In part 1 of this post I responded to the idea that Wednesday's Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was an unloving act. You can read that post here.
Today I want to address the free speech issue involved. There are those who have expressed that those involved in yesterday's appreciation day have put their right to free speech above the need to show love to others. Although (as yesterday's post indicates) I don't agree with that assessment, I'm also concerned at the implication that we shouldn't see our right to free speech as a priority, or that doing so somehow makes us "less Christian" or "less loving".
We live in a day when many around the world do not have the right to openly speak of the Bible or the God of the Bible. We live in a day when the name of Christ is not a welcome one in many places. As I mentioned in this post, we read each week of countries where Christians *today* are being persecuted for their faith. We are immensely blessed to live in a country where we do not face torture or imprisonment for speaking the name of Christ or sharing His Word openly. And yet, there are those in our own country who seek to make sharing certain parts of the Bible illegal as "hate speech".
This issue has put free speech for Christians on the front burner, so to speak. The question looms...will the United States continue to stand for free speech for ALL, or will our government attempt to silence those who speak uncomfortable truths from God's Word?
Those who seek to curtail the free speech of Christians need to realize that Christians *do* value this right and that we will not sit by idly while it is taken from us. We as Christians should never feel "less Christian" or "less loving" for working (within the law and in a respectful, loving manner) to preserve that right.
It seems at times that we feel like defending our right to free speech is somehow selfish. And yet...it is that very right that allows us to openly share our faith...which is the most loving thing that we can do for a lost and dying world. As a friend commented on Facebook yesterday, " It is the most loving act to call sin what it is and offer a way to freedom, the Gospel."
We could certainly continue to share our faith if the government set limits on our freedom of speech...people around the world do so every day. But it is much more difficult, and it comes at a very high price. In the meantime, we are currently able to share our faith openly and without threat. We need to appreciate that blessing and steward it well.
We should never use "freedom of speech" as an excuse for poor behavior. We should never take it lightly. We should always remember that many have given their lives to obtain and preserve that freedom. As Christians, we should not seize our right to free speech for selfish purposes, but we should defend and stand firm in it for the purpose of the advancement of the Gospel.