In our house, freedom of speech is trumped by a few rules. Maybe there’s a few people around the world that could learn a few things from our simple household etiquette.
When my kids were little we had rules that “shut-up” , “stupid”, “dummy or dumb” were swear words. And really, they are. They’re hurtful and they do nothing for the person saying them except make them sound ignorant and petty. My 15 year old daughter remarked the other day how when she was in grade 5 “stupid” was the worst word she heard or knew and my youngest, now in grade 5 , is subjected to hearing every vile, vulgar, grotesque word coming out of the mouths of her peers. It used to be that in a school you would never hear the sort of language that you hear today. There was respect for authority, respect for each other and restraint on the tongue. All of these have been thrown out in favour of “free speech”.
Just what did our founding fathers have in mind when they wrote that into our Canadian constitution and the American Declaration of Independence? I’m sure it was more about our freedom to be individuals capable of sharing and seeking out ideas and opinions rather than our right to spout off in any public square our vulgarities and hatred. But that is what it has become. There are no longer filters for what is appropriate to say in public and what is not. And even further still, there are people dying to defend the rights of others to have that freedom who themselves are being targeted by the oppositions to free speech. It’s chaos. It’s getting worse. And it will get worse.
This week, the only Christian government minister in Pakistan was shot dead for trying to salvage the rights of Christians, Hindus and other minority religions in that country. All he wanted was for them to be able to talk about their faith, or even be left alone , in a country that is predominantly Muslim. The Muslim government has imposed a blasphemy law where anyone caught speaking out against the Muslim faith in even the simplest terms(seems to be up to their judgement what “speaking out” is) will be beheaded. This is 2011 and we still have this sort of oppression!!
Our Canadian and US military are fighting for the freedom of Muslims and others to have the freedom to seek out education, religion and economic progress for themselves. But the men and women who die fighting for that cause are subjected to, in death, the “freedom of speech” of groups like Westboro Baptist Church. Now, I’d like to just state that it is their “right” as a “church” to name themselves whatever they want, but they are not evangelical born-again believers. They do not represent Baptists or any other denomination. They are hate-filled, fear-mongers and they have the freedom to be as such. They picket the funerals of fallen soldiers with their signs saying the soldier deserved it. They chant, yell and sing how God hates America and God hates soldiers. It is sickening. God hates no one. And yet, because of the sacrifice of those soldiers they have the “right” to do it.
So how did we get here? Where has the sense of decency and respect gone? How do we teach our children what freedom of speech is without them taking it to a whole new level of “anything goes”?
I would just like to invite the members of that “church” and some of the Pakistani parliament members over for supper. Yep, I really want them to come here, sit at my table and I will show them how freedom of speech works in my house:
You take the Lord’s name in vain, you yell at your brother or sister, you curse someone, you judge another unfairly, you prevent someone from speaking their mind in a respectful, thoughtful manner or you disrupt someone’s prayer time or grieving time……………expect your mouth to be washed out with soap, write a letter of apology, say you’re sorry, hug them and say you love them. And you will do it, or you will be grounded.
Sound too simplistic? Yep, it probably is. Will it work? Probably not. Why? Because the hatred behind these people’s motives is not simply ” I’m right and you’re wrong”. Oh , if only it were that simple. The hatred comes from Satan himself. He is on the prowl. He is moving and working and scheming and plotting. He wants Christians and Jews dead. He’s not giving up and it will get worse~ much worse.
I’m seeing it already on the statuses of some friends and former friends on FB. People seem to have no problem blaming Christians and Jesus for the problems in the world. There is a hatred brewing towards anyone who defends Israel. The world is closing in and closing doors. Muslims and Atheists have the soap box now. They spew their hatred and they get away with it. They call for the murder of thousands and no one bats an eye. But Christians are condemned for causing religious turmoil. Many are saying that God has no place in our country because the idea of Him is too controversial .
I will tell you, Jesus does not mind being controversial~ He’s been that way since He was born. But for us, as His followers, we need to stand up and speak up. We need to defend His laws~ loving your neighbour, loving your enemies, praying for those who persecute you, praying for the Peace of Israel. Our very freedom of speech is on the brink of collapse. Those who defend the rights of Westboro church or any others to rant and condemn are the very ones who will be taking our rights to share our faith. The day is coming soon. So speak now, or forever hold your peace.