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Jewish World Review Oct. 17, 2005 / 14 Tishrei, 5766

Bill O'Reilly

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Consumer Reports

Express yourself

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | You can now open a business in the state of Oregon that includes live sex acts as part of your inventory. You might call it "Vinny's Deli and Sex Act Cabaret," or "Miss Sally's Spa and Kama Sutra Emporium." That's because the Oregon Supreme Court recently ruled 5 to 1 that telling a business it cannot have a live sexual exposition on its premises is a violation of freedom of expression under the Oregon Constitution.

Incredibly, the Oregon Supreme Court believes that the state or local governments have no right to limit sexual "expression" in a public place. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled time and again that authorities do have a right to regulate expression when it collides with public safety or community standards. You can't have sex on your front lawn even though you are "expressing" yourself on private property because that expression would violate a societal norm.

But the Oregon Supreme Court doesn't seem to care about society. That state now has doctor-assisted suicide (being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court as we speak), some of the nation's most lenient drug laws, including almost total access to medical marijuana (have a headache, forget aspirin, here's a brownie), and now, live sex at a saloon near you.

But don't do any cigarette smoking in that saloon. That's been banned in Oregon, and it's also illegal to pump your own gas. Apparently, smoking and filling up your vehicle are not expressive enough for these dopey judges.

The driving force behind the sex in public deal was, no surprise, the ACLU, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief egging the Oregon judges on. The ACLU is big on expression as long as it doesn't involve singing Christmas carols. Yes, you do have this right: The ACLU is bullish on public displays of sex but bearish on public displays of the baby Jesus.

A person from Lithuania might think this is a humor column, that I must be joking. I'm not. This is exactly what's going on in Oregon and with the ACLU.

I'm not analyzing this from a moral point of view; the live sex act thing isn't all that important in the vast scheme of things. Nevada has legal prostitution in rural areas, and the state has not crumbled. But the perversion of Oregon's state constitution is troubling.

Freedom of expression as defined by the Founding Fathers is a concept subject to time, manner and place limitations. Laws against hate speech, disturbing the peace, public lewdness and scores of other "expressions" are enforced daily in order to impose some order in a nation of 300 million people. The judges in Oregon understand that but don't like it — so they have decided to erase societal boundaries under the banner of freedom.

This is where the nation is headed under the secular-progressive jihad that is being waged all over America. With apologies to Home Depot, you can do it — the ACLU can help. It has been said that freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. But if we lose all standards of behavior, are we really free?

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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© 2004 Creators Syndicate