THE PARDONING OF SPEECH
by CHARLES ROBEY
(MOODY AL USA)
Unless you’ve been hiding under the proverbial rock, you are probably well aware that America’s Constitution is still alive and well, especially the free speech contained in the First Amendment.
“One of the most important and contested constitutional rights is the right to free speech in the First Amendment. This prevents the government from imposing criminal penalties or civil sanctions on citizens based on what they say or write. While the constitutional text specifically prevents Congress from infringing on the freedom of speech and the press, the First Amendment applies to all types of government actors at federal, state, and local levels.” (justia.com/constitutional-law/freedom-of-speech-under-the-constitution)
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. “(The US Constitution, Amendment I)
"What if the President of the United States outlawed your version of the Bible because he considered it to be a threat to his rule? Just imagine that he authorized a new Government "approved" version for you to read instead. The king of England, King James, did just that in the year 1611. King James hated the "Geneva Bible, as he took the Bibles study notes to be "revolutionary and seditious." The Geneva Bible, the king thought, was a threat to his authority, so he outlawed it and ordered a new translation of the Bible - the King James Version. Not to take away from the excellent King James translation, it was simply edited and authorized by the Government.” (https://blogs.reinhardt.edu/history/the-banned-bible/)
Wait just a minute! What about all those presidential Executive Orders? Do they not oftentimes go directly against our great Republic’s Constitution? Why then so many illegal presidential dictates? How do these dictates compare with that of King James?
In George Washington’s address to the officers of the Continental Army, March 15, 1783, we see the following, “For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.”
Now, this so happens to be where our blog begins. Was it a dream, a vision, a figment of imagination, or just a look back in time? Well, you be the judge, here goes. Another of my strange dream world adventures, staring me right in my sleepy subconscious mind? Let’s label this unusual nighttime adventure “The Pardoning of Speech.”
“Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.“ (Ephesians 4:25-32)
Dad, bless his big pea picking heart, was known for two major initiatives. That of being a stanch preacher of the gospel, coupled by being a loyal American patriot. Oh yes, he was also somewhat of a prophet, with his last written prophecy to me.
“Being a stanch patriotic Christian, I’m no longer surprised of what I see coming from the halls of societal media, from the progressive grapevine, or even in some cases from the main line church circles. Because I am thoroughly convinced, we are now living in what the scripture labels the latter times, as we know it to be.” (I Timothy 4:1-3) (II Timothy 3:1-9,13) (II Timothy 4:3-4)
“Not only is God’s holy word being discredited, so is our Republic’s tried and true Constitution. In particular, the bases of these thoughts, our First Amendment’s fundamental freedoms. Just where will this disconcertion end? So, my son, I charge you with this.” (II Timothy 4:1-2) Amen!
So, I found myself standing in the shadows of a rather large metropolitan federal prison, surrounded by a multitude of news reporters. Each one was waiting patiently for what was about to take place under the shadow of this depressing-looking place of confinement.
“Excuse me, kind Sir, why all the excitement here of all places? What’s about to take place?". "Who is the notorious prisoner, who is about to be turned loose? What was he in for? What does he stand for? Why all the posters I've seen labeling this prisoner by the nick-name “Speech”?, I asked the person standing next to me.
Not meaning to be such a chatterbox, but these questions just seemed to come rolling right off my tongue, before I realized it. Guess I too had gotten caught up in all the excitement.
“Well, don't you know, haven’t you heard?” was the quick reply. “He’s about to be released. He’s about to be freed. Speech will be free at last. He will be coming out of that big federal prison's iron gate any minute now.”
Without needing an introduction, this man came running out at full speed, hands raised, holding up the two-finger peace sign in total delight. A big, bold announcement of “Speech Is Free At Last” had been embroidered on his pure white sweatshirt telling of his long overdue release.
The crowd quickly and vigorously applauded his release from the shadows of his confinement. His face shone with clear, understandable joy. He had been accused of reading the Bible and US Constitution on the street corner without a license to do so. If not for the dedication of his loyal followers, he’d still be locked up.
Not all was so blissful, however, for a lone, liberal-minded tower guard could be heard above the excitement of the joyous crowd, “You’ll be back in within a month, Mr. Speech, you won’t hold out.” This one remark was quickly drowned out by the excited crowd of witnesses.
Yes, this released prisoner, known to all by his one-word name Speech, was finally free at last, after a long, unjust period of confinement. But before I could celebrate with the crowd, it was all over. My dream had ended. I found myself back home, lying in bed.
But wait. What’s this on television? There was a most unusual scene coming from outside the high court of the land. People and posters were everywhere. Some were against, but most were in favor of a long-awaited court ruling.
I turned up the sound and heard it stated that the First Amendment of our Constitution had been confirmed. It was once and for all upheld by the court, over the objection of a small contingency of progressive, liberal protestors.
Wait, who is he? Why is he there, the apparent center of attention, standing on that large soap box, wearing a white sweat shirt proclaiming “Free Speech?” Well, maybe I’ve not missed it after all. Amen!
So, is the abridging, (shortening, editing, condensing) our Constitution’s freedom of speech legally binding? I think not. Can a government overrule such a legal document? I think not. So, why all the hassle involved within the appointed and elected powers-that-be, in the misleading or the noncompliance with this great document?
According to Dr. Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, “The framers of the American Constitution combined the best political ideas of the past with innovations in what The Federalist called an improved science of politics: federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances. Doing so, they created a form of government which had, in the words of James Madison, ”no model on the face of the earth."
“Because men are not angels, government is necessary. Because no man stands to another as God to man, or as man to beast, government must be based on consent. The moral foundation of the Constitution is in the Declaration of Independence and its principle of equal rights. Under the Constitution, government was to be limited to protecting those rights.”
"In recent decades, the way our government operates has departed from the Constitution. It has become less limited, and our liberties less secure. At the same time, true civic education in America - education in the Constitution - has largely died out.”
So, I ask you, where do our great Republic’s founding dictates now stand, here in the Twenty-First Century? I hope and pray our Constitutional rights will always remain in effect. Amen! What about you my good friend?