Anti-Muslim sign in Lonsdale is protected speech, bad business

A Lonsdale, Minn., business owner has every right to put a sign in front of his business that advertises food and ice cream and adds “Muslims get out.”

It’s not against the law, thanks to the First Amendment.

“I’ve had enough and I’m standing up,” Dan Ruedinger, owner of Treats Family Restaurant, tells the Lonsdale News Review. “With all the bombs and shootings we’ve had, we’re supposed to welcome refugees here who want to kill us? This has nothing to do with race, it has to do with a religion of hatred that preaches violence.

“Some Muslims are good people and want a better life. They need to step up, take control and hold the others accountable.”

He later told TV stations he would’ve made it more clear he was referring to extremists, but he didn’t have the letters to spell “extremist.”

The paper says a woman stopped and started pulling the letters off the sign, prompting a call to the cops.

“It’s free speech,” a commenter declared on the Lonsdale Happenings Facebook page.

“No, it’s not. It’s hate,” countered another.

It’s both.

Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment, although there are exceptions for face-to-face so-called “fighting words.”

Ground zero for this debate is the East Side of St. Paul, where some teenagers burned a cross at the home of a black family in 1990.

One young man was convicted under St. Paul’s Bias-Motivated Crime Ordinance, which prohibits the display of a symbol which one knows or has reason to know “arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender.”

Having worked its way through Minnesota courts, the question ended up in the laps of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, all of whom agreed that the St. Paul ordinance suppressed speech in violation of the First Amendment.

In its practical operation, moreover, the ordinance goes even beyond mere content discrimination, to actual viewpoint discrimination.

Displays containing some words — odious racial epithets, for example — would be prohibited to proponents of all views. But “fighting words” that do not themselves invoke race, color, creed, religion, or gender — aspersions upon a person’s mother, for example — would seemingly be usable ad libitum in the placards of those arguing in favor of racial, color, etc., tolerance and equality, but could not be used by those speakers’ opponents.

One could hold up a sign saying, for example, that all “anti-Catholic bigots” are misbegotten; but not that all “papists” are, for that would insult and provoke violence “on the basis of religion.”

St. Paul has no such authority to license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquis of Queensberry rules.

What we have here, it must be emphasized, is not a prohibition of fighting words that are directed at certain persons or groups (which would be facially valid if it met the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause); but rather, a prohibition of fighting words that contain (as the Minnesota Supreme Court repeatedly emphasized) messages of “bias motivated” hatred and in particular, as applied to this case, messages “based on virulent notions of racial supremacy.”

One must wholeheartedly agree with the Minnesota Supreme Court that “it is the responsibility, even the obligation, of diverse communities to confront such notions in whatever form they appear,” but the manner of that confrontation cannot consist of selective limitations upon speech.

St. Paul’s brief asserts that a general “fighting words” law would not meet the city’s needs because only a content-specific measure can communicate to minority groups that the “group hatred” aspect of such speech “is not condoned by the majority.”

The point of the First Amendment is that majority preferences must be expressed in some fashion other than silencing speech on the basis of its content.

While the speech in Lonsdale may be constitutionally protected, it’s a good way for a business to go broke.

  • lindblomeagles

    It’s rather easy for an American to tell Muslims to get out of this country because the American faces NO threat of being hoisted out of here for his bad manners, his racism, his religious intolerance, his actual crimes, or, just because we don’t like, in this case, him. It’s also easy for an American to suggest somebody else is violent and intolerant of our “American” values because we don’t care that the United States incarcerates more people in jail than any other country in the world, or that some of the American values we eschew now, had a discriminatory or segregationist outcome. And when we Americans are called on the carpet for being “brave” in instances where we think we have “nothing” to lose, it is easy for us to drape the First Amendment around ourselves, because, you see, we took so little risk when we told Muslims to get out of this country and called them violent and intolerant from the very beginning, and we want to keep ourselves “risk free” through the entirety of our violent, intolerant, anti-Muslim actions. As I learned attending high school, a bully is only brave when a) he has home turf advantage; b) he has a noticeable size advantage over you; and c) he has tremendous assistance from the other bullies behind him, or from the weapons he carries in his bully toolkit. Dan Ruedinger’s speech is not in practice protected hate speech. It is simply a bully doing what bullies do, pick on the little guy.

    • jon

      There are plenty of Americans who are Muslims.

    • James Matthew

      Your analysis of bullies seems to be off in the modern age.

      There are plenty of internet bullies on social media or other media platforms without the power, size, turf or support that you lay out as necessary for bullying.

  • Mike Worcester

    It will be interesting to see how area consumers respond to this message.

    And that SCOTUS decision, “R.A.V. vs St Paul” was successfully argued before the court by Edward Cleary, who is now the Chief Judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

    • Steve

      I believe that his business has tripled. Hired 3 new workers.

      • Doubt it

        • Sam M

          I wouldn’t be surprised if it does or at the very least has no effect.

          I think we all underestimate the amount of people that feel the exact same way as this business owner especially in rural America.

