Freedom of Speech?

The sun still shines even when you can’t it.

There are only a few subjects in life that get me a little hot-under-the-collar and I’m grappling with one of these today.

A couple of issues have come to my attention nationally, as well as internationally, that reflect one of these subjects; and the argument I am grappling with has gone around several rabbit warrens this morning and each time it has comes out in a different shape. So I will put it to paper and see what happens.

The issue is of human rights, namely the right to freedom of thought/speech/religion.

I consider freedom of speech a basic fundamental freedom and human right.

Most people, Constitutions, jurisdictions and Courts of Human rights in the world would, in theory, agree.

Societies need laws to protect people from danger and harm and they need consequences to uphold or enforce those laws.

These laws need to equally protect all persons, regardless of gender, class, nationality, religious beliefs, age, education, wealth, status, or any other classification or potential difference.

Freedom of speech, thought and freedom of belief/religion has to apply to all persons in a society, in accordance with common-sense understanding of legal human rights.

But if what I believe, think, read and say is restricted and controlled, what is the nature of the society that results from that? And who is the authority that decides what is acceptable truth or wisdom that the rest of us must all adhere to? The logical progression of such control is a dictatorship and lack of liberty, lack of creativity, expression or growth, amongst many other unbearable consequences.

That said, we do not need to pull all meaning and common sense out of this basic tenet of freedom of speech.

Do I believe that any person should be allowed to say whatever they want, whenever, wherever and to whom they personally desire? Should I be allowed to speak hate, lies and incite hatred or violence?

– Of course not. And there are laws protecting all people from such violations.

Do I believe that all things are true and there is no absolute truth and any interpretation is equal?

– No, but I believe that all persons grapple with interpretation of the truth, and their opinion of it, and that human-beings, regardless of their own opinions, are called to prioritise tolerance, love, peace and a commitment to grow in understanding and integrity.

It is my belief that God made us in His image and gave us free-will; and that “the truth will set you free”.

The sun still shines even when you can’t it.

The truth remains true whether it is believed or not.

With most issues in life, truth is complex and based on a subjective interpretation of life.

What is true to me, may not be your truth and vise-versa.

The important thing is that we learn to listen to one another’s truth, without criticism and without condemnation; that we seek understanding, peace, dialogue and to desire good will and blessings upon every human being, no matter how their views differ from mine.

We do not have to agree with each other, but we need to listen and be honest and tolerate and accept one another as human beings, all beloved children of God.

If you would like to read the petitionary letter to the UK Prime Minister and the issues that ADF are advocating, please check out the link below and see the video highlighting Julia’s experience in Nottingham University.