Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Above image by Christopher Ross from Pixabay

Can You Speak Out?

Many universities and college classes foster ideological clubs, students who are quick and eager to devour any that oppose their views. Unfortunately, this has become the norm as opposed to a free exchange of ideas and opinions that cultivate thoughtful dialogues and debates. Moreover, many students, especially the minority conservative students, fear voicing their opinion because of the cancel-culture prevalent in today’s liberal universities. 

This problem goes well beyond our universities. Elon Musk has been very critical of the mega social platforms and their censorship. Musk has almost 8 million followers on Twitter, and he asked them if a new social platform was needed. “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?”((Khaled, Fatma. “Elon Musk Asks if ‘New Platform’ Needed as Twitter Slammed on Free Speech.” Newsweek, 26 March 2022. https://www.newsweek.com/elon-musk-asks-if-new-platform-needed-twitter-slammed-free-speech-1692192. 1 April 2022))

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (owned by Google) yield massive power over American citizens and their freedom of expression.

The recent controversy over the transgender Penn State University swimmer Lea Thomas((Johnson, Greg. “Thomas concludes spectacular season with national title.” Penn Today, March 20th 2022. https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/thomas-concludes-spectacular-season-national-title. March 23rd 2022)) is a perfect example I addressed in a previous post. School officials told the girls on the team if they spoke negatively about the controversy, they would be removed from the swim team and never get a job offer. 

“Those who call for censorship in the name of the oppressed ought to recognize it is never the oppressed who determine the bounds of censorship.” – Human rights activist Aryeh Neier

The Penn State officials displayed cancel culture at its best. It took former Olympic medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar to speak out for the young women on the Penn State swim team. The girls told her that if the media reached out, they were warned by school officials not to talk to them. Through the Olympian, the girls said, “We support Lia’s mental health, and we ask Penn and the Ivy League to support ours as well.”1 

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell

Yes, this is a complex issue. However, it should be evident to all that have given this any consideration; men should compete against men, and women should compete against women in sports. Sounds logical and straightforward; yet, universities and our government create policies that do not consider the consequences of transgenders competing. Who is paying the price? The athletes who are not transgender, in particular women. 

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9

But imagine for a moment if you had a good friend or family member who is transgender; most of us would approach the issue differently because it is not an issue anymore but a person. When faced with that person, it should change your heart, but not your theology. 

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. – Colossians 4:6

Simple Science

What is the solution for this complicated topic? It is not to allow women carte blanche to compete against women; the transgenders who are in the process of hormone therapy and taking testosterone will have a significant advantage in competitive sports. 

The Mayo Clinic reports women to expect the following when taking masculinizing hormone therapy. 

  • Stopping your period. 
  • Voice deepening. 
  • Facial and body hair growth.
  • Body fat redistribution. 
  • Clitoral enlargement and vaginal atrophy. 
  • Increased muscle mass and strength. 

“You’ll begin masculinizing hormone therapy by taking testosterone. Typically, your doctor will prescribe a low dose and slowly increase the dosage over a period of months. Testosterone is given either by injection or a gel applied to the skin.”2

I am not sure what the solution is concerning transgenders in sports, but I know it is not to shut down the opinions and thoughts of anyone who disagrees with you. 

Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? – Galatians 4:16

“This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought.” – Euripides

The system of inclusion and tolerance espoused by the left threatens women to remain silent, which should tell you something is dreadfully wrong, and most Americans know it. Progressives know they dare not define what a woman is for fear of retribution, but also, since they define gender as shifting, fluid, adaptable to the individual, they can’t explain the label of a woman

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.” – Philip K. Dick

This became glaringly obvious when Senator Marsha Blackburn asked Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown to define what a woman is; Judge Brown couldn’t. Senator Blackburn responded, “The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about,” she said. “Just last week, an entire generation of young girls watched as our taxpayer-funded institutions permitted a biological man to compete and be a biological woman in the N.C.A.A. swimming championships. What message do you think this sends to girls who aspire to compete and win in sports at the highest levels?”3 

For some, the answer is as unmistakable as a penis caught in a zipper (granted, only 1/2 of my readers will truly appreciate that example), but Judge Brown couldn’t answer the question. Why? Because you can’t pin gender on anyone, it is fluid and is entirely up to the individual, according to liberal progressives. I would then ask, how can we create laws to protect women’s rights if we can’t even define what a woman is? Yet this fundamental truth is a severe dilemma for the progressives, but they will not even acknowledge it. Furthermore, if you quote the science of XX chromosomes in the gender debate, you will be silenced for hate speech and then shamed into submission. 