          • The reaction of the people in Lonsdale suggests otherwise.

          • Sam M

            All of them?

            A handful of vocal people on FB does not make an entire community.

          • Nobody said it does. But neither does someone guessing on a blog’s comment section. Every community has its muttonheads.

            The fact some people in Lonsdale have vowed to take their business elsewhere betrays the guess that it will have no effect on business.

          • Sam M

            I just think we too often think that views of the business owner are a small portion of the population and I think we have seen over the last year and a half if not longer that there is a pretty large group of people that are anti-immigrant and anti-muslim.

            Growing up in towns like Lonsdale and knowing that community myself it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a large group in town that would wholeheartedly support the business more now than before. This is not to say the entire community would feel that way but these views as abhorrent as we may find them do exist.

          • That the views exist isn’t really a debatable point.

          • Gary F

            Why rural America and not urban or suburban America?

          • Sam M

            Yes of course it is everywhere but Lonsdale is rural. I may be wrong but surveys/polls have shown that rural areas lean more towards the beliefs of the business owner. I think many urban/suburban people lose sight of that.

          • I’d like to see that poll. In any event, it doesn’t really matter in the math of it all. Politics divides people. In a low-margin business, dividing people is a money loser.

            I don’t know how many people know Lonsdale but it’s hardly stuck in the hills. It’s on the fringe of the metro and it’s quite an affluent area and an area that skews much younger than Minnesota as a whole.

          • Sam M

            Not if you know your customers and that’s how they feel as well.

          • The reaction so far clearly shows that some current customers want nothing to do with it. Now, it’s possible that people who want Muslims thrown out of the country will develop an insatiable appetite for a chocolate sundae, but I doubt that’s sustainable.

          • Sam M

            Yeah some.

        • Gary F

          That’s what the #4 was saying this morning.

        • Ben

          I think it could possibly go like this, he will lose the customers who were offended by the sign, and probably never get them back. He will probably gain some customers because of the sign and the attention, but they won’t necessarily be regulars, maybe a bump up in some sales, then things will go back down and he will still be out the offended customers.

          • I think that’s a reasonable expectation. It’s also why most businesses don’t put political signs up. All you’re going to do is anger people .

  • Curmudge

    Is it not obvious that the immigrants who refuse to assimilate and instead try to set up miniature versions of their own dysfunctional home countries have pushed Americans too far? No assimilation……no immigration……that must be the rule.

    • Too late. The Germans already arrived and brought a piece of their country with them. What you want people to assimilate into is a culture made up of other cultures. A history of New Ulm reveals the beauty of bringing your country with you.

      But it takes time. First, people have to stop being afraid of their own shadows.

      People assimilate when they feel welcomed to share their culture. Over time, the barriers break down.

      Don’t be so afraid. The home of the brave will be just fine.

      • Anna

        So did the Italians, the Jews, the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Czechs, the Poles and the Irish.

        One need only look at Boston, New York and Chicago at the turn of the 20th century to make Bob’s argument.

        Louisiana was settled by the French. Texas was settled by Mexicans. California was settled by the Spanish.

        Canada has an entire province that speaks French almost exclusively.

        All of those cultures still have strong influences in the AMERICAN culture which is a melting pot of international cultures.

        The nations across the Pond are having the same growing pains that America has gone through since it’s founding only they are doing it under the glare of 24/7 news cycles and the digital age.

        The racial intolerance that hid under the surface before the digital age is coming out gangbusters now that people can voice their discontent with impunity.

        America, your intolerance is showing. Stop all the immigrant bashing (and that includes you, Donald Trump!) and get with the program!

        • Jack

          So if we were to deport all immigrants and descendants (isn’t that what would happen if we deport the immigrants and their families that were born here?), there’s going to be some major population gains elsewhere. How would you determine the appropriate destination – DNA testing?

          Of course, I’m talking the extreme. Very few Americans (only Native Americans) are not here because of some type of immigration – forced (slavery) or voluntary.

          Donald – ready to return to Germany (isn’t that his ancestral home)?

          • jon

            Native americans came across the land bridge from Russia…

            We all came from somewhere.

          • Jack

            This can become empty land then.

          • jon

            Really empty… MN was covered with an ice sheet at for a significant period before those people crossed the land bridge…

            Though if we are really through in chasing every one back to where they came from there are going to be a lot of people packed into Africa. (I did the math, about one per acre… which really doesn’t sound that bad I suppose… so long as you aren’t one of the unlucky ones that gets an acre in the sahara…)

          • Then again, the Sahara IS a larger area than the continental US.

            🙂

          • jon

            Yeah, my take away from doing the math is that Africa is really really big. (I mean I knew that… but also the only location I could find for “where humans first evolved” on a quick google search was “Africa”… doesn’t really narrow it down much.)

            Any how… population density in India is only ~3/4’s of what it would be if we shoved every human into Africa…
            And with decent farming techniques and fertile soil a person can in theory live off of an acre… not easily mind you … but it’s with in the realm of possiblity… Still not an experiment I’d want to participate in.

