First Amendment Award Lecture March 29, 1981

Norman Lear, March 29, 1981

“The religious New Right has grown so strong that it threatens the spirit of liberty for this generation. The ‘Christian New Right’ is threatening the freedom of expression of others through a rapidly growing network of TV and radio stations that is blanketing the country, espousing the same far right fundamentalist points of view while attacking the integrity and the character of anyone who does not stand with them.”

“These leaders and organizations have ever First Amendment right to express themselves as they wish. But if we agree that the American experiment is based on the conviction that a healthy society is best maintained- not by an attempt to impose uniformity but through free and open interchange of differing opinions- then the dogma of the religious New Right violates the spirit of the First Amendment and the spirit of liberty by claiming a kind of infallibility.”

“The religious New Right is making a claim to infallibility. To disagree with their conclusions on numerous matters of morality and politics is to be labeled poor Christian pr unpatriotic or antifamily.”

“The root cause of America’s problems is out choice of bottom-line behavior. No one will take the chance with an original idea – not when the name of the game is to win fast. In industry, government, or academia, leadership everywhere seems all ready to sell the future short for a moment of success.”

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