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VOA慢速英语:焚烧美国国旗合法吗?

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qinnan

2018年08月07日

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Is Burning the American Flag Legal?

焚烧美国国旗合法吗?

The United States constitution guarantees a number of rights to U.S. citizens. One of the most famous is the right to free speech.

美国宪法保障美国公民的许多权利,其中最著名的就是言论自由。

But what if people say or do horrible things?

但是如果人们说或是做了可怕的事情怎么办?

The Supreme Court struggled with this idea in 1989. The case related to a man named Gregory Lee Johnson. A few years earlier, he strongly objected to the policies of then-President Ronald Reagan. So, at a political meeting in Texas, Johnson burned the American flag.

美国最高法院在1989年对此看法进行过辩论。这起案件涉及了一位名为格雷戈里·李·约翰逊(Gregory Lee Johnson)的男子。在那之前几年,他强烈反对时任总统里根的政策。因此,在德克萨斯州的一次政治会议上,约翰逊焚烧了美国国旗。

Police arrested him.

警察逮捕了他。

Johnson appealed, saying that burning the flag was his way of expressing his political beliefs – exactly the kind of speech the writers of the U.S. Constitution aimed to protect.

约翰逊提出了上诉,称焚烧国旗是他表达政治信仰的方式,这正是美国宪法起草者致力于保护的那种言论。

Opponents disagreed. They pointed out that the American flag was special, and they did not think burning it was "speech." They warned that such an act could move people to violence.

反对者不认同。他们指出美国国旗很特殊,而且他们还认为焚烧不是发表言论。他们警告说,这样的行为可能会让人们陷入暴力。

But a majority of the Court's justices agreed with Johnson. They said even if the public strongly dislikes an idea, people still have a right to express it.

但是法院的大多数法官同意约翰逊的观点。他们表示,即使公众不喜欢某种看法,但人们仍然有权把它表达出来。

One final note: Supreme Court cases have not protected all speech. Other cases have limited people's right to communicate ideas that are knowingly false, morally offensive, stolen or threatening. But for now – unless the public approves Constitutional amendment – burning the American flag is legal.

最后要指出:最高法院判例并未保护所有言论。其它判例限制了人们故意传播虚假、道德冒犯、窃取或恐吓的言论。但就目前而言,除非公众批准(新的)宪法修正案,否则燃烧国旗就是合法的。

The United States constitution guarantees a number of rights to U.S. citizens. One of the most famous is the right to free speech.

But what if people say or do horrible things?

The Supreme Court struggled with this idea in 1989. The case related to a man named Gregory Lee Johnson. A few years earlier, he strongly objected to the policies of then-President Ronald Reagan. So, at a political meeting in Texas, Johnson burned the American flag.

Police arrested him.

Johnson appealed, saying that burning the flag was his way of expressing his political beliefs – exactly the kind of speech the writers of the U.S. Constitution aimed to protect.

Opponents disagreed. They pointed out that the American flag was special, and they did not think burning it was “speech.” They warned that such an act could move people to violence.

But a majority of the Court's justices agreed with Johnson. They said even if the public strongly dislikes an idea, people still have a right to express it.

One final note: Supreme Court cases have not protected all speech. Other cases have limited people’s right to communicate ideas that are knowingly false, morally offensive, stolen or threatening. But for now – unless the public approves Constitutional amendment – burning the American flag is legal.

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Words in This Story

appeal - v. to make a formal request for a higher court or for someone in authority to review and change a decision

obscene - adj. relating to sex in an indecent or offensive way

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