      • Curmudge

        That’s because the Germans were so much like the Americans they were joining. Their values were compatible. They quickly and willingly assimilated and loved America. Compare that to the Somalis who live in racially pure segregated communities and attempt to recreate a little Somalia and reject American ways. It can’t work. It won’t work. They have no intention of assimilating.

        • // and attempt to recreate a little Somalia and reject American ways.

          Like what?

          • Curmudge

            That’s self explanatory. But what is “//?”

        • Jerry

          All immigrants tend to live in ethnically pure segregated communities. Where I grew up, if you lived on side of the road, you were Swedish, the other side you were Norwegian. The churches on either side of the road had services in their respective languages. People still joke about the division 150 years after they immigrated here.

          • Curmudge

            Yes……they joke. And they went to work together and managed to get along…….because they had shared values and cultural similarities and they assimilated. So why are the Muslims not joking? Because they have no shared values and culture and they reject any attempt to learn, share and assimilate. They are simply not suitable candidates for immigration because they will never try to fit in……they will always cause problems–just as they OBVIOUSLY are causing problems now. Need I point out that the Norwegians never blew any of us up……but Muslims are killing and injuring us with a notable regularity and pleasure?

          • Jerry

            Sorry, you ran over my bigot threshold. Blocked.

          • Curmudge

            No, when I pointed out that the Norwegians never blew any of us up……but Muslims
            are killing and injuring us with a notable regularity and pleasure……THAT ran over your logic threshold. Truth hurts…..logic hurts…..take an aspirin and call me in the morning.

          • jon

            Can you explain the logic in replying to some one who blocked you and thus won’t see the response?

            Also you shouldn’t use aspirin for pain, there are better options that have fewer side negative effects. Talk to your Doctor (one with medical knowledge from this decade) and they’ll help you get to the right pain reliever choice.

          • Curmudge

            Thank you for those astute observations.

          • jon

            I’ve worked to great effect with muslims, and hindus, and atheists, and protestants, and catholics, and even an evangelical christian (that one was a challenge), we all got along fine.

            I’ve never have any of them tried to blow me up, nor have me killed, nor injured…

            Perhaps, assimilation is a two way street… like how we now eat Chinese take out in the US and it isn’t “bizarre” or “weird.”
            You know like america is some sort of melting pot for cultures….

            Perhaps if you stop calling people “bizarre” and “weird” they’ll be less inclined to try to injure and blow you up.

            OR you can keep going down this same path that is OBVIOUSLY a problem… 😉

          • Curmudge

            The OBVIOUS difference is that the Chinese gave us enjoyable foods and never tried to blow us up. See how that works? It’s the shooting, killing, blowing up thing……while wearing bizarre clothing and refusing to appreciate being allowed into America…….that’s what makes the difference.

          • jon

            What is the difference, that some one who looked like them tried to hurt some one that looked like you and you saw it on the news?

          • Curmudge

            Exactly. And they didn’t just try……they succeeded……time and time and time again. Starting to get it now?

          • Afro Deli!!

          • >>Need I point out that the Norwegians never blew any of us up.<<

            Not yet anyway…

            http://www.thelocal.no/20150408/number-of-norwegians-on-us-terror-list-doubles

            /Then there's always Anders Breivik…

          • Curmudge

            Anders……who wasn’t an immigrant and never harmed anyone in America……unlike the Muslims that we’re discussing……who are immigrants and have made horrific attacks on the generous and loving America that they should be gratefully thanking for allowing them in.

          • You saw the terror watchlist link I posted, right?

          • Curmudge

            No.

          • Curmudge

            Keep on dreaming.

    • Angry Jonny

      I imagine that North American Indigenous tribes felt much the same.

      • Curmudge

        And they still do. So?

    • jon

      You know this might be a stronger message if we weren’t in a state where you can buy lutefisk…

      Don’t we still have churches in the cities that are doing services in Norwegian?

      • Oh ja, you betcha.

      • Curmudge

        Sure, but they’ve assimilated. What you do in church is your own business. What you do in public is what causes problems. If you wear bizarre clothing, speak bizarre languages, live in racially pure segregated communities and reject and rebel against American ways in general…….you have no chance of being anything but a burden to the rest of us. Thus you must again depart to that dysfunctional place from whence you came.

        • RBHolb

          Who gets to say what clothes or languages are “bizarre?”

          If members of an ethnic group happen to live in a certain neighborhood, that does not make it a “racially pure segregated community,” unless the segregation is by law or agreement. Unless you would call Wayzata (92% white) or North Oaks (93% white) “racially pure segregated communities.”

          • Curmudge

            OBVIOUSLY, the country that has graciously agreed to accept the immigrants gets to decide. If immigrants choose to isolate in racially pure groups and reject the culture they have entered they are rejecting that nation that has generously agreed to allow them refuge. What happens when you spit in the face of your benefactor? Comparisons to Wayzata or any other already existing city are invalid.

          • // gets to decide.

            As it says in the Bill of Rights.

