mass and that he wanted to “pray to the Blessed Father on behalf of what’s happening.” “I find [the black mass] offensive as a Catholic,” he said. “I find it goes directly against the faith of my church, the faith of the church of my choice.” More than 1,500 people packed the church for the holy hour, including Drew Faust, Harvard president.
“Tonight, my friends, we gather in this moment of prayer, as a parish, a university community, to celebrate the greatest gift that God has ever extended to us, His son Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Michael E. Drea, who led the holy hour prayers. He said people of faith “all recognize the message of the Satanic black mass, they recognize it for what it is: an act of hatred . . . for the Catholic church.”
For example, my views are not in accord with the protest of the choice of IMF head Christine LaGarde as Smith College commencement speaker:
The commencement speaker purity bug has hit Smith College. The Northampton, Mass., women’s college announced Monday that International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde has withdrawn as the school’s 2014 commencement speaker due to faculty and student protests over the IMF’s policies. The decision to withdraw — announced by Smith College President Kathleen McCartney — comes less than a week before the ceremony on May 18. [Emphasis supplied.]Love the contemptuous "purity bug" moniker attached to a "straight" news story. Anyway, funny how the WaPo is so protective of Establishment figures. How dare they be protested!?!! To be sure, I disagree with the protests and believe there is no nuance to what Lagarde is about, but the protesters have a right to be wrong (imo of course.) Just as the protests of the Black Mass at Harvard have a right to be wrong.
In both of these cases, the speakers, the sponsors of the Black Mass and Lagarde, chose to withdraw from their original plans. But even if Harvard and Smith had chosen to not associate themselves with these speakers, their speech was not infringed. They are free to speak. As are the protesters.
This misunderstanding of free speech and protest continues to baffle me.