I was earlier this week in a queue waiting to be served with coffee and chatting to a friend when I was accused by somebody else of using coarse language. I was quite affronted by the accusation especially as it was my friend speaking at the time and he was legitimately quoting somebody else. The word used itself I do not personally do not find to be either offensive or coarse but that is a matter of personal choice. The more important issue is much deeper, it runs far deeper than the fact that the lady in question was extremely rude in doing such a thing and in the church as well. It made me think of the whole freedom of speech debate.
I had previously thought that my debating days were over since reaching my 7th decade and leaving behind my responsibilities with young people. Thankfully this little blog and other places offer me the opportunity to vent my spleen and debate at least with myself the age old chestnuts of life.
Freedom of speech; what is it? Do we have it? Do we agree with it? Should we fight for it etc are all issues that are now hackneyed and past their sell by date but maybe they ought to be resurrected somewhat.
In Britain we pride ourselves in having the freedom to speak about what we want but is it true? Jeremy Clarkson is always falling foul of it. He cannot say the words that he nchooses because it is deemed to be offensive by the Daily mirror of all people. I am certainly not supporting Jeremy Clarkson but his case proves to me that we do not have freedom of speech. In a way it is sad because if we were truly able to say just as we want then many people past and present would soon prove themselves to be fools, bigots, dangerous or just downright foolish by their own words rather than the judgement of the press which is at the least dubious.
So do I support absolute freedom of speech? I am reminded of a different rhyme to the one that Jeremy Clarkson quoted it is: "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm you!" Words may offend, they may rally others to the cause but they will never break your body. What they will do is educate real people as to the true character of the speaker and so in this it may be time to take the brakes off the politically correct brigade which will then allow my friend to say git without being castigated by some well meaning interfering lady who is possibly more like the Pharisees who watched the nation of Israel looking for such breaking of what they believed to be the moral code.
I am not afraid of words and neither should I be afraid to use them for the cause that I am passionate about. My freedom is being challenged in the church but even more so outside of it where there are many who would shut the mouths of gospel preachers like me from saying that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God. They will stop me being able to openly teach many of the bible truths. It is sad that words threaten them so much that they cannot hear a view that is contrary to mine, the poor little dears. In other lands people die for have a contrary viewpoint, we were like that a number of years back. We are supposed to be free but are being tied up in knots largely by the press who believe themselves to be the custodians of our freedom. They are at liberty to report on what they want but let it please be honest and without their spin that is designed to make as much money as possible from their judgements.
The Lord Jesus Christ died because He was God the Son and He was not afraid to say so. The officials of His day did not believe in freedom of speech then and neither do they today. Let us not be too quick to claim liberty when looking at other states in criticism when we are only very slightly more free to say what we want.