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'Censornati' Meets Its Match

by Matt Cherry

Cincinnati is notorious for censoring free expression - as photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and publisher Larry Flynt both learnt to their cost. The local censors finally met their match when they tried to cancel a meeting of the Free Inquiry Group (FIG.).

The March meeting - organized by the secular humanist group FIG in conjunction with Campaign against Censorship in the Arts, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, and Stonewall Cincinnati - was due to be held at the Cincinnati Museum Center. When the Center learned the talk was titled "Defending Pornography" they tried to cancel the meeting. However, the speaker they were trying to silence was not about to surrender her right to free speech - she was Nadine Strossen, law professor and national President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Center soon realized it was outgunned and agreed to allow the meeting to go ahead.

Calling the city "Censornati," Strossen commented, "cities across the country are the concerned about pornography but will not go to the lengths that Cincinnati does." She added "the idea of defending free speech when the speech is being censored is pretty ironic. Doesn't it speak for itself?"

Matt Cherry is Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism. He may be reached at FICherry@aol.com.

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This page was last updated 12/04/2003

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