The 1968 Federal Flag Desecration Law criminalized the act of flag burning when it was passed by congress. The legislation was a result from anti-war demonstraters who burned our flag in protest of the Vietnam War.
The act is extremely appalling, it is protected, by our first amendment rights and the freedom of speech.
Expression in art forms is also protected by our constitution. Music, or a scene from a play would fall under this protection.
In Saddleback College’s musical, “Reefer Madness,” which closed over the weekend, a scene was removed because it involved the burning of the U.S. Flag in a desecrating manner. Although this was only a projection of the flag being burned, it was still deemed inappropriate by school officials and was ordered to be removed from the final production.
The administration of the school didn’t have a premise to really demand this censorship. The flag wasn’t ever really burned, it was just an illusion created by projection.
Even if the flag had been burned it is protected by the burners freedom of speech.
In this case the freedom was not about the flag-burners beliefs, rather the expression in art forms. The college’s production was an expressive art.
While the musical is based on smoking marijuana, the last thing an administrator needs to do is worry about the projection of an American Flag being burned. It is a play, and plays are often filled with adultery, crime, or really anything that could be found offensive to anyone.
In this county, we are all too accustomed to the horrible act of censorship. With the unfortunate FCC, censored material is something we as Americans experience too much. Compared to other prominent nations, such as Germany and England, censorship is much more rampant in the U.S.
We rarely hear unnecessary bleeps, or see unnecessary blurs in foreign countries, that is, if we do at all.
If the reason we use censorship is to protect our society, morals and values, it would make more sense to stop it at its root, rather than smother expressive art forms that are doing their part to motivate and stimulate the public.
The musical was a satire focusing on education and awareness, and the burning the flag would have only fueled the message “Reefer” promoted about governments telling people what to think and how to act.