Freedom of Speech
Terrorism in Any Form Drags Us All Down

  Galatians 3:28   28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

I'm supposed to be working on a sermon.   Sigh.

We have a situation brewing up here in the Pacific Northwest that has me concerned.   As it develops it may eventually mean that I may no longer be allowed to preach from all parts of the Bible, and so I have to put my oar in the water (to coin an ancient metaphor).

You see, there is a young cartoonist for a local newspaper that has gotten herself into trouble.   She posted a gag line that went to the effect, Everyone Draw Mohammed Day, along with a gag poster featuring some inocuous items on it, and then named a date.   She now has death threats against her from an Imam in Yemen, and the FBI has warned her to move and change her name.

This is a person who makes a living by penning original works of art.   And as such, they will be recognizable no matter where she moves.   If she moves, changes her name, and takes up her trade again it will only be a matter of time before someone recognizes her.

What does all this have to do with me being able to preach the gospel message?   Just this, there has been a great tendency to "blame the victim".   As the reasoning goes, she ought to have known better than to do something so inflammatory, so dangerous.   She deserves what she gets.   Eventually some bright guy will sponsor a hate-speech bill that will wend its way through Congress, they will name it after her (using her old name, of course).   And it will assuredly be signed by the current administration.   It's regrettable but we have to protect ourselves from this kind of speech, so we will be told.

And this would mark the beginning of the end of our most cherished freedom.   Certain kinds of speech would be proscribed by whatever the current power labeled as "hate".   Do you oppose the president? (a long and cherished tradition)   Then you are obviously a racist and your speech is prohibited.   Do you oppose the gay-lesbian agenda on religious/moral grounds?   Step inline to get your lips glued shut.   Whatever is labeled as "hate" would then be put on the proscribed list.

George Orwell's prediction in "Animal Farm" has a fair ring of truth to it in this light.   Let me paraphrase;
    All animals are created equal, some are more equal than others
This is not alarmist conspiracy bunk, it's just what is.   Let's look at it this way, how many Christians have lost their job because they dared to offer to pray for someone?   Or, they supported Intelligent Design?   Or, they wore a cross on a necklace?   This happens in America today, what about in the future?   In a more serious vein, how many Christians have been killed this year because they happened to live in a Muslim country?   See my point?   But I digress, let's get back to America.

Freedom of speech is what makes us who we are as a country.   We are not defined by our race, or ethnicity, by our economic status or our family, even by what we believe (and I believe completely in Jesus Christ).   As Americans, as citizens of the United States, we are defined by what we are able to freely say whenever we want.   There has never been a restriction on that for as long as we have been a country.

If I were to classify "hate speech" I would label it as anything that is designed to restrict the free speech of another individual or group.   Anything.

Let me finish my diatribe with this; fanatics are just that, fanatics.   They come in all shapes and sizes, the point is that it matters not what label they place upon themselves.   What matters is that they are willing to force others to succumb to their agenda.   This may come in the form of intimidation, retaliation, or even violence.   Complete freedom of speech buffers and protects us from this kind of bullying.

If our freedom of speech erodes, so too will our freedom of religion.   And we are called, as Christians, to proclaim His message to a lost and lonely world.   Our loss of freedom of speech may eventually put us in the category of an illicit or illegal activity.   What will you decide to do if/when that time comes?