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Freedom Of Speech Under Attack — By the Pope?

Freedom of Speech Voltaire

Freedom of speech is under attack worldwide. The attack is being spearheaded by Islamic apologetic groups like CARE who want all disparaging remarks about Allah, Mohammed and Islam itself to be outlawed. That would server their purpose well — to quash anything negative people have to say about their belief system.

But I never thought I’d hear anyone in Christian leadership say anything to restrict people’s freedom of speech. Now the Pope has come out suggesting that freedom of speech doesn’t include the right to belittle others’ faiths. Hmmm… I think all the Biblical prophets decried false belief systems and some even went further and physically destroyed their idols and temples.

I’d like you to read the Biblical account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal which illustrates a powerful prophet of God mocking the false god Baal.

I Kings 18:1-40  So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 

When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 

Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.

Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 

Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 

Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of theLord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 

So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 

So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 

Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 

Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 

With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahsa of seed. 

He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

“Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.

“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 

The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 

Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

The key verse I wanted you to see is repeated below:

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 

Now tell me what’s the difference between this and drawing a cartoon that mocks Allah or Mohammed? The comparison I’m making is even closer than you think. If you research Allah and Baal you will see the connection.

I included verse 40 above to show you what a true man of God did to false prophets in Old Testament times. As Christians today we are not to resort to violence to cleanse the land of counterfeit gods and belief systems, because our battle is not physical, as it was in the Old Testament, but is spiritual.

II Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)

Ephesians 6:10-13  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Our warfare is carried out spiritually and words — yes words — are our ammunition. God’s Word specifically is our “sword of the spirit” by which we not only defend but advance the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Freedom of Speech Is the Right To Dissent

Any society that restricts people’s God-given freedom of speech does so to prevent it’s people from speaking against the government of that society.  The entire reason we have freedom of speech is to give us the ability to dissent. It’s the only form of control that prevents the free exchange of ideas. Without the free exchange of ideas, nobody can say anything against what someone else says and does.

Dissent is healthy and dissent promotes progress. Let’s look at a definition of Dissent.

dis·sent
dəˈsent/
verb
  1. hold or express opinions that are at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially expressed.
    “two members dissented from the majority”
noun.
  1. the expression or holding of opinions at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially held.
    “there was no dissent from this view”
    synonyms: disagreement, difference of opinion, argumentdispute; More

When you take away the right to dissent, you take away all opposition to whatever it is you want to do. This is why the highly influential Muslim think tanks are trying to get United Nations laws passed to restrict saying anything against their god and their prophet.

But would they observe the same thing?  Of course not. CARE wants to restrict any form of expression of Christianity period.  They made a statement saying they were offended because the Seahawks football team was seen praying after their playoff game last Sunday. According to CARE, that should not have been televised.

There is No Freedom without Freedom of Speech

Without freedom of speech there is no freedom, it’s as simple as that. Freedom of speech is the only thing that allows us to challenge things that are wrong. When you take that right away, you have paved the path to dictatorship and even more oppression.

We need to defend our God-given right to free expression  no matter who says it should be curtailed. Respect is one thing, but I do not respect error and will continue to speak out on behalf of the truth. I invite you to join in.

 

The original article is published here.

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