The Danger of Government Interference with Speech

            Government cannot effectively deliver the mail, how can they possibly monitor what is preached in thousands of pulpits?  The only problem with the question posed is that it does not go far enough.  The current free speech battle is not in the pulpits of America, or the rest of the Western World for that matter.  The current free speech battle is being fought in public venues, like our streets, sidewalks, and parks.

             So, the question that really should be on each of our minds is whether the government has the right to decide what preachers preach in any place.  If free speech is going to remain truly free it has to be free everywhere.  It is not enough to relegate it to certain places.  That is not what our founding fathers had in mind when they enshrined our rights in the FIRST Amendment.  Nor is it what other leaders envisioned when they modeled their rights after the American Constitution. 

             Men and women of clear thinking have long understood the value of the free discourse of ideas.  Law makers have understood that freedom of speech only exists when we permit those we disagree with to speak free—not just those who say what we like. 

             This is one of the most problematic areas of the new permission regime we serve under.  This regime has been in place for years. 

             Our founding fathers did not believe in politically correct speech.  They had public and often verbally violent discussions on matters of national and spiritual consequence.  They understood that we can argue today and still have civil conversation later if we truly respect the right of others to agree and disagree with what we are saying.

             If we come to believe that the government does not have a right to control the speech from a pulpit, but limit the free speech on certain issues to the pulpit, then we are signing the death warrant of free speech. 

             It is not important that we respect free speech that occurs in private.  It is important that we respect free speech that occurs in public.  When we prohibit the speech of one, we harm the freedom of all.  That is simply the principle of intended and unintended consequences. 

             If we do not go further than freedom in pulpits we will ultimately find that even our pulpits are not free.  Restrictions to free speech will continue to restrict our lives.  What starts on the street will end in the pulpits.

             Then we will truly be wards of the state in every way.


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