Monday, January 30, 2012

Freedom of Speech

Not my typical blog post, and definitely veers from "HOME+Something"...not sure if I even want to go here...but for the sake of the subject, I must.

"Freedom of Speech comes with great responsibility:  Using it perhaps when you shouldn't, not using it when you should. It may also come with great consequence:  the liberation of like-minded people into action, the persecution from disagreeing parties to silence you."


As a blogger, I am faced with the responsibility that comes with Freedom of Speech.  We all have venues to express our opinions.  Blogging is just another one of those venues that may touch the souls of people all around the world instead of the group of people you stand talking to face to face.

I am thankful for those who have spoken candidly about subjects that are controversial and may cause, as the quote stated, "persecution from disagreeing parties."  For if it weren't for their willingness to excercise their freedom, I would not have been liberated in many of my own beliefs, theologies, and passions that have been laid dormant within me for fear of "persecution" or "ex-communication."   It's a little like the phenomenon of Lady Gaga really.  I mean, what person who has ever felt a little odd about expressing their opinion because it was just off-the-wall doesn't have some sort of admiration for Lady Gaga?

"I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down. I didn't fit in, and I felt like a freak."

In 2010, TIME magazine named her one of the most influential people in the world (ouch!).  Not exactly Mother Teresa, BUT her willingness to continue forward despite adversity is note-worthy.

More noteworthy would be Martin Luther King, Jr.  I'm not a MLK Jr. expert, but he apparently knew the power and influence available if he exercised the right to "Freedom of Speech."  Did he know the consequence?  I think he probably did and one outweighed the other.  At the core of his being he believed and stated:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

His INability to stay silent, led to his death...but more importantly led to the freedom of millions.

Sounds a little like someone else I know.  Sometimes I refer to him as my homeboy JC aka Jesus Christ.  Not the swear word often heard when something unbelievable happens...(which in that instant, maybe that is giving him credit). I'm talking about the amazing guy aka God with skin, working organs, walking around just like us guy. 

Anyway, if you're American you've surely heard of him.  He too knew the power and influence available through "Freedom of Speech."  Now I'm not talking about "name and claim it" type of power...I'm talking about the choice to use his voice to confront some major issues going on down here when he showed up.  They didn't have an Amendment proclaiming that right, but he wouldn't have stayed silent if it was illegal to speak, which the religious leaders of that day would have definitely liked to make it that way when he showed up.  Instead, they claimed WHAT he was saying "illegal" and hung him for it. 

His inability to stay silent led to his death, and because he's God...his resurrection as well. 
It was a real death just the same. 
With pain, humiliation, and disappointment as the words he spoke were so controversial, it really stirred up a raucous.  And the religious leaders had those who were believing everything Jesus said so scared, they cowardly denied even knowing him.  BUT because he was willing to speak and die a humiliating death....billions are allowed to be free.  And he DID know what he was getting into.

Ah...the responsibility that comes with choosing to exercise Freedom of Speech.  I guess the people on the other side were exercising their right too, eh?  Is defending the claims being made against you declaring anything?  JC didn't do a lot of defending...he just kept proclaiming the truth and confronting those things that were contrary to the truth...the religious leaders defended, attempted to create more rules to silence him, and finally set a trap to silence him once and for all, or so they thought.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  kept confronting discrimination...and the discriminators defended their actions and silenced the confronter, or so they thought, his words and actions live on in the liberation of many. 

As I wrap this up, I think back to the above quote from MLK, Jr.:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

I am left thinking about what things matter to me that I continue to be silent about?  And then, I am reminded of the "Serenity Prayer":

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

I happen to be someone who has a hard time accepting that there are things I can't change.  But just as soon as I think I can change something...courage to change them is lacking indeed.  I definitely need wisdom to know "when to hold 'em" and "when to fold 'em."

How about you? Is your life beginning to end because you've been silent about something that matters?  Who will speak first?

Psalm 39:1-3 (The Message)

A David psalm.

I'm determined to watch steps and tongue so they won't land me in trouble. I decided to hold my tongue as long as Wicked is in the room.
"Mum's the word," I said, and kept quiet. But the longer I kept silence The worse it got--
my insides got hotter and hotter. My thoughts boiled over; I spilled my guts.


  1. Excellent post Stacy!

    I've thought about our freedom of speech a lot. As you may have guessed I am a bit political and not terribly afraid to express my opinion, but believe it or not, I don't express all of my opinions or even half of them. Not because I am afraid to, though I do stop to think how my opinion may impact my family, but because I ask myself, "do I really want to get into this right now?" It's an energy thing.

    The issue of Freedom of Speech has been weighing on my heart of late. I know a LOT of people who want to silence people like Bill Maher, or offensive television shows, etc., and I have to ask myself, if I silence them, when does it turn on me?

    My freedom to speak my mind, to speak the truth, to call for justice, will be challenged the day we silence the people we disagree with. If we pass laws that silence a Tarantino film because he likes the f-bomb and the Gd-bomb; if we silence Bill Maher, if the liberal media silences Rush Limbaugh, then we will be silenced too.

    Our Freedom of Speech comes with a great responsibility. The Serenity prayer is an excellent reminder of that responsibility, as is your reference to Kenny Rogers song. And as St. Paul said, "Just because I can, doesn't mean I should" 1 Corinthians 10:22-24 (Lillian's translation).

  2. Thanks for commenting Lillian...great thoughts!!!