Some Comments about Free Speech

This article on free speech was originally inspired by a sermon by a good friend and is available at http://www.chapelbts.org.  It is interesting that the Federal Communication will be holding hearings on whether to curb free speech.

Maynard Pittendreigh ..., but by and large it was well received. I still stand by my statement that the wounds from sticks and stones "usually" heal, but I acknowledge they don't always.

Free speech is one thing, but this call to violence and the overthrow of the American government, this call to "wipe people out" and to throw bricks, this threatening to kill good people of both political parties has got to stop.

Felix E. Bearden
Free speech is the thing! As long as we have it, people may point out injustices and, in a republic, restrain our government by influencing the vote. Once we yield to the notion that people should not say certain things, as repulsive as it might be, we are ultimately yielding to mind control, where those in power can ultimately tell the dissenters to "shut up" because the dissenters words do not conform the rules set up by those in power.

No, I don't approve of some of what is said by either of the party leaders or out-liers. Unfortunately, discrediting the opposition works. Telling untruths and calling it campaign rhetoric is the accepted practice of our political parties. The only defense we have is learning the truth, telling it to others, and voting for candidates who have character rather than those who promise us something, in many cases what they take from others in the process.

And our defense to ill and hurtful words spoken to us is to examine them. If there is truth to them, we have learned something about ourselves. If not, then those words should be shed like water on an oiled raincoat. And we have learned something about the person who spoke them. Granted, it is the responsibility of the parents to teach, or have this taught to their children along with their moral code and spiritual values.

Even religious institutions are accountable for what they teach. Several teach lessons of hate about races and other religions. Many, admittedly with altruistic motives, have avoided some of the more difficult teachings of their religion, like freedom, the God given rights, and equality of all of His children, the importance of ownership, and the role of profit in society.

As a result of the above discussion, I reread his sermon. And I got ta thinkin', and my girls will tell you that is a terrible thing to see.

If you have read the article "Sermon Topics I Haven’t Seen and Other Stories about my Mother" you will know that my perspective is a little different from what is generally taught in the protestant churches.  Well, here is another.

The position that Maynard takes in his sermon is the traditional one.  His emphasis is on the crowd and their love to hate transition evidenced at the trial of Jesus. It is, and should be despicable to any thinking person that crucifying an innocent man in preference to one who is guilty is acceptable in a civilized society.  And yet it goes on, and on, and on.

The scripture he quotes regarding words and their meaning,
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:4-11) and Matthew 15, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions....” are spot on!!! but let us take another look. 

These scriptures are directed to the individual.  It is a reflection of our individual character if we allow such things to proceed from our mouth. But what if they are restricted by the power of government. 

Our founders wrote "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." for a reason.  And that reason is that our government was to be reactionary.  One could not be punished for what religion they practiced, what they said, or what they wrote unless they infringed on the rights of another.

A person may say what he wishes. Even call someone the "n-word", or some of the many epithets I have been called at one time or another, yell "Kill the Umpire", or yes, even yell "Crucify Him" at a trial.

Are they guilty? Yes, of having an impure heart, of acting in a manner not acceptable in most civilized communities, of sinning against the principles of Christianity.

But, from the constitution given us by our founders, are the crowds guilty of crucifying Christ?

NO! It was one person, one who even recognized the innocence of Jesus.  It was Pilot and no other.  Only God can determine what is in the heart and mind of a man. And the state of forgiveness enjoyed by that man.