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Freedom of Speech

As far back as high school, I often lamented that some folks read the First Amendment to say “Freedom of speech until you offend me, then I’ll sue your sorry butt.”

I wasn’t concerned with a Christian audience that might abhor profanity, so when I said it back in high school and college, I didn’t use the term “butt.”

The point still stands, and I see it more clearly than I ever did at 17.  There is a tide of public opinion now that values tolerance and diversity, except for some people.  “Tolerance” isn’t selective by nature, but secularists tolerate views selectively.

Recently, a Christian in the UK was demoted for expressing his opinion that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry.  He did so on his own time, and on his personal Facebook page which is only open to his friends.

Now, legally speaking, regardless of privacy settings, there is no expectation of privacy on Facebook or Twitter.  I know this and I’m not going to argue otherwise.  But the comment on this story from Natalie sums up exactly what is wrong with the secular viewpoint:

No one limits the rights for private worship, promotion of christian beliefs in the private sphere. However, internet, blogs, facebook and twitter are all public domains. As a public servant, a representative of an actively secular institution- secular by the law of the land, no one should not publicly publish promotion of religious opinions and values in the public arena. No one ought to utilise public assets or services to promote religious views. This is a great aspect of freedom in western democracies and ought to be defended down to the smallest detail. The public servants were correct to chastise Christians for promoting their faith using public assets and in public spaces.

So, basically, once you can read it, it shouldn’t be allowed.  Like I’ve always said, “You have freedom of speech until it offends me.”

While I agree that the Internet and everything on it is public, this man is still entitled to his opinion and should be able to express it in a public forum, as Natalie may express hers.  Regardless of agreement.

I will argue with atheists.  I will challenge their points, views, biblical exegesis, and conclusions.  But I will never say that they don’t have the right to express their views in a public forum.  That’s precisely why the forum is public — so that differing opinions may be hashed out, challenged, and thought through.  Public means open to all.

Not being allowed to express religious opinions isn’t “freedom of speech” by any definition I can find.  It’s totalitarian oppression.  I know that my religious opinion has no value in secular mindsets.  But, I ignore opinions of no value.  Secularists don’t return the favor — they try to suppress my opinion.  Why?  That doesn’t make any sense.

Natalie’s promoting the evil she allegedly repudiates, though I doubt she sees it that way.  That’s actually the saddest part to all of this.  Christians have as much right to the Internet as atheists.  We just haven’t been as smart about using it.

For Once, I Agree With Vjack

 

Christine O'Donnell

I normally bash what Vjack has to say, but in this case, I think it’s perfectly justified.

 

Christine O’Donnell, from everything that I’ve read about her, is making Christians in general look bad. She tried to argue that the phrase “separation of church and state” isn’t in the Constitution, so it’s not a valid concept.

The First Amendment says:

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.

What’s clear here is that the Founding Fathers didn’t want any one religion to be the religion in the United States, but I don’t think that they meant to clean all references to God and religion out of the government. They wanted the governing authorities to remain secular and not tied to a specific church or denomination. Different denominations within Christianity often have very different ideas of what constitutes the greater good. To remain free to serve the diverse religious beliefs within the new republic, the government would have to remain clear of heavy church influence.

Since many were religious refugees from the Anglican church, they wanted to respect the rights of other religious refugees to practice their own religion when they emigrated here.

The main problem with O’Donnell’s argument is one of consistency. I’m assuming (dangerous, I know) that she would believe in the Triune God, since she is a Roman Catholic. Well, by opponents of the Trinity, it has been repeatedly asserted that the word “Trinity” is found nowhere in the Bible. That’s one of the main arguments against the Trinity. Yet, the Trinity can be supported with numerous Scripture passages, even if they make no direct reference to “Trinity.”

So it is with separation of church and state. The phrase itself may not appear, but it can be deduced that this is the intent of the Founding Fathers. They didn’t want a single religion or denomination to dominate politics. To support a free exchange of ideas and to arrive at what is really the common good, denominational in-fighting has no place in government.

The Bible tells us to submit to the governing authorities (Rom 13:1; 1 Pet 2:13-17). Nowhere can I see that we are called to be the governing authorities. Rather, Peter tells us:

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Pet 2:15-17)

So, Christians should fine with separation of church and state. All the more reason to witness by our lives that have been changed for the better by Christ, for Christ. Live up to Christian values and morals, leading by example.