Saturday, July 6, 2019

What Free Speech is Not

Since Independence Day was this week, it seems like an appropriate time to tackle a few thoughts I have on the very American topic of free speech .. and what it is not.

It's interesting to me that people have such different views on what free speech is. I think it often gets abused due to people not actually reading the First Amendment, so here you are:

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.

Free speech does not mean there are no consequences to what you say.  There are times when certain topics of conversation or manners of speech are a straight-up bad idea. If you get irate or verbally abusive, it doesn't matter what you're saying ... Wrong is still wrong and should be punished.

Along these same lines, free speech does not mean rules are unconstitutional. As an employee, I've been told not to say certain things (like company passwords). That's a rule to protect the company, but it doesn't infringe upon my right to free speech as long as there is no Congressional law prohibiting me.

Free speech does not mean self-control should disappear. People use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card so that they can say whatever they want. While technically you can say whatever you want ... that's not unique to America. Exercising common sense and self-control as well as free speech is a good idea.

I think something else everyone forgets is that free speech does not mean words cannot be harmful. We act like because we have it in writing that the federal government cannot cover our mouths, we're going to be belligerent loudmouths. Words themselves have natural consequences. There are SO many Bible verses about this that I don't even know where to start ...

Free speech does not apply to only those you agree with. Talk about something that drives me crazy ... You'd think it'd be common sense that if I get to talk, so do you. Part of free speech is leaving room for differing opinions. We don't have to agree. But we do have to let them speak if they choose.

In the end, God gave us the freedom to do anything when He created us. Free choice includes free speech. But I'd like to encourage you to keep in mind that it's easy to misuse privileges like this just like Adam and Eve did in Eden.

So while freedom of speech and the press allow me to write articles such as this one and publish books ... I have to be careful not to abuse that right. Because freedoms are abused just as often as they are taken for granted.


You do realize the irony in me asking for your thoughts on free speech, right?? I'd love to hear all politely expressed opinions on this topic!


  1. Very good post! I agree with a lot of this. I believe in free speech, but believe it's immoral to be hateful. At the same time I do not believe hate speech is a crime punishable by the government, only God alone.

    1. I totally agree!! I think it's interesting that hate speech has become a "thing." I'm glad that it's spotlighted the power (and potential harm) of words, but it's so subjective that I agree that it should not be punishable by government. Thanks for your thoughts, Keturah!


    Free speech is not without its limitations; nor should it be.

    Really appreciate you writing this post and calling attention to this. :) Good job!

  3. Bravo! This is certainly something to take to heart!


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