PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dom Giordano spoke with Jamie Funt, a lawyer for the Black Israelites, on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT to discuss the group’s demonstrations outside of the Shops at Liberty Place and their speech rights.
Click below to listen to the podcast…
The Shops at Liberty Place has recently hired two DJs to drown out their protests, which often target whites and gays.
Funt stated he has no issue with the presence of the DJs.
“It’s speech combated with more speech, and that’s exactly what the Supreme Court has indicated in their dictates. It’s constitutional, it’s permissible, and I certainly have no problem with them doing that,” he said.
He does think it’s wrong, however, for the Shops at Liberty Place to block the group’s access with bike racks.
“What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to limit, and they’re trying to cordon off a public access for individuals that have unpopular beliefs. And they are unpopular beliefs, I agree with that, and they are trying to silence them using those means,” Funt proclaimed.
Funt dismissed criticism that surrounding businesses were disrupted by the presence of the Black Israelites.
“Individuals had access to go in and out. People stopped and listened, other people continued on. Some people ignored them, some people engaged them in conversation. That is what this country is all about, and freedom has costs, and one of those costs is listening to unpopular speech,” he said.
Funt also pointed out that, as controversial as this group is, they have many beliefs that are in line with the rest of America.
“They do not believe in gay marriage. They are vehemently anti-abortion. Nearly half of this country agrees with them…What they don’t agree with is the manner in which they are saying it. Therein is the rub, and there is the fight, and that’s what this really is all about,” he said.