Saturday, February 5, 2022

In Context: Dual Tracks of Free Speech

One of the most fundamental God-given rights is the right to speak freely. Throughout history, if God tells us to speak, we have a right to speak, and any government should protect that broad right, even if that speech is about the government itself.

This week, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said, “We don't need to look that far into history to see what happens when we go down the dangerous road of censorship and suppression. When free expression is weakened, the mob is empowered. The groundwork is laid for further discrimination, intimidation, and, God forbid, increased violence.”

If he had been talking about the practice of medicine, and how medical professionals should have the freedom to speak about early treatment of the coronavirus, his comments would have been timely and helpful. No, that speech is being suppressed as misinformation. Track #1.

Instead, he was talking about efforts to remove obscene and inappropriate content from public school libraries. One of the more prominent activists on this matter is Asra Nomani in Fairfax County, Virginia. She has documented the objectionable nature of the material and the legal basis for its removal. After a 2-month review, the books were reinstated for student access “to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters.” Removing minors' access to obscene and inappropriate content is now considered social injustice. Track #2.

On the one hand, in the name of free speech, disgusting images of evil are celebrated and defended, and on the other, truthful speech that happens to threaten large financial gain for the powerful is attacked.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).

The parent uprising happening across America must be surfacing in Democratic polling for Leader Schumer to address the matter twice from the Senate floor this week. He may have called for a response to be “at the State level,” but he also ignored the obvious intimidation of parents by the Biden Justice Department and framed parent actions as “efforts to intimidate educators and students,” weakening parent free expression.

Father, we ask that You would address this matter at every level. Turn us away from images—which are not speech—and our young people away from seeing themselves reflected in corruption. Turn us away from evil words that turn us away from You.

“Those who make (idols) become like them, as do all who trust in them.” (Psalm 115:8; 135:18)

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