The idea of free speech permeates our national understanding and has long been a rallying cry for defining and defending “our way of life.” The idea is pinned to not only the First Amendment, but also to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All governments limit speech for various reasons, and all people debate the right for governments to do that. It is interesting to note that the First Amendment at least at face value limits, not grants — it limits Congress from making laws that prohibit free speech.
But of course not about everything.
You can’t give away government secrets or even alleged government secrets without at least an investigation and a trial. You can’t use racist or hate speech, unless of course you move in circles that permit it, and you can’t joke about bomb threats unless you want to spend a lot of time with the TSA.
And every one of these examples and countless more are tolerated or not depending on the circumstances. Free speech is a complicated concept.
I’m glad for the idea of freedom of speech even with its complications — including my own difficulty in tolerating the free speech of others. In fact, I don’t always.
While current political debate comes to mind when talking about free speech, for people who’ve signed up to follow the way of Jesus, there is another layer to consider. I’m throwing my hat in the ring on Sunday to talk about some of the things about our everyday speech that people with intentions of following Jesus are free to use. Far from being easy or just a southern version of polite, these things require a good bit of — well, come and think about it with me.
DiscipleChurch meets at 8:30 am in Leonard Chapel. This week’s music includes the beautiful hymn “Morning Has Broken.” In case you want to enjoy it ahead of time, listen here.