We Can Defend Our Liberties
John Stonestreet, August 2, 2013
Karl Marx said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. And for once, I agree with him.
After World War II, our nation found itself in a dangerous Cold War with the Soviets. But while America eventually prevailed, not everything done in the name of freedom was kosher.
For a time, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee wreaked havoc on free speech and destroyed a lot of reputations—remember the Hollywood Ten?
Modern liberals have made freedom of speech a cornerstone of their movement, and rightly so, ever since.
Tragically, the old impulse to control what people believe and say—or crush them politically—is still alive and well. But farcically, it is those who say they value tolerance over everything who are doing a lot of the persecuting.
Orson Scott Card, an award-winning writer of fantasy and science fiction, is their latest target. Card, a Mormon, has publicly stated that society should oppose gay marriage and even homosexual conduct—a pretty mainstream position just a few years ago.
Well, earlier this year, when he was selected to write for a new Superman comic series, homosexual activists tried to blacklist him—on National Public Radio, no less! Now Card’s science-fiction book, “Ender’s Game,” is being released as a major film this fall, and the thought police are at it again.
A gay activist group organized a boycott of “Ender’s Game,” even though all sides agree the movie has nothing to do with any social issue. The goal of these neo-McCarthy-ites is to punish Card, plain and simple, to make him unemployable, and to hurt any company that transgresses their definition of political correctness.
Surprisingly enough, The New York Times is calling them on it. The Times says that the boycott is really “closer to blacklisting,” adding, “This isn’t about stopping the dissemination of antigay sentiments; it’s about isolating Mr. Card and shaming his business partners, thus cutting into their profits. If Mr. Card belongs in quarantine, who’s next?”
Good question, New York Times.
Well, who’s next was my friend and Summit Ministries colleague, Mike Adams. A popular professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Mike writes extensively and powerfully about speech codes on college campuses. Mike has more than 5,000 Facebook friends. Facebook ought to be sending him flowers and a card every week, because followings like his keep their social media platform in business.
But recently, Mike offered an argument against same-sex “marriage.” It was not angry or sarcastic, but some folks complained. So Mike was informed by Facebook that his account had been suspended for twelve hours for “violating community standards.”
Well shockingly, there are a few Facebook pages still live and active entitled “Kill George Zimmerman.” These are some community standards!
And earlier this month, Facebook blocked fans of Christian actor Kirk Cameron from posting comments about his upcoming movie, “Unstoppable.” Incredibly, Facebook deemed the content of the website “abusive and unsafe.”
Cameron didn’t take this lying down—and neither should we. The actor informed more than half a million of his Facebook fans and received more than 24,000 “likes” and 5,000 comments in about an hour. Facebook rescinded the ban, and eventually stated that they had made a technical mistake. Well, take that for what you will, but at the very least, the flood of comments no doubt helped them discover the “mistake.” “This is a real victory,”
Cameron said. “If we work together, we do have a voice.”
Friends, as you can see, the pressure on free speech is building. But as you can also see, if we stand up for our rights, we can preserve them. However, the old maxim, “use it or lose it,” applies. Let’s stand for our right to free speech and freedom of religion and do so calmly, winsomely, persistently, and—when appropriate—humorously. After all, attacks on free speech are no laughing matter, but they can certainly seem rather farcical!
As John has pointed out, each and every one of us must do our part to keep free speech free. First, stay vigilant. If you become aware of someone being blacklisted or harassed because their view is politically incorrect, speak out using your social networks.
Second, share this commentary on Facebook or Twitter with others. It will take considerable effort from everyone to halt today’s attack on free speech; and it can be done.
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