||2017-06-12 15:41:57, 조회 : 558, 추천 : 112
Voting as a Christian
Freedom of Speech
Chapter 6 (Part 1)
Last week we completed our understanding of the family and why parents are responsible for raising their children. We discussed corporal punishment (i.e discipline, spanking). We learned that the Bible supports discipline because it allows the parent to raise their children with guidance. However, with more and more government control over parenting, corporal punishment has become stigmatized and less acceptable. This not only brings forth a generation of children that is raised without proper discipline, but it goes against what God intends for parents to carry out. Today, we will discuss "freedom of speech" and how this right is understood from a Biblical standpoint and how it is understood in our society today.
Due to our fallen nature and the sin that we are prone to commit, there is always a greater chance from those that have government power to utilize that power for self-benefit rather than for the greater good of the society. Romans 3:23 confirms this when it writes, " for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Unfortunately, government powers often corrupt people. It states in 1Samuel 8:11-17. " He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[a] and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves." With the great possibility of someone in government power to use their powers incorrectly, freedom of speech has been used in order to "restrain" these individuals and to put accountability on them. The great benefit of freedom of speech allows people to speak out against the government when they believe that they are improperly exercising their powers.
The Bible shows support to the idea that the government should be chosen by the people. This is supported by various Biblical verses, such as, Genesis 1:2, Exodus 4:29-31, 2 Samuel 2:4 and Romans 13:4. In a nation that practices freedom of speech, the people will be able to voice what type of government policies they believe is best for their society. Without it, there will be no way the people can choose the government they want. Therefore, it is important that freedom of speech should be in a democratic society as it allows people to express their beliefs and views. Freedom of speech is so important, that the government should protect this liberty. The Bible sees this as a necessary thing to do as the Bible shows support to the protection of liberties (e.g Exodus 20:2, Leviticus 25:10). Freedom of speech also allows the people to express their religious beliefs. This is very important to Christians as it allows us to spread the message in public spaces without penalties.
When we look back to when the U.S Constitution was made, we see that the founders recognized that the freedom of speech was so important that it was included in the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; of 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 First Amendment was made in order to protect the people from the improper use of power among the government officials. This amendment solidified the protection of human liberties, also known as "unalienable rights" such as the freedom of speech.
However, should there be any restrictions placed upon the freedom of speech? There are many restrictions that is not protected by the First Amendment. The first is "defamation." Defamation is in the matter in which the speech is false and can be harmful to the other person. The second is "incitement." Incitement is in the matter in which speech can incite a negative cause like a riot. The third and fourth is obscenity and child pornography.
One of the area that the freedom of speech weighs on is in the campaign finance restrictions. The reason why there are legal restrictions on financial contributions to political campaigns is because it removes the "corrupting influences of money from politics" and "to give every citizen an equal voice in political discussions." However, law professor Bradley Smith writes that "Campaign-finance reform neatly accomplishes Democrats goal of muffling political speech on the right."
The real reason why the Democrats passed this restriction is not to "level" the playing field or to give every person an equal voice, but it was used to disallow the influence of private citizens who want to financially support their choice of candidates.
The real winners of this campaign financial restriction laws are the:
1) Incumbents- Incumbents benefit because they are already the President so everyone knows who they are.
2) Press- The press gains influence because campaigns do not have enough funding for advertising due to these laws. Therefore, most people would be getting their information from the press; however, the press is more liberal leaning in the United States.
3) Labor Unions- The labor unions gain a great influence because they are their greatest contributors in both money and volunteers to the Democratic Party.
4) Hollywood Movies- Just like the press, Hollywood movies are liberal leaning and constantly attack the Republican image.
5) University Faculty Members- Once again, most university faculty members identify themselves as liberals and therefore have a huge influence on the future generation of voters.
6) Super Wealthy Candidates- They do not need funding from anyone else, therefore, what doesn't hurt them can only benefit them.
The reason why restricting campaign contributions is restricting freedom of speech because many times you cannot get a message out to the public without having to pay for advertising. With less money, a campaign has a smaller chance of reaching out to the public (due to a tighter budget).
What can Congress do to solve this problem: make contributions over a certain limit to be public information; therefore, people will know who supports the candidate and what outside influences are on the campaign.
Next week, we will look into the restrictions set on speech in more micro point of view. We will be exploring restrictions in college campuses and on media.
1) What is the freedom of speech? Why do you think this is so important?
2) How does the Bible support the freedom of speech? What does the Bible try to prevent from happening?
3) What is campaign finance restrictions? Do you agree with these restrictions? Why or why not?
4) What areas do you think will be affected if freedom of speech is tampered with?