No freedom is so precious as the freedom of speech. If Satan can shut that down, then all other freedoms are squelched. Much of the world`s political regimes have no tolerance for such an awesome freedom. But the so-called Western World has stood firm for several centuries protecting this freedom.
However, new forces are beginning to erode the wall. Examples include the arrest last year of Peter LaBarbera and Bill Whatcott at the University of Regina in Canada. Their offence was simply holding up signs and passing out flyers presenting God`s opinion about abortion and homosexuality. They were arrested in April and charged with "mischief." Free speech became the central issue in the subsequent trials which have yet to be concluded. When university officials asked them to leave, they refused on free speech grounds.
Whatcott is a Canadian citizen and has stood firm in his bold public stand against abortion and sodomy.
LaBarbera is a U.S citizen who is president of Americans For Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), one of the most prominent organizations standing for traditional marriage.
In late October, LaBarbera returned to Canada to stand trial with Whatcott on the mischief charge. Upon arrival, he was detained by customs agents who thoroughly searched his phone, laptop and papers in his luggage looking for evidence of violation of Canada`s "incitement to hate" laws. They confiscated a DVD produced in Russia called "Sodom" on that premise. Testimony during the trials centered around free speech questions.
Canada`s constitutional guarantees for freedom of speech are not as solid as in the U.S., however, but the attacks are from two directions: homosexual rights and Muslim pressure. The incident above is the result of legislation granting homosexuals the same legal rights that religion, race and ethnicity enjoy. Homosexual activists are demanding that any speech that disagrees with their agenda be outlawed as "hate speech." Canada has bought this reasoning and the arrests mentioned above show the result.
Muslims, on the other hand, are using their "blasphemy" laws in their Qur`an-based Sharia legal system to convict anyone who "disrespects" Allah or Muhammad.
The world first became generally aware of this when Salmon Rushdie published a book called "The Satanic Verses." Muslim leaders took offence and put out a call to kill Rushdie. At the time that seemed laughable until Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was assassinated for a movie deemed critical of Islam and Muslims rioted in Europe and the Middle East over the publishing of some cartoon characterizations of Muhammad by a Danish newspaper. Rushdie spent years in hiding and the Western World suddenly realized that the threats were no laughing matter.
The advance against this essential freedom has emerged because of the Western World`s forsaking righteousness. We are destroying God`s plan for solid, stable families by legalizing the sin of homosexuality and abortion, and idolizing evil musicians and corrupt entertainers.
In the past, immigrants who came for the economic opportunities were sure to be exposed to the gospel or at least to a culture that honored biblical principles. During that time, Muslims were discouraged by their leaders from coming to the U.S. because they risked exposure to a loving God who wanted them free from their bondage to Allah. Now, the church is so weak and the culture so pagan, Muslims come touting their high morality of the Sharia, vowing to conquer and clean up the corruption in the West. But where they gain control, freedom of speech dies along with most other freedoms.
Bottom line: righteousness is the only answer and saturation with no-nonsense gospel tracts has a long history of calling people back to righteousness. But they won`t work unless we get them out there.