Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech is among the five freedoms explicitly protected in the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. At its root, it’s included in the five freedoms to encourage creativity and the free exchange of ideas. If an idea came to mind you could freely express it. This concept was antithetical to the restrictive codes in other countries (and still is in many countries today) where speech was closely monitored and had to fit within the framework of what the government or the national religion felt was acceptable.

Originally, the only restrictions on Freedom of Speech were libel, speech that would create an unsafe environment (like shouting “fire” in a packed meeting hall), or inciting to riot or sedition. These limitations served us well for two centuries. They made it so that any punishment for speech was based on actions.

Today, that’s been turned on its head. Instead of there needing to be actual (or potential) harm to another person or to public safety in order for someone to be prosecuted for something said, simply being motivated to say something for an unacceptable reason places one in legal jeopardy.

The advent of the concept of “hate speech” now brings one’s thoughts into the equation. According to this line of reasoning, if your bad thoughts cause you to say something that offends someone else or to do something that may or may not be, of itself, illegal, then your thoughts put you at risk of having a special penalty applied simply for having had the thought.

The idea of punishing someone for having hateful thoughts, especially about people who could be considered disadvantaged, may seem attractive. But think it through to its conclusion. Once the precedent has been set (and it has) then you have a society where those in power can make rules to penalize people for any thought the powerful think is appropriate.

We see this playing out today. Where those in the position to make laws are favorably inclined toward the new sexual culture being experienced in America, laws are being made to coerce those who disagree with it into silence.

If we don’t do something about this now, how long can it be before something you feel God leading you to say will be a crime?