The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America by Eddie Hyatt for Charisma News
The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises serious questions about free speech in America and has ramifications for every Bible-believing Christian.
I am unapologetically pro-Israel. In fact, those on the political left would consider me a Zionist because I believe that the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 was an act of God, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies and restoring His Old Testament covenant people to their ancient homeland. Without question, I disagree with Kyrie’s post.
However, I am also pro-freedom, and it concerns me to see how far some are willing to go in trying to force Kyrie to publicly recant. It has undertones of the old heresy trials in Europe where Jews and dissenting Protestants were threatened with imprisonment and death if they did not align their thinking with those in power.
The parents and grandparents of America’s Founders fled such tyrannical regimes. That is why the Founding Fathers instituted the Bill of Rights guaranteeing freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peacefully assemble and so on.
Knowing, however, the flawed character of human nature, the Founders knew that such freedoms could only function within a moral and virtuous society. An amoral people, with no transcendent moral guide, would turn freedom into anarchy and use free speech as an excuse to malign and destroy their opponents. John Adams addressed this when he said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” (Hyatt, “1726: The Year that Defined America,” 168).
The Founders wanted America to be a free and open marketplace of opinions and ideas, but guided by the moral teachings of Jesus, which would require a strong and lively Church being salt and light in the culture. This is why Thomas Jefferson said, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus” (Hyatt, “1726: The Year that Defined America,” 150).
The Founders also believed in the inherent power of objective truth and were convinced that truth would always prevail on an even playing field. They agreed with John Milton who said, “Let Truth and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?”