Volume 9, Issue 5 - October 2014Print | Email

Hobby Lobby, Campaign Spending, and Figuring Out When Silence is Golden: The Supreme Court’s 2013–2014 Term and the First Amendment

Vol 9 Issue 5 Feature 3Establishment Clause of the First Amendment 

It turns out that 1) a corporation is a person, and 2) a corporation has religious beliefs. Who knew? Seriously, this was a great year for corporate practice of religion and legislative prayer. Let’s start with the case addressing corporate religious freedom.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2751 (2014)

Norman and Elizabeth Hahn and their three children own Conestoga Wood Specialties, and David and Barbara Green and their three children own Hobby Lobby Stores. Arguing that it violated their religious beliefs, the Hahns and the Greens objected to paying for certain types of contraceptives such as Plan B and intrauterine devices (IUDs) as part of their employees’ health coverage as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They filed suit against Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to challenge the contraceptive mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Free Exercise of Religion Clause of the First Amendment. Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the 5-4 majority in holding that closely held corporations are in fact “persons” under RFRA and can thus exercise religion under the act. Alito defined closely held corporations as those that are family-owned and not publicly traded.

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Cross Current

Instructor's Corner #1: Freedom of Expression Online!

Vol 9 Issue 5 Cross 1-3National Freedom of Speech Week offers many opportunities for instruction in the history and importance of freedom of expression. Please check out these links to websites offering general information, as well as suggestions for instructional activities for all grade levels.
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Instructor's Corner #2: Creating Parody to Understand Advertising

Vol 9 Issue 5 Cross section 2College students are faced with advertisements on a near-constant basis, from billboards to television advertisements to ads on phone apps. Teaching students to critique these persuasive communication appeals is an important step in building good critical thinking skills and responsible consumer behavior. Given their and our love for creativity and humor, we have found parody to be a fun and useful way to encourage students to critique advertising messages.
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Instructor's Corner #3: #whoreallycaresabouthashtags: Using Twitter’s Hashtag to Foster an Interactive Environment

Vol 9 Issue 5 Cross Section 3-1The interactive nature of hashtags offers students and teachers an exciting way to interact with one another in the classroom. The world outside the classroom already has discovered the interactive powers of the hashtag. For example, the hashtag symbol seems to be popping up everywhere, from Super Bowl ads to grandmas to churches. Even Jimmy Fallon is using hashtags on his show to communicate information about #Dadvice, #AwkwardBreakup, and #MyWeirdFamily, among many other topics. Hashtags, believe it or not, have their own set of hand motions, which have been eloquently demonstrated by Justin Timberlake and Jonah Hill.
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I REMEMBER... NCA Centennial Video

The 2014 Annual Convention of the National Communication Association (NCA) will mark the association’s Centennial, its 100-year anniversary.  While this is a momentous occasion, members of NCA gather, create, and take away memories of events, individuals, and presentations every year.  At the 2013 Annual Convention students from Wrought Iron Productions (WIP) and Wake Forest University captured individual’s memories of their experiences at NCA conventions.  This 32-minute video documents the value of NCA to its members and the field of communication.
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COMM 365: Celebrating 100 Years of Communication Research through 2014

NCA Centennial Logo-2In honor of its upcoming Centennial, the National Communication Association is sponsoring COMM 365, a project celebrating 100 years of communication research. Five times per week, brief summaries of communication concepts, theories, and research findings are being posted on NCA’s website. Click here to see the most recent postings, which could be of interest to communication practitioners, teachers, and many others. The leader of the project is Zac Gershberg, Ph.D., who now makes his intellectual home at Idaho State University in Pocatello, ID, USA.  
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Celebrate 100 Years of the NCA!

100 Years Celebrate-3The National Communication Association (NCA) invites Communication departments and programs across the country to honor the NCA Centennial with activities geared toward celebrating the association and discipline. Join the celebration! Here is how you can get involved.

1)      Plan and implement a departmental celebration. Use NCA’s 100th anniversary to celebrate your own program and people. Perhaps you could design a way to celebrate your own pioneers. You could research your history and disseminate your legacy. You also might organize some of the digital memories associated with your program and share them with NCA. At your celebration, consider asking people to share what the study of Communication at your institution means to them.

