Saturday, December 28, 2013

Water Foul or Free Speech?

Well, you might ask what this is about? Mike, the poetry guy and Star Wars fanatic, writing about a very public war of words over the statements made by a star on the A&E show "Duck Dynasty?" Really?!

Number one, you should know that neither I nor my family watches this show. We took a brief look some months ago and just didn't find it interesting enough to watch going forward. This blog post is not being written to either defend or condemn this show or the people who like/dislike it.

With that being said, I wanted to briefly discuss what once again is the insidious and dangerous ground that this country has ventured on to over this issue. What is at issue here once again, is our freedom of speech and even more importantly our right to hold beliefs that others may find at the least silly and at the worst repulsive and maybe even evil.

The last I was aware of, we all have the right in this country to not only hold various beliefs, but the right to "free speech." This is not a right to stand in the solitude of our own home in front of a mirror where no one else is present and vomit out whatever comes to your mind. This is a right to stand wherever you might find yourself and say what is on your mind without fear of violence or government reprisal for having said it.

If you find a show on t.v. to be offensive or not to follow your line of belief, do what I do and change the channel or write a letter to the company. Our family regularly turns the channel when we find the show offensive or espousing certain lifestyles that we believe are sinful. We are still debating what we will do regarding our traditional watching of the Rose Parade which will now be marred (our opinion) by our being forced to watch a sinful act thrown in our face. Again, if your offended by this, guess what their are millions of people on this planet right now that know that this act is sin. And, I/We have a right to this belief whether you agree with it or not. None of us has the right to silence each other whether we want to or not.

I am not saying that when you speak your mind or your beliefs that others do not have the right to many and varied reactions such as: anger, arguing, counter-arguments, ostracizing you, or any other socially acceptable way of distancing themselves from your possibly offensive monologue.

What seems again to be occurring is that a person, in a public and in a paid (entertainment?) venue has made side comments expressing their own beliefs. Whether you like it or not, is not the point! He has a right to those beliefs and if we start to legislate this, then we are heading towards a society that was not intended by our country's forefathers. Forcing others to keep their mouths shut while others can spout whatever bile and possibly untruths they wish becomes a certain type of tyranny that will cause us to head down similar paths that certain destructive societies have already proven to be evil (i.e. - Hitler's Germany, and certain currently existing dictatorships and religious based societies).

Those of us who not only believe in free speech but seek to defend it must fight to keep this right even if we do not believe what the person or persons who have opposing beliefs are sharing with the world.

In case you are wondering, I believe the Bible to be God's inerrant Word and I understand that God has said that he does not change like the tides or shifting sands. Our defense of what was formerly known to be sinful is a failing and a weakness in human kind that was brought about by our sin and fall from God's grace.

I do not hold to any of the racist things that this man may have said, but I understand that there are numerous things that God has listed out in scripture as being sin and what he labeled as sin thousands of years ago is still sin today. We will all stand before a holy God one day and answer individually for our failures to live up to God's standards and if we have the covering of the blood of Christ and him as our defender, then we will live at peace with God in eternity. But, if we have rejected what God has made clear, and we live in unrepentant sin and will not accept God's authority and requirements over our lives and above all reject our need for Jesus, then we will spend eternity separated from him and all that we love to suffer eternally in hell.

I say these things in love and all humility and I recognize that many may find my own beliefs at their core to be offensive. For those who feel this way, we will agree to disagree, but if you are willing, then let's please stay friends.

As I have heard it said before, I say it here: Love the sinner, hate the sin. We who call ourselves Christ followers and his disciples, need to first and foremost remember that we are called to love and pray for those who are in fact enemies of God (we have all been this prior to accepting Christ and being born again in him). We are not to be and act in ways that do not reflect God's love for all humankind but with that being said, we do have the ability (and the right up to this point in this country) to speak that which we believe without fear of being silenced.

We must do all that we can while we still have the right, to defend everyone's ability to say what they believe and graciously accept it when what they say offends us!

In humility and love,

Michael Meehan