          • RBHolb

            No, they are not invalid. I would like to know if it is alright for white people to “live in racially pure segregated communities.”

            Are you proposing some kind of clothing or language police? A sort of political correctness from the other direction, as it were?

            Note that the sign referred to “Muslims,” not just “Muslims who dress funny.” Are Muslims acceptable if they shop only at Old Navy? I’ve seen some East Africans in my neighborhood who sometimes dress funny–should we bar them, even though they are Christians?

          • Curmudge

            LOL! If they shopped at Old Navy you wouldn’t know they were Muslims. That’s the whole point. Assimilation is more than just looks……it means you have accepted and love America–as shown by your clothing that blends in instead of flaunting your rebellion. Dressing funny “sometimes” is perfectly normal American behavior. Dressing funny all the time is the mark of somebody with an agenda–it better be done very carefully or it will be interpreted as hostile. Immigrants are here due to our generous love…..acting hostile spits in our generous faces…….so immigrants, most of all, must show a good and appreciative attitude.

          • Jerry

            but enough about the Catholics, tell me how you feel about Muslims?

          • Curmudge

            Norwegians are rarely Catholics…….and rarely bombers, either. In fact, I can’t remember the last radical Norwegian terrorist. But…….can you remember the last Muslim terrorist? I thought so.

          • >>In fact, I can’t remember the last radical Norwegian terrorist.<<

            Uh, Anders Breivik. He killed 77 people just a few years ago.

          • Curmudge

            That was not in America. See how that works?

          • You wrote: “In fact, I can’t remember the last radical Norwegian terrorist.”

            I came up with an example.

            See how that works?

          • Curmudge

            It doesn’t. Your example is irrelevant since the discussion was about Norwegian terrorists in America. You seem desperate to come up with something. Keep trying. 🙂

          • At one time, people wore suits and ties to church. They went to baseball games in jackets and ties. You dressed up to take an airline flight.

            Then the infidels came in and now it’s T-shirts, jeans, and sandals everywhere you look.

            Joking aside, cultural assimiliation generally starts with the second generation. And if you look around, you’ll see that’s the case here too.

          • Curmudge

            The big difference is that the Muslims bring terrorists and death in both the first and second generations……the Norwegians didn’t do that. At all.

          • Ben

            This is a spoof account, can’t be real. Either that or this character has somehow traveled from another dimension and comes from one of those 1950s or 60s educational films we all watched many years ago in school.

          • // gets to decide.

            As it says right there in the Bill of Rights.

          • Curmudge

            //? What says who where? LOL!

        • Kassie

          Oh my. Look at the Muslim in his funny dress clothes!

          • Curmudge

            Yeah, gotta love those who choose to act normal. 🙂

      • RBHolb

        That sort of thing looks quaint and charming now.

        It was just over 100 years ago that Teddy Roosevelt gave his oft-quoted speech about “no hyphenated Americans.” Of course, at the time he was talking about churches holding services in Norwegian, newspapers in Italian or Yiddish, and celebration of another country’s national holiday (Syttende Mai comes to mind). Today, it’s “celebrating our heritage.” Back then, it was regarded as a threat to Americanism.

  • Could you argue it’s a violation of the Civil Rights Act, which bans public accommodations from discriminating on the basis of race or religion? The sign suggests that Muslims aren’t welcome in the restaurant. How’s that different from a whites-only lunch counter?

    • He’d have to actually deny a public accommodation .

      • Rob

        Denying a public accommodation is exactly what he’s doing. He is operating a public accommodation, while in essence saying via his signage that “we don’t serve Muslims.” If his sign said: “Terrorists get out,” there’d be no problem.

        • No, not under the SCOTUS ruling h is not. What he’s saying in essence doesn’t constitute anything. He’d have to actually deny service, not suggest be’d deny service.

          • Rob

            Huh.

          • seedhub

            Your point here is that until the business owner actively refuses to serve a Muslim, the speech is protected – but that argument fails when the speech can reasonably be interpreted as an active refusal to serve Muslims.

            Absent any qualifiers, a sign that says simply “Muslims Get Out” can reasonably be interpreted as exactly that.

          • It would be helpful if you could cite case law.

          • seedhub

            Case law that interprets “Get out” as “Get out of my business” rather than “Get out of my country”?

          • Thus, it is protected speech.

          • seedhub

            Not if it can reasonably be interpreted as a denial of service.

          • And when the Supreme Court — or any court for that matter — makes that interpretation, then it becomes unprotected speech. Until that time, however, it remains so.

            A reasonable person could interpret a burning cross on the lawn of a black family on the East Side. But it was irrelevant to the singular fact that speech — even offensive speech outside of fighting words — remains protected.

            The fact that someday it could be interpreted otherwise has no relevance on today.

          • seedhub

            I’m aware there is a presumption of innocence. I guess I thought the debate here was how a court would consider the sign, rather whether or not a court has considered the sign.

          • KTN

            The Court would use strict scrutiny, and if the local government decided to force him to remove his sign, the city would lose. THe Court has a very high bar for limits to the 1stA, and this sign is does not come close to meeting that threshold.