“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”– Oscar Wilde

Diminishing Freedoms

A new poll by the New York Times and Siena College found cancel culture, or more specifically, the diminishing freedoms of our First Amendments rights, conscious in the minds of Americans. For example, only 34% of Americans feel all Americans fully enjoy the freedom of speech.((The Editorial Board. “America Has a Free Speech Problem.” New York Times, New York, 18 March 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/18/opinion/cancel-culture-free-speech-poll.html. 24 March 2022)) Furthermore, 84% said the lack of free speech has become a ‘very serious’ or ‘somewhat serious’ problem. “Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.”4

PragerU  has certainly experienced that on Youtube, now owned by Google. Here is the list of videos that Youtube has removed.  PragerU is not alone in this; Youtube has removed many conservative videos because they don’t fall in step with the party line. 

Just before the elections of 2020, both Twitter and Facebook censored the New York Post on the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop and financial dealing in Ukraine and China. Now, two years later, the censored story we find had teeth. 

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley said there is a “view that an indictment against Hunter Biden is likely.”5He was reacting to The New York Times story confirming the legitimacy of the Hunter Biden Laptop. Did you hear any of this on CNN, NBC, USAToday? 

The New York Times reported, “…prosecutors had investigated payments and gifts Mr. Biden or his associates had received from foreign interests, including a vehicle paid for using funds from a company associated with a Kazakh oligarch and a diamond from a Chinese energy tycoon. Prosecutors also sought documents related to corporate entities through which Mr. Biden and his associates conducted business with interests around the world.”6 The Times also reported, “Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop.”6

As the social media powerhouses Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter continue to filter to fit their view, ensuring political correctness, our freedom of speech slowly evaporates. 

“Political correctness is tyranny; just tyranny with manners.” – Charlton Heston

The New York Times reported when Russia blocked Facebook and Twitter last month, it startled Chinese Internet users. Many did not realize that Russia allowed that kind of Western influence in their country. “When Russia blocked Facebook and limited Twitter this month, many Chinese internet users were surprised. Wait a moment, they said: The Russians could use Facebook and Twitter? Both social media platforms have been banned in China since 2009.”7

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” – Harry S. Truman.

Just a few years ago, Russia began to learn from the best (China) on how to control its country’s population and suppress undesired thoughts or words that some of the more independent thinkers might consider. Unfortunately, the invasion of Ukraine has only hastened the desire and implementation among the Russian Olgargy and government authorities. 

In 2015 China’s censorship czars spoke to leaders in Russia on how to control social media and the flow of information. Lu Wei told his audience at the forum, “Unlimited freedom can lead to terrorism,” and Fang Binxing known in China as the father of the Great Firewall said, “If borders exist, they exist in cyberspace too.”7

Under Xi and Lu, China has advanced the “doctrine of cyberspace sovereignty,” which would see the Internet turned into national Internets, in other words, country-specific, each with its own controls and boundaries. In large part, many countries have already experienced that, and our own country is making inroads toward that model. Lu Wei has since fallen out of favor. Found guilty of corruption in China, he took millions in bribes, but his ideas continue to influence China’s policies.((Griffiths, James. Jiang, Steven. “Former Chinese internet czar Lu Wei sentenced to 14 years in prison for bribery.” CNN. 26 March 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/26/asia/lu-wei-china-sentenced-corruption-intl/index.html 26 March 2022))

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 2:12

The editorial Board of the New York Times and the Pew Research Center reports that America is experiencing a “…a crisis of confidence around one of America’s most basic values. Freedom of speech and expression is vital to human beings’ search for truth and knowledge about our world. A society that values freedom of speech can benefit from the full diversity of its people and their ideas. At the individual level, human beings cannot flourish without the confidence to take risks, pursue ideas and express thoughts that others might reject.”8

“The only thing that should be upheld at all costs and without qualification is the right of free expression, because if that goes, then so do all other claims of right as well.” – Atheist Christopher Hitchens

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speakMatthew 12:26

Have you experienced this yet? If not, your time will come. Here in America you are losing our fundamental right to speak out against what is considered mainstream thought. If your opinion does not fall in step with what is deemed tolerant, politically correct, inclusive, and gender-free, you will be silenced, shamed, and shunned.

We can’t debate bad ideas with good ones without freedom of speech. Abolishing the freedom of speech is the tool of dictators, oppressors, and tyrants. You should be concerned with our country’s direction concerning freedom of speech. If not, the time will come when you are concerned it will be too late, and your voice will be silenced. After that, your vote. 

