Bangs For Bongs
The Volokh Conspiracy looks at the "Bongs 4 Jesus" decision holding "that schools can punish student speech reasonably believed to promote illegal drug use". The majority opinion ruled that:
The common-sense understanding of the phrase 'bong hits' is that it is a reference to a means of smoking marijuana. Given [Frederick's] inability or unwillingness to express any other credible meaning for the phrase, I can only agree with the principal and countless others who saw the banner as advocating the use of illegal drugs.
However, Chris Weigant thinks the Supremes got it wrong, because in ruling that the banner contained a pro-drug message without being political speech, which would then be protected, they were only kidding themselves.
So there you have it, kids. If you want to (a) get on national television with a stunt, (b) have a message guaranteed to annoy people, and most importantly, (c) really enrage your school's principal -- then you've got to word the message carefully. So remember, don't say "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS," say instead: LEGALIZE BONG HiTS 4 JESUS.
I'm so glad that the legal system does a good job protecting free speech and allowing debates which allow even the criticism of religion. I wonder what would have happened if the student banner had read "Bong hits for 4 Mohammed"? Then the two finger rule might have applied. Michael Yon reported on the fate of cigarette smokers in Baqubah. "On the evening of the 24th I spoke with a local Iraqi official, Colonel Faik, who said the Muftis would order the severance of the two fingers used to hold a cigarette for any Iraqis caught smoking." Now this has nothing to do with the "Bongs 4 Jesus" decision, but it does illustrate how concerned Western society is with preserving the refinements of its freedom on the one hand, while giving away its substance with both hands on the other.