WASHINGTON, March 30, 2013 ― Dr. Ben Carson recently became a conservative media sensation. After his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, he blazed like a comet across the media sky, appearing on every major conservative radio and television program. If he had towed the liberal line in his remarks, Carson, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, would have continued in the high regard of his academic colleagues and the liberal establishment. But he decided to speak his own mind. He is now persona non grata at the graduation ceremonies at John Hopkins. Carson’s crime was to offend some liberal students and professors.
The very fact that Carson challenged Obama would be offensive enough to the left, but he dared do it to Obama’s face on a national platform. A brilliant black academic became suddenly the stupid black tool of the (white!) GOP.
The very fact that I am speaking my mind and spreading my words through the power of the internet is offensive. It is offensive to those who stand for same sex marriage instead of God’s Word. It is offensive to those who call me an “Uncle Tom” for not blindly following President Obama, not just over the fiscal cliff, but over the cliff that will destroy this nation for all of us. It is offensive to people who hate opinion different from their own. But free speech still lives, if not on university campuses.
The most important skill that should be taught at our universities is to think critically, to approach other ideas with an open mind, to doubt one’s own certainties. It’s ironic that our citadels of critical thought have turned into prisons of the mind; the people who run them have little tolerance for those who think differently than themselves, and they crank out graduates who wither in the face of serious opposition. These people who demand for themselves freedom of speech (and in academia jealously guard their tenure as a guarantee of free thought) gladly shout down competing speech, often labeling it “hate speech.” They demonize opposing opinion as hate.
Recently on Twitter I asked an honest question: What should I should do if I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality? I was hoping for dialogue and conversation. I thought that some thinking people would disagree with me on the subject of same-sex marriage, but that we could reason together. Oh, no! The hate came fast, and furious. Instead respectfully disagreeing or arguing with my position as a Christian, they told me that I believe in fairy tales. Instead of the open dialogue I hoped for, I received tweets urging me to kill myself. The overwhelming consensus argument from those on the other side of the issue was, “shut up!”
Would these people attack Dr. Qasim Rashid? On March 19, Rashid gave a speech at the Howard University School of Law in which he argued that America’s approach to free speech is “archaic.” He argued that it is a form of bullying to speak against Islam here in the United States. He feels the federal government should get involved to stop the burning of Korans. He makes no mention of burning Bibles and The Torah (not common in the United States, but it does occur), and had he meant to include Holy books other than the Koran, he would have said so.
Now here is the lesson to be learned by liberals.
I don’t agree with anything that Rashid said in his speech. But in the United States he has the right to speak his mind. It is also true, to the good doctor’s chagrin, that those who wish to burn Korans, Bibles, and the Torah have the right to do so. They also have right to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the town square, to teach the law as taught by Moses. This is the land of the free, and the very first freedoms provided and ordained by the Constitution are the rights of religion, assembly, petition and speech.
These rights pertain equally to Dr. Rashind, Dr. Carson, Christians, Muslims, you and me.
Would the same liberals who shout down pro-life proponents shout down Rashid? Would the same people who want Carson’s voice quieted at John Hopkins ask Rashid to moderate his tone? Would the same people who said that I believe in fairy tales and should kill myself say that to a Muslim? Would they shout down the Florida Planned Parenthood official who endorsed “post-birth” abortion before the state legislature? Of course not. Speech that they agree with is sacred, no matter how outrageous.
Liberals are bullies and make a habit of characterizing, then demonizing those who are unwilling or unable to defend themselves. If you stand with the Word of God, the left characterizes you not as mistaken, but as a bigot. Well no one wants to be a bigot. There is no way prove a negative in the coliseum of argumentation. So, at that point most people are done, and quiet. Their right to speech is useless if they don’t use it. The left has accomplished their goal, to shut down any opposition to its agenda.
It is only those of us who are not fearful of being characterized as bigots and hate mongers who continue to carry the flag of free speech.
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