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Freedom of Speech by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Boas, Phil. “If Lia Thomas’ teammates can’t raise concerns about transgender athletes, we all lose.” Arizona Republic, March 21st 2022, https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/philboas/2022/03/21/lia-thomas-teammates-concern-transgender-women-sports-swimming/7121544001/. March 23rd 2022 []
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff, “Masculinizing hormone therapy,” Mayo Clinic, mayclinic.org. 21 July 2021 https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/masculinizing-hormone-therapy/about/pac-20385099 []
  3. Weisman, Jonathan. “A demand to define ‘woman’ injects gender politics into Jackson’s confirmation hearings.” New York Times, New York, 23 March 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/23/us/politics/ketanji-brown-jackson-woman-definition.html. 25 March 2022 []
  4. The Editorial Board. “America Has a Free Speech Problem.” New York Times, New York, 18 March 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/18/opinion/cancel-culture-free-speech-poll.html. 24 March 2022 []
  5. Fox News Staff, “Jonathan Turley on why NY Times finally acknowledged Hunter Biden’s laptop was authentic.” Fox News, 22 March 2022, https://www.foxnews.com/media/ny-times-hunter-biden-laptop-authentic-turley. 26 March 2022 []
  6. Benner, Katie. Vogel, Kenneth. Schmidt, Michael. “Hunter Biden Paid Tax Bill, but Broad Federal Investigation Continues.” New York Times, New York, 16 March 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/16/us/politics/hunter-biden-tax-bill-investigation.html. 26 March 2022 [] []
  7. Yuan, Li. “China’s Information Dark Age Could Be Russia’s Future.” New York Times, New York, 18 March 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/18/business/chinas-russia-information.html?searchResultPosition=4. 25 March 2022 [] []
  8. The Editorial Board, “America Has a Free Speech Problem.” New York Times, 18 March 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/18/opinion/cancel-culture-free-speech-poll.html 26 March 2022 []
The Truth about Elephants

The Truth about Elephants

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Above Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Six old wise blind men were directed into the middle of a large field. In the middle of this large field was an elephant. Each of the wise men were positioned at a different part of the elephant and asked to touch it and tell what they believed was in the middle of the field with them.

-The first touched the tusk and announced it was a spear.
-The second felt the trunk and after a moment exclaimed it was a large snake.
-The third man slowly walked around one of the legs, feeling his way along, and claimed it was a tree.
-The fourth man had been holding the tail and he shared that it was a rope.
-The fifth man had been reaching up feeling the elephant’s ear and said he had found a large fan.
-The sixth and final man had been positioned at the side of the elephant; after running his hands over the elephant’s side he announced to everyone that it was a wall in the middle of the field.

elephant

Each of these old men represent a world religion. Each one ‘thinks’ they understand and know what is in the field, and each comes to a different conclusion. In college, students may be taught that each man has his own interpretation, and that no one has the truth.

This has been a popular illustration with some college professors over the years to demonstrate to students how each religion has its own perspective of a truth. Some may use this illustration to teach you that each religion may claim to know the truth, but in reality they don’t know. Or students may be told that each religion only offers a path, one of many, to the truth. Everyone can choose their own path, their own walk, and we should not be judgmental of others and their world religion. Ironically, after a moment’s consideration, there is a truth to this parable – the one telling the parable knows it is an elephant.

The problem with this view is that when we consider several of the major world religions, they don’t come to the same conclusion. We are told that there may be many different paths, none of them are right and none of them are wrong because each of the paths lead to the mountain top, but what is discovered at the top is quite different with each religion. A Christian would find Jesus. A Hindu would find Vishnu with thousands of other gods. A Buddhist would discover he is god. What would an atheist find? I am not sure. Himself?

With the exception of religion and morality, we demand truth in our lives. We hope and expect truth when we visit the doctor or dentist so we know best how to deal with illness, disease, or cracked tooth. We hope and expect truth in our courts of law hoping and expecting that only those guilty will be punished. We hope and expect car manufactures to deliver the product that will function as advertised, (less the female draped over the car). We hope and expect the cashier to hand us back the exact change when we make a purchase. Although sadly, few actually count it back to you any more, or even know how. Most just count out what the cash register says into their own hand and then drop it into your hand.

When it comes to religion or morality, you may be taught that truth is subjective, not objective. What exactly is subjective truth? Subjective truth is a truth that is true for you, but may not be true for me. For example, I may believe pralines and cream is the best ice-cream in the world. That is true for me, but may not be true for you. You may think banana blue-berry ice-cream is the best ice-cream in the world. Simply put, a subjective truth is an opinion. Greg Koukl explained it this way, “Subjective truth is always ‘neither true or false’, while objective truth is always ‘either true or false’.” 1

An objective truth is true for all people, in all places, and at all times. For example gravity is true for you and true for me. Norman Geisler put it this way, “Truth is also unchanging even though our beliefs about truth change. When we began to believe the earth was round instead of flat, the truth about the earth did not change, only our belief about the earth changed.” 2

Truth is not invented, it is discovered. Recognition plays no part in truth. Every man, woman, and child on this earth could deny the existence of gravity, but that would not make the actuality or existence of gravity vanish. For example, if God does exist, the disbelief of everyone on earth would be irrelevant. He would still be there. No matter how many people believed the earth was flat, it was still round.