          • seedhub

            So if I hung a sign on my business that said “No Coloreds,” I could claim First Amendment protection?

          • Apparently.

            Now, if you actually refused service to the “coloreds”, that may be an issue.

          • seedhub

            Posting a sign that says “No Coloreds” is denying service. It isn’t incumbent on the public to challenge the veracity of the sign.

          • I understand your point, but I think Bob was saying that until you ACTUALLY deny that service, it’s a legal sign (unless I’m misunderstanding this).

          • KTN

            Of course you could. The Court, and the Constitution don’t really care if you or anyone for that matter are offended by the sign.

          • seedhub

            No, I couldn’t. If it were to constitute a denial of service — which that clearly would — it’s not protected speech.

          • No, that constitutes putting up a sign saying you were going to deny service. You have a case when you walk in and are denied service.

          • seedhub

            So a sign out front that says “Go away if you’re Muslim!” is not a denial of service, but a person standing behind a counter that says “Go away if you’re a Muslim!” is not? What’s the distinction, exactly?

          • There are signs all over some businesses that the owner will shoot trespassers. But that’s not good enough to arrest someone for shooting trespassers. Once he/she shoots someone, then we’re off and running .

          • seedhub

            That’s because a sign that says “I’ll shoot you if you trespass” is not equivalent to shooting someone if they trespass — but a sign that says, “Go away if you’re Muslim” is actually equivalent to telling someone to go away if they’re Muslim.

          • A court would consider the sign on the basis of constitutional questions in content-based restrictions of speech. That’s why it wouldn’t get far at all in a court. There’s no legal interpretation of the First Amendment that would support a denial of service claim on the basis of reasonable interpretation of a sign.

          • seedhub

            I don’t follow. A sign that can reasonably be interpreted as a denial of service shouldn’t be considered a denial of service?

      • If you tell someone to “get out,” aren’t you denying them accommodation?

        • I think he’s telling them to get out of the country, not refusing to serve them.

          • Gary F

            I think someone would actually have to go into the store and try to buy something.

          • seedhub

            One can be turned away by a sign that says “No coloreds,” or a cashier that says “No coloreds,” but the distinction is immaterial: it’s a denial of service either way.

          • Rob

            I think a reasonable person – Muslim or otherwise – would interpret the sign as saying not just get out of the country, but don’t come into my restaurant if you’re a Muslim. It is therefore, in effect, a denial of public accommodation.

          • No, it’s not. It’s a denial of public accommodation when the service is denied.

            Read that SCOTUS decision.

          • seedhub

            A sign that denies public accommodation is a denial of service.

          • James Matthew

            Its a legal concept about showing actual “harm”. The owner could argue that the sign is merely a political statement and that they would serve Muslims (while perhaps rudely telling them that America would be better if it expelled all Muslims from the nation), while a Muslim could argue that it would mean that they wouldn’t be served at all.

            Because this wording could be reasonably argued one way or another until service was refused there would be no proof of harm for the courts to look at.

            Free Speech allows people to be rude without it being a crime. The law does not recognize being offended by rude speech as harm.

            If the sign said “No Muslims Allowed” then there would be no reasonable question of its intent.

          • seedhub

            Courts don’t require “proof of harm.” They require evidence of harm, and determine whether or not that evidence constitutes proof.

    • X@mailinator.com

      First, please apply that logic to muslim only events, exclusive black groups, etc, etc. There is room for everyone, private business owners can kick out whomever they want to for whatever reason they want to. The issue at heart, is one of private property rights.

      • seedhub

        No, private business owners cannot kick out whomever they want to for whatever reason they want to. You should read up on the Civil Rights Movement, because you’re about fifty years behind.

      • No, that’s not true. Private property rights has nothing to do with and that’s been settled numerous times by the courts.

  • sethw76

    Equal protection under the law. I hope they get sued. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Protection_Clause

  • Jack

    What if the sign read “Blacks get out”? Would the public react in the same way?

    We need to stop looking at our differences and focus on the fact that we are all humans.

    I don’t buy the argument that this is referring to only extremists. Did he put up a “Christians get out” sign after the Oklahoma City bombing?

    • Either way, it’s still protected speech.

      • seedhub

        Only if everyone interprets it the same way you have.

        • It’s not the way Bob has interpreted it. It’s the way the Court has interpreted it. Bob is simply telling you how the Court interpreted it.

          • seedhub

            This hasn’t gone before a court.

          • You mean the question of this specific sign or the question of what constitutes a reasonable interpretation of a sign?

          • seedhub

            I meant the former, but either. No court has answered (or could answer) “what constitutes a reasonable interpretation of a sign” in a general sense.

          • KTN

            Yes in fact, the Court has ruled on a yard sign – just a couple of years ago.

            https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-502_9olb.pdf

          • seedhub

            Reed v. Town of Gilbert did not determine the reasonable interpretation of signs in a general sense.

