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Twogaa Sunday Post – 11.3.19 (Freedom to Speak)

Submitted by Diana Roberts on November 3, 2019

The next several Twogaa Sunday Posts will be on the First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech.

Constitution: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

As we discover how complicated this simple command is, apply what we learn to your religion or denominational sect.

  1. Should we restrict free speech in order to fight terrorism?
  2. Where do we draw the line on press disclosures of national security interest?
  3. Are hate speech laws unconstitutional?
  4. Should reporters always be allowed to protect their sources?
  5. Should political speech supporting a political candidate from the pulpit be unlawful?
  6. Should fake news be outlawed and prosecuted?
  7. What are the values we need to preserve in the increasingly technological twenty-first century?

Freedom of speech is not free, but frankly, there is no such thing as pure freedom of speech. As the history of the First amendment shows, putting a guarantee into a charter like the Constitution is no assurance that it will be enforced. After all, it took more than a century for our courts to begin to protect dissenting speakers and publishers from official repression in the United States. It took time for judges to build on the fundamental promise of those fourteen words in the First Amendment: that this would be a country of free speech and freedom of the press. It took time and imagination, critical and open thinking and a hell of a lot of courage. Timid, unimaginative judges could not have made America as extraordinarily free as it is.

There can be no democracy if there is no freedom of speech. Dissent and different thinking and opinions by individuals are critical to a healthy democracy. And yes, we must have respect for opposing views, even if we feel strongly against them. As the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Lewis points out, even Freedom for the Thought We Hate. After all, Americans are free to say and write what we want. We can even express the most hateful and shocking views without the courts interfering. But who are the influencers through internet and press media sources? While we have the freedom that we have, do we not owe it to ourselves to understand how we arrived at the opinion we have and speak for? If it is free, is it not our obligation to investigate our own free-speech sources? No one can reliably do it for us, and the government is prohibited.

Stay with us through the next several Sundays as we discover the intricacies of this freedom, Freedom of Speech!

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