Is lying about the Medal of Honor “free speech”?

An organization dedicated to honoring the nation’s prisoners of war and missing in action service members is outraged that a federal law against lying about military medals is facing First Amendment challenges.

A California judge rejected the motion to dismiss a charge against Xavier Alvarez of falsely claiming he received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration.

Chuck Schantag, chairman of the P.O.W. Network, says

“As a veteran of Vietnam who did get wounded in ’68, I have a problem with this,” he argues. “They want to steal our honor, but they don’t want any of the pain it took to get it. And to actually challenge this law as free speech is absolutely ludicrous, unbelievable.”

Many of those making the false claims have used fraudulent records to gain V.A. benefits. “We’ve seen cases where phonies have collected better than a half-million dollars of our tax dollars in benefits,” Schantag notes.

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