          • KTN

            Yes it did. The Court reversed a lower court ruling that banned Reed from displaying his sign. They rejected the claim that the content based restrictions put in place the the city were not neutral, and therefore could not survive under strict scrutiny.

          • seedhub

            Again: that does not speak to the reasonable interpretation of signs in a general sense. Applied to these circumstances, the court’s decision in Reed does not indicate whether or not this sign constitutes a general expression of political sentiment or a specific denial of service.

          • Until the court rules otherwise, it’s protected speech. Test it. File a suit. But until it works its way through the court system, the protections stand.

          • seedhub

            I wonder, if while reporting a murder, you would write, “The suspect is innocent,” only because the suspect had not yet been tried.

          • I could write anything I wanted to write within the guidelines of the First Amendment while reporting a murder and it would be protected speech.

            I would also point out that there’s no such verdict in a court of law as “innocent”.

          • seedhub

            That’s an awfully low bar for a journalist.

            The question was not “Could you?” but rather “Would you?”

          • I don’t think the First Amendment is a low bar at all, actually.

            Would I write that a person is innocent in a murder trial. If I knew him to be innocent, I would. But we’re in a discussion about the First Amendment and constitutional guarantees so I don’t really understand to what end you’re establishing protected speech under the First Amendment now as a low bar.

            Can we establish that you’re not a lawyer at this point?

          • seedhub

            So you know, then, that Dan Ruedinger meant “Muslims get out of my country,” rather than “Muslims get out of my business”? Because you’ve said only that’s what you think he meant.

          • // Because you’ve said only that’s what you think he meant.

            I never said any such thing.

          • seedhub
          • Anna

            You are not an attorney and Bob is not a United States Supreme Court judge. If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school.

          • seedhub

            Yes, let’s just leave this all to the lawyers. Let’s all disengage from public discourse if we don’t have the appropriate degree and license. Great idea.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Doh!

          • Read it again. That’s exactly what they did. The reasonability argument you’re putting forward is in no way a legal doctrine, as you’ve already acknowledged.

            The court’s key phrase here is “content-based restrictions.” Even under your faux doctine, getting to the point of reasonability would plow through the barrier of a content-based restriction that SCOTUS has affirmed.

            It simply does not matter how you choose to interpret the sign any more than it matters how you interpret a burning cross on the lawn of a black family in St. Paul.

          • seedhub

            When the content in question can reasonably be interpreted is a denial of service contrary to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, then the interpretation of that content certainly does matter.

          • You keep invoking an apparent legal doctine that isn’t a legal doctrine.

          • seedhub

            What legal doctrine is that? The interpretation of words?

          • In regards to the First Amendment, that is correct. If you disagree, simply cite case law. But you’ve already said there isn’t any supporting your doctrine. Let’s assume you’re going to carry this to a court. When the judge asks you for a case citation to support your contention, what are you going to tell him/her?

          • seedhub

            I’ll cite cases that involve violations of public accommodation laws. The judge, then, will consider the content of the sign, and the reasonable interpretation of same, and determine if it likewise constitutes a violation of those laws.

          • Go ahead, cite one.

          • seedhub

            Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States

          • Go on.

            The Civil Rights Act of 1964 isn’t in question.

            Nor is the concept that you cannot deny service to someone on the basis of religion , race etc. Nor is the 10th Amendment.

          • seedhub

            The Civil Rights Act of 1964 certainly is in contention here, if the sign can be reasonably interpreted as a denial of public accommodation.

          • If it can be, sure. But hasn’t been and so deal with the what is reality, not what someone might want that reality to be.

            It IS protected speech until someone says it’s not. No one has said it’s not.

          • KTN

            Sorry but Heart of Atlanta was a Commerce Clause case, not a 1stA case.

          • seedhub

            Bob asked me to cite a case that supports my contention. Heart of Atlanta supports my contention.

          • KTN

            Well it does on the grounds of accommodation, but again, the Court used the Commerce Clause to shut down Heart of Atlanta, not the 1stA. Different animal.

          • seedhub

            Exactly. The First Amendment does not protect speech in violation of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. That’s my point.

  • MrE85

    If one must dine in Lonsdale, I would suggest the nearby Whistle Stop Tavern instead. There is also a Subway.

  • Mike

    The genius of the First Amendment is that everyone wins: this oaf gets to spout his bigotry, and others know to avoid giving him any business.

  • Fred, Just Fred

    Let’s let the owner speak for himself.

    http://www.kare11.com/news/restaurant-sign-draws-protests-in-lonsdale/321735990

    I think everyone would be happy if he added one word to his sign: “radical”.

    • MarkUp

      “I am not talking about the Muslim population in general. I am talking about the Muslim extremists. I am sure there are far more good Muslims than there are bad, just like there is with any other race. The only reason I didn’t put extremists on the board is because I didn’t have room on the board for it.”

      How inconvenient for all of us.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        Well, it’s all cleared up now.

