The recent, yet unfortunate, current events overseas has allowed the topic of freedom to become the forefront of conversation and publicity. It also fits into the topic on which I am writing today…Freedom of Speech.
In my last blog, I mentioned that I would go through the Constitution of the United States and one of my first writings was supposed to be on this topic of our 1st Amendment Right, the right to free speech.
At the same time, I would also like to be sensitive to whomever is reading this so before I begin, I would like to make this my preface. First, I do not agree with the producer and maker of a film that ridicules others religion, race or creed. Second, I also do not agree with the current response the people of various countries have been showing because they were offended. Third, I hope that anyone who reads this will understand (but not necessarily accept) how our system works in the United States.
Our forefathers created several documents that make a baseline for how our country is supposed to be run. The first document that comes to mind was the Declaration of Independence. The second is the Constitution of the United States of America. The prior details what our forefathers felt were rights for every human being. The later shows how we can run our government and separates the rights of the people in view of the structure of government.
The 1st Amendment of our Constitution says the following:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
If you take this at face value you would see a number of items concerning how religion is to be viewed. First, our lawmakers are NOT allowed to make any laws regarding religion, how it is expressed, discussed or practiced. Second, lawmakers are not allowed to stop marches or protests as long as they are peaceable.
So what does this mean for us today, especially as Christians who live in the United States? We may think that it is our right to speak on anything and everything we desire and this amendment may be interpreted that way, but we must remember the circumstances of that day. Our forefathers came from a society and time, when England felt that if anyone spoke against the King or his kingdom, they immediately were to be killed. Our forefathers wanted a country that allowed the people of that country to speak what they believed, regarding religion, and didn’t have to suffer governmental consequences. So how should we apply this for today?
First, our government is not allowed to tell those who have religious beliefs that they cannot express them, even if it offends others. Can the Christian speak about Christ? Yes. Can the Islamic speak about Allah? Yes. Can the Hindu speak about their various gods? Yes. Can the Atheist speak about they don’t believe in any higher being? Yes. Regardless of who you are or what you believe, the United States is supposed to be a place where you can talk, debate and argue religious beliefs without worrying about the repercussions of the involvement of government officials.
Second, the government cannot stop anyone who wants to pray in public, read their Scriptures in public or share their faith in public, even if it offends others. In an age where political correctness is spoken about, our country should not concern themselves in pleasing everyone. A brick to our foundation is the concept of this freedom of speech. We should not apologize about our rights, nor should the government make any comments regarding what individuals say regarding religion, no matter how they feel personally.
When our government makes statements regarding the stance of the United States in areas of protest from other countries, our leaders should never apologize for one person’s incompetencies, ideologies or view of a religious nature. This would include blasphemy against all religions and beliefs. The person or people who made this controversial video should now realize the consequences of their actions and do their best to make things right, but our leaders should never apologize for one person’s actions.
I am very saddened to hear about those who have been losing their lives across the world because of one groups stupidity. My heart and prayers goes out to those families who have lost their loved ones, who represented our country in their jobs, representing the United States of America.
The next portion is addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I heard your speech and am proud to hear how you stated our country’s 1st Amendment right. However, I am very concerned regarding how you view this “small group of people” who have been violently protesting due to the idiotic behavior of a small time film-maker. Mrs. Clinton, if you view the live footage of each of the protests, you will see hundreds and thousands of people marching in the street, setting American businesses on fire, attacking our Embassies and burning our flag. This “small group” is making a statement that should cause a “red flag” to shine brightly in your mind and should be clear to your eyes. Religious war is on the horizon. Today, I have read about violent protests in Sudan and Tel Aviv. This “small group” of people are not small and make up the majority of many mid-East nations. The leaders of Iran have clearly stated that the United States and Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth. The current president of Egypt is trying to show the Muslim Brotherhood that he stands for Islam and not freedom. The Iraqi Prime Minister has asked that those who made the video be segregated so that they won’t spread their hate filled thoughts and ideas. Does this sound like a minority of people to you? Please reconsider what a “small group” of people really means and open the eyes of clarity, as you stated, to see that these people mean harm to U.S. citizens.
With all that said, I feel it necessary to address the Christians as well. As I am an Evangelical Christian, I know that there are people who ridicule what we believe. They try to stop us from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, we must consider the following. Our primary goal is to spread the love of Jesus to others through our testimony of changed lives. We need not stand against sin as we ourselves come from sin and are sinful to this day. However, we need to show the love of Christ by serving others. Does not Revelation show us the warning signs of speaking and not acting? Does not Revelation show that others questioned God by asking for God to prove that they didn’t serve Him? What was God’s reaction? Because they did not feed the poor, cloth the homeless or take care of those in need, they could not be a servant of the King.
Did not the disciples continue to share the Gospel even after being beaten and warned? Did not the disciples rejoice in their suffering? Did not Jesus say that when people rejected Him, they will certainly reject us as well? Were we not warned about suffering trials and tribulations because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Our goal is clear and our sight is focused. We are to spread the message of life with Jesus Christ to others. We are not to concern ourselves with the affairs of this world, but the affairs of the Kingdom of God. I have personally struggled to find a medium between the rights of my citizenship to the United States as well as my responsibility as a citizen of God’s Kingdom. However, I also find myself realizing the truth needs to be said.
As I am a citizen of these United States of America, I will continue to use my freedom of speech to spread peace-filled messages of hope in Jesus Christ. I will also continue to stand up for my rights as stated in our Constitution. However, when my government decide to try and limit my rights toward spreading the Gospel, I will disobey my government. My heart, soul and mind belong to God and His message of hope and salvation.
Lastly, I must also try to agree both points in this blog. I do not agree that Freedom of Speech means hate filled words or threatening words. In fact, I believe it is the opposite. Our Freedom of Speech needs to come out of our faith in God to develop a world of peace, even though they hate Jesus. Our Freedom of Speech needs to be filled with love and compassion for those who deny the power of God and the message of Jesus Christ. Our Freedom of Speech must never dictate the sharing of the Gospel but is a temporary availability given to us by our government so that we can speak, debate and argue our religious beliefs.
Don’t react to what I say negatively. Just ask yourself this question…Who in the world is spreading a message of peace? Who in this world is showing the world that it is okay to disagree with your neighbor and not worry about the government getting involved? Where do you see the love of God in changed lives? It is only because of Jesus Christ that we can truly say, “I love you” to our enemies.
“Pray for those who persecute you.” – Jesus Christ.
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – Jesus Christ.
God Bless and encourage someone today.