Some may say, “That is your religion, your opinion. Christianity works for you, but not for me.” Sadly, many Christians are comfortable with that. Some Christians, when asked why they are Christians, may say, “Christianity works for me; it has helped me get through some tough times.” As if it is some brand of cough medicine, or new diet. If Christianity is true, it is true for everyone, Muslim, Hindu, or atheist.

This week my class earned a movie day with me and we watched The Day After Tomorrow. About ½ way through the movie, one of the main characters was trying to convince everyone to stay put in the public library where they could stay warm, (Global Warming triggered a Global Ice Age, but it made for a fun flick). He was pleading with them not to go out in the storm because he was sure they were going to freeze to death. He knew the storm was going to get worse and their chances of survival were slim to none. As they filed by him, ignoring his pleas and warnings, you had a sense that he was speaking truth. Not subjective truth, as if he was trying to convince them pralines and cream was the best ice-cream, but an objective truth which had grave consequences if ignored. Objective truths are like that. Often, if ignored, a penalty is paid by those choosing to ignore it.

In America today we are taught to be tolerant, and the foundation of the tolerant movement is the idea that truth, all truth, is subjective. If all truth is subjective, then it would make sense to be tolerant of one another. If no religions have the truth, or each religion is just a different path to the same result, then why would anyone want to push their religion on someone else? It would be silly to risk offending someone when we all end up in heaven anyway. If all life styles are just different flavors of ice-cream, to each his own. Why worry about the consequences of the choices people make?

We are told to be tolerant of other religions, and other lifestyle choices. If we offer opinions counter to the world’s view, we are labeled as intolerant. Or if we say, as Christians, our view is correct and all others are wrong, we are intolerant. Tolerance use to mean putting up with views that were counter to your own. Tolerance is tolerating something that you may not like or agree with. Now tolerance means accepting other views as true, or at least considering them just another ice-cream flavor. Your view is no better or no worse, no more right or wrong than any other view or religion.

Recently, Donald Sterling was banned for life from basketball for making racist comments. Not only that, he was spanked with a 2.5 million dollar fine and may be forced to sell his team. 3 I don’t condone his racist remarks or other questionable behavior he has been accused of, but the intolerance of the tolerant is obvious if you stop and consider it for a moment.

In another example, a talk show host walked off the set because she could not express her opinion about being uncomfortable with Michael Sam’s kiss with his boyfriend. Or more accurately, she caught some flak for expressing her opinion. 4 It was obvious to me that she was uncomfortable with the gay life-style, but was not about to openly state it for fear of the “tolerant”. It is just another daily example of how the tolerant expect the intolerant to behave, and if they don’t agree, it is obvious the intolerant should not be tolerated.

Peter Boghossian said in his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, “Few things are more dangerous than people who think they’re in possession of absolute truth.” He also said, “Our epistemic, [validating knowledge] problems have begun the moment we’re convinced we’ve latched onto an eternal, timeless truth.” 5 My question to him, or anyone else that states truth is dangerous, truth causes problems, or nothing can be true would be, “Do you believe that to be a true statement?” If so, it’s dangerous, causes problems, and can’t be true. It is a self-defeating statement.

Examples of self defeating statements would be when someone says in English, “I don’t speak a word of English.” Or when we knock on Winne the Pooh’s door and he says, “No one is home!” The classic example is when someone says, “There is no such thing as absolute truth.” You ask them if they know that absolutely.

The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.” – St. Augustine
If the truth offends, then let it offend.” – Pastor Steve Peters

 

Sources:

1. Koukl, Gregory. Tactics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. Print
2. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004. Print.
3. Silverman, Robert. “The NBA’s War With Donald Sterling Is Just Getting Started.” The Daily Beast. Thedailybeast.com, 29 April, 2014. Web. 13 May, 2014.
4. Darcy, Oliver. “I’m Done!: Talk show host storms off set after heated discussion over Michael Sam’s kiss with boyfriend.” The Blaze. Theblaze.com, 14 May, 2014. Web. 13 May, 2014.
5. Boghossian, Peter. A Manual For Creating Atheists. Durham: Pitchstone Publishing, 2013. Print.

 

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The Truth about Elephants by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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