      • Rob

        It’s possible the shop owner didn’t know how to spell the word “extremist,” and so didn’t want to embarrass himself…

        • Fred, Just Fred

          It’s possible the shop owner didn’t know how to spell the word “extremist,” and so didn’t want to embarrass himself…

          That might be it. There’s plenty of abuse of the English language in evidence lately.

          • Rob

            So, what’s your point? I am so sorry for not having any misspellings in my post. Have a nice day.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            The sign didn’t have any spelling or grammatical errors.

          • He spelled “support” wrong in the update.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Maybe he ran out of letters!

          • >>He spelled “support” wrong in the update.<<

            Of course he did…

          • Rob

            I so never said the sign had any spelling or grammatical errors; I guess my misspelling reference was a little too metaphysical for you. So sorry!

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Yeah, that’s it, probably.

      • Compare that quote with the one he gave the newspaper:

        “Some Muslims are good people and want a better life. They need to step up, take control and hold the others accountable.”

        Some?

        By the way, he had enough letters to put “some” on the sign.

        • MarkUp

          What do you think he means by “take control”?

          • I don’t know. I don’t know that he does. I think he wants people to stop knifing people in a shopping mall. That’s not an unreasonable dream.

        • Fred, Just Fred

          What is wrong with “some”? Some Muslims are burning people alive, some condemn that.

          I don’t think it is really possible to ascribe percentages of Muslims that agree with radical interpretations. You’re likely to get the answer that fits the situation.

          • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “some”.

            I think the word depends on how you construct a sentence as a qualifier, and what you see as constituting an exception.

    • RBHolb

      I think the owner’s explanation is a load of rubbish. It sounds like something he came up with after the fact, when he realized his opinion was not going to be greeted with universal acclaim.

    • Curmudge

      Or if he added “un-assimilated Muslims.”

      • Fred, Just Fred

        I don’t think assimilation necessarily assigns danger.

        • Curmudge

          I don’t either. I think it’s usually a GOOD sign.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            I meant to say lack of assimilation. It has been pointed out that the Amish have made it a point not to assimilate, but I don’t think anyone believed they are a threat of any kind.

          • Curmudge

            Yes, that’s just it.

            1. The Amish love America and are assimilated in many ways.

            2. The Amish have an attitude of gratitude to be living in America.

            3. The Muslims who REFUSE to assimilate show no gratitude, just a bad attitude.

  • Sigmund Tomas

    Let’s put a sign like that on the Statue of Liberty too.

    • Rob

      Don’t give Trump any ideas.

  • Rob

    Wouldn’t even have to be activists.

  • Will

    I’ve had lunch at that restaurant before, my friend even lives down the street. We talked about the sign last night and I told him to put on his “Make America Great Again” hat on and have a conversation with the owner, maybe get him to change the sign to say ISIS or throw the word extremist on there.

  • Mike

    This sign doesn’t surprise me at all, the only surprise is someone put it on a sign. This is the small town Minnesota I grew up in and know to this day. ‘Minnesota Nice’ is the biggest farce going, well unless you are white and some type of practicing Christian.

  • Will

    The sign has changed, it now supports St. Cloud… I’ll get a picture later.

  • civiman

    61% of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Islam. 46% of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Muslims. Mr. Ruedinger’s opinion is clearly mainstream in this country. It is doubtful this will hurt his business.

    • By your numbers I can see that there’s clearly a danger of his losing 54% of his business.

      • civiman

        Yes, but how many people go about their lives deciding what businesses they will patronize based on such things? Most people don’t hold a strong opinion either way. They are more concerned with getting food than promoting an ideology. In the short term, people who agree with Mr. Ruedinger will go out of their way to give him business. In the long term, his sign controversy will blow over and it will be business as usual.

        • // Most people don’t hold a strong opinion either way.

          So you’re saying the poll numbers you provided are invalidated by the fact most people don’t hold a strong opinion either way?

          • civiman

            No, I wouldn’t say invalidated. My reason for pointing out this poll is to show that the business owner’s view is not beyond the pale for the average person. People like us who hold strong opinions either way and read/write news stories are a minority. It’s interesting to get out of our bubbles and see what the average person thinks.

          • So how do you know the average person doesn’t have a strong opinion?

          • Your poll you cited says 46% of Americans do not hold favorable views of Muslims. How do you calculate that that represents the average American?

            BTW, as an aside, 47% of those surveyed in a Pew poll say they don’t know a single Muslim.

  • Jerry

    I’m fighting the urge to sneak over with some letters and change it to “Romanes eunt domus”.

    https://youtu.be/XbI-fDzUJXI

  • Curmudge

    One has to wonder why the Amish are never faced with signs that say “Amish Stay Out.” (?) Because they sure look odd and un-assimilated in their funny clothes and their black buggies. I guess it has to do with attitude.

  • Postal Customer

    Saw this on facebook last night, linked to WCCO’s facebook page (I’m not on their page; facebook “suggested it”)

    WCCO called the sign “controversial”

    Anybody still think the media’s not the problem?

    • Seems to be a controversy.

      • Postal Customer

        Right, it’s also an electric sign. Does that matter?

