Food for thought – The love and hate of free speech

Cartoon by Ryan Fletcher

Like many people I have great appreciation for the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

For others, whom I routinely refer to as the “perpetually offended”, the First Amendment is something to be legislated away as it could be used to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate”.

These folk would be wise to reflect upon James 3:5-8.

Maybe it would be useful to contrast two highly controversial expressions of free-speech to illustrate its value.

On one hand there’s the example of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), a pedophile and pederasty advocacy organization which campaigns to abolish age-of-consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors.

On the other hand there’s the example of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), who hold public protests brandishing signs stating “God is your enemy”, “Mourn for you sins”, “America is Doomed” and most notable “God hates fags”.

WBC has held pickets at the funerals of soldiers, homosexuals and former LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley as well as victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Jews, Muslims, Catholics and generally speaking anyone who isn’t a member of the church.

Frankly, in regards to NAMBLA, I like knowing there’s a membership registry out there of self- identified perverts in our society. In regards to WBC, if God were to strike me dead for my sins and the Westboro Baptist Church were prepared to fly over to picket my funeral, I hope my family would thank them for their attendance and praise God for some inspired entertainment.

Food for thought.