2)      Document the centennial celebration on your website. When you implement your celebration, document it on your website to share with others, including your current students, administration, and alumni. In your documented celebration images, you might include video clips and text that afford members of the association insight into your program, people, and what 100 years of NCA and the discipline mean to your department.

3)      Share your celebration with NCA. Prior to NCA’s Annual Convention in November, highlight your centennial celebration by sending your URL website link to the NCA National Office (wfernando@natcom.org)). Throughout the centennial year, NCA’s website will feature select celebrations from across the nation.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to highlight your program and people and join in this national celebration of 100 years of NCA! For more information about this centennial celebration activity, contact Jeffrey T. Child at Kent State University (jchild@kent.edu).

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Unmasking the Anonymous Commercial Speaker

Vol 9 Issue 5 Translate 1Mergers and acquisitions often generate substantial stock premiums. As a result, investors pay great attention to news related to these corporate maneuvers. Any disclosure of information—particularly inside information—can provide certain parties an informational advantage and potential financial gains.
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The Law as Tower of Babel: English-Only Legislation

Vol 9 Issue 5 Section Translate 2-2One way the law creates and shapes our reality is by defining the relationships in which we engage. And one way the law creates and shapes our relationships is by regulating the very language we use as we communicate with each other. In this essay, I analyze the Arizona State Supreme Court opinion Ruiz v. Hull, in which an “English as the Official Language” amendment was found unconstitutional. 
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Unhappy with Your Food? Communicate!

Vol 9 Issue 5 Section Translate 3When you mix a large helping of communication with a full portion of food issues, you get food advocacy. One of the most understood (and, at the same time, least understood) forms of food advocacy is petition. While Americans are familiar with the concept of petition, and sign petitions almost every year, most Americans typically identify The First Amendment with freedom of speech, the Expression Clause. However, more attention to the Petition Clause is warranted, because petition links directly to action and to social change.
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Putting a Muzzle on the Public

Vol 9 Issue 5 Translate section 4 -2The recent development within corporate agribusiness to stultify public discussion and debate concerning the contentiousness of conventional practices for industrial meat processing is troublesome. Freedom of speech and First Amendment issues happen in everyday life, not just at the Supreme Court level. Matters that engage the principles, practices, and tensions of free speech happening at different places in our society need to be documented and analyzed.
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Quality Matters in End-of-Life Communication

Vol 9 Issue 5 Translate 5The problem of how to make decisions near the end of a person’s life has attracted much attention in recent years. Interventions have proliferated, new organizations dedicated to addressing the problem have been created, and public service campaigns have been launched both within the medical field and by members of the press, artists, and legal professionals. Research on end-of-life decision making has reached consensus about the importance of communication about end-of-life issues as a way to improve the quality of end-of-life care, reduce suffering, and lower healthcare costs.
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Talking About Hurtful Communication in the Family

Vol 9 Issue 5 Translate Section 6For parents and teenagers alike, the adolescent years might be one of the most difficult and challenging phases in family life. Frequent minor squabbles and occasional deeper conflicts can bubble up during this time of transition. Our study examined how parents and teenagers make sense of and communicate about hurtful messages in their relationship.  
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Home Page | Hobby Lobby, Campaign Spending, and Figuring Out When Silence is Golden: The Supreme Court’s 2013–2014 Term and the First Amendment | Instructor's Corner #1: Freedom of Expression Online! | Instructor's Corner #2: Creating Parody to Understand Advertising | Instructor's Corner #3: #whoreallycaresabouthashtags: Using Twitter’s Hashtag to Foster an Interactive Environment | I REMEMBER... NCA Centennial Video | COMM 365: Celebrating 100 Years of Communication Research through 2014 | Celebrate 100 Years of the NCA! | Unmasking the Anonymous Commercial Speaker | The Law as Tower of Babel: English-Only Legislation | Unhappy with Your Food? Communicate! | Putting a Muzzle on the Public | Quality Matters in End-of-Life Communication | Talking About Hurtful Communication in the Family 
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