        The sign is racist and Islamophobic. WCCO didn’t use those adjectives.

        • Fred, Just Fred

          “Muslim” is not a race.

          A fear of radical Islamic’s is not unfounded or irrational, it is impossible to tell a radical Muslim from a moderate, therefore “Islamophobic” does not fit the definition of a phobia. It’s another leftist word doodle.

          • seedhub

            Here’s hint to help you out: the radical ones are the ones doing radical things. It’s no different from telling the difference between a radical Christian, say, and a moderate Christian.

  • X@mailinator.com

    Nope. This company is being slandered by liberals. Free speech does not end, just because someone else is offended. For the record, the owner stated record business levels. I tried to log in and buy a shirt or something to show support, but their website was down. If I lived near this shop, I certainly would become a loyal customer to show appreciation for their unashamed use of free speech to promote a vital cause. We all deserve to be safe in our own country. As Geller says; “Truth is the new hate speech.”

    • Rob

      //Truth is the new hate speech. That’s rich. Are you sure it wasn’t Uri Geller who said it?

  • Fred, Just Fred

    Your claim was that you weren’t aware of any Christian terrorists.

    I never said that. Please provide a screenshot, or retract your false statement.

    There are terrorists that have claimed to be Christian, yes. But they have no more warrant for their claim than I do to be a canary. Their acts cannot be warranted by claiming they followed the dogma of any recognized Christian denomination.

    I’ve provided plenty of source material for you to understand how, and by whom a denomination is recognized, so spare me the closing of your circle.

    • seedhub

      “Haven’t seen any reports of [radical Christians], but maybe you will enlighten us.”

      You’ve been enlightened.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        You’re splitting hairs, but I’ll concede the point to win the larger debate.

        • seedhub

          Two questions: first, how is quoting you saying something you claimed you never said “splitting hairs”? Second, how does conceding that point “win” the debate?

          • It “wins” the debate in his head…

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Looks like I have gum stuck to my shoe.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            1. I was speaking, and still am speaking of Christians who claimed a connection to a recognized Christian denomination.

            2. There are terrorists that have claimed to be Christian, yes. But they
            have no more warrant for their claim than I do to be a canary. Their
            acts cannot be warranted by claiming they followed the dogma of any
            recognized Christian denomination.

            I’ve provided plenty of source material for you to understand how, and by whom a denomination is recognized.

          • seedhub

            The status of “Christian” is not bestowed by any organization or denomination. It is self-described, always.

            If you now want to claim that no major Christian denomination willingly claims terrorists among its members, then yes, you’re correct. But that’s a very different claim than the one you made initially.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            The status of “Christian” is warranted by a connection to a recognized denomination.

            Not only has no recognized denomination claimed terrorists among it’s members, willingly or not, none has ever been identified as having been one.

          • seedhub

            No. The status of “Christian” is warranted by believing in Jesus Christ. No certificate required.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            Is the status of “US NAVY SEAL” warranted by believing I’m a special ops badass? Lot of people out there working on that assumption.

          • John Climber

            I wonder if this discussion has been missing the point. It’s not the identity of the terrorist that’s significant here; it’s whether the identity explains the motivation behind the terrorism. For all we know some terrorist might also be a Vikings or a Packers fan, and this would be an important element of his identity (as they are for many people), but it doesn’t really explain why he might want to kill others. Calling someone a Christian or Islamic terrorist is only accurate insofar as he explicitly justifies his terrorism based on his religious beliefs.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            I see what you’re saying, but it’s not quite the same. A legitimate Packers or Vikings terrorist would have to be able to A) show a connection to the Packers or Vikings and B) show where the Packers or Vikings are encouraging his terrorism in some way, through training or indoctrination.

            There are mullahs out there that are teaching kids that it is their duty as Muslims to kill non-believers. My whole point is that there is no recognized Christian denomination, anywhere, that is doing that.

          • seedhub

            False equivalence. The definition of Christian is “a follower of Jesus Christ.” The definition of Navy Seal is not “someone who believes they are a Navy Seal.”

            But I’m almost 100% sure you knew that already.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            First you claimed a Christian must believe in Jesus, and now you must follow Jesus to be a Christian. OK, we’re making progress; follow Jesus in what way?

          • seedhub

            In whatever way they see fit.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            So Christianity is a run what ya brung deal?

            OK. What if I followed the Naval Special Warfare Development Group’s mission statement, does that get me SEAL status? Or is Christianity special; a loose term that means everything or has no meaning at all?

          • seedhub

            You already know the answer to your first question, and I’ve already answered your second.

          • Fred, Just Fred

            No, you added a qualifier for your acknowledgement of Christian status, and I’m following it up for needed detail. You claimed you could follow Jesus anyway you want, and I’m asking you if that doesn’t say the word “Christian” has no specific meaning at all to you.

            Bruce Lee described his system of martial arts as using no way, as way. Can I follow Jesus by ignoring his path?

            Or better yet, Muslims believe in Jesus, and acknowledge his virgin birth. Are Muslims Christians following Jesus in their own way?