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The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Flag burning is patriotic

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,962 times Debate No: 13966
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)




Desecration of the American flag by burning is a particularly provocative insult: in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech, flag-burning is meant to test that freedom to its limits. There is currently nothing in the Constitution's definition of freedom of expression that expressly declares flag-burning illegal.

But many consider this a clear distortion of what the founding fathers fought for in the first place. So how should patriotic Americans react to an act that is intended to provoke some sort of reaction? Should an amendment be added to the constitution forbidding desecration of our national symbol? Or should they turn the other cheek, since such an amendment be a gratuitous desecration of the constitution itself?

At the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, protestor Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag in front of Dallas City Hall. Johnson was charged and convicted with desecration of a venerated object. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction in 1988 and the Supreme Court took up the issue the following year. In Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court upheld the decision that burning the flag was a form of free speech.

In 1990, Congress passed the "Flag Protection Act" which imposed a federal ban on flag desecration. Senators opposing bans on flag-burning included Vietnam Veteran Bob Kerry, whose record as a war hero has brought other Democrats around. This Act was later struck down by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Eichman. Congress has made four attempts since 1995 to circumvent the Supreme Court's rulings by trying to enact a constitutional amendment banning desecration of the flag. None have passed.

But although the constitutional amendment has not passed, the debate rages on the campaign trail. In Connecticut on June 14, Waterbury mayor Philip Giordano used to the flag-burning issue to launch his opening broadside against Democratic Senator Joesph Lieberman.

Lieberman has voted consistently against the flag-burning amendment, claiming that flag desecration is protected under the First Amendment. Giordano, who is mounting the most serious challenge to Lieberman in years, has claimed that by supporting the amendment, he will "zealously pursue protection of the flag." And while that may not be the determining issue, Giordano feels that it articulates the difference between his own patriotism and Lieberman's.

On One Hand...

Bans on flag-burning are clear violations of the free exercise of speech, a fundamental right in our democracy. Using the Constitution to promote patriotic sentiments would be a cynical abuse of legislative power.

Those who support amending the Constitution to protect flags would establish a dangerous precedent that would erode our liberties. They are merely trying to score political points by appearing as the standard bearers of patriotism. Those who burn the flag are merely trying to provoke a reaction. Allowing them to proceed with this particularly abhorrent protest would prove that despite all they say, the us is a free country


Okay. Let's start since I only have 15 minutes to post an argument:

1. Paragraph 1 Refutes

Flag burning is illegal, so, you are breaking the law. Your freedom of expression about flag burning is now useless, because it is illegal.

2. Paragraph 2 Refutes

The Constitution was written after the Revolutionary War, so, the founding fathers are not to blame. Elaborate, please.

3. Paragraph 3 Refutes

Read number 1.

Wow. Times ticking.

4. Paragraph 4 Refutes

Thank you for agree to my point. We should protect the flag instead of burning it.


1. We should protect the flag because of the "Flag Protection Act."
2. None of the attempts passed.
3. Therefore, we should protect the flag.
4. Think of this: If you burned a flag, wouldn't you be ashamed?
Oh my gosh, 7 minutes left.


I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1


death227 forfeited this round.


Okay. Let's begin since time is ticking:

1. Forfeit

My opponent forfeits the round.

2. Arguments

Extend my arguments.

3. Extras

Flag burning is illegal. As stated in Round 1, he admits that flag burning is an insult. My opponent agrees with many of my points. Thank you. Hmm.... Not much left. I hope that Pro will post Round 3.

4. Sources

I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 2


death227 forfeited this round.


I urge a vote for Con. I need to get some sleep, and since there is only fifteen minutes to post an argument, I have to forfeit Round 4. Sorry for the inconvenience. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3


death227 forfeited this round.


ethopia619 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: FF