Freedom – Village News
After celebrating July 4, let’s stop to remind ourselves that there was a reason the founders of our country chose to place the following amendment first among those in the Bill of Rights.
Congress will not make any law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise of it; or restrict freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble peacefully and demand redress from the government for their grievances.
So many early settlers in America risked the perilous journey across the sea for the specific purpose of getting to a place where they could worship as they pleased; where the government would neither force them to join an established national church, nor in any way prevent them from worshiping at will.
The First Amendment ensures that every American can not only worship in their own way, but also speak without being censored, as well as peacefully assemble and petition the government. This is one of the main reasons people have continued their quest to be a part of this great experience of freedom.
But freedom requires vigilance. As President Dwight Eisenhower warned, history does not for long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. And free speech is the only thing bullies know they need to stifle. As former slave Frederick Douglass noted, freedom is meaningless where the right to express one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the fear of tyrants. It’s the only right they kill first.
It’s easy to say you believe in free speech when someone says something you agree with, but the test comes when you stand up for someone’s right to say things you don’t. disagree. Salmon Rushdie received a fatwa for his life after he published the satanic verses that angered Ayatollah Khomeini. After years in hiding, Rushdie said, “Defending free speech starts when people say something you can’t stand. If you can’t stand up for their right to say it, then you don’t believe in free speech. . ”
Growing alarmed by what appears to be a growing censorship of free speech in America by tech companies, the media and even some members of the government, Erwin Lutzer, in his new book “We Will Not Be Silenced”, echoed what Rushdie said with the statement, “You don’t believe in free speech unless you give others the right to offend you by what they say.” This right is what made the United States outstanding among nations, and one of the main reasons we celebrate July 4th.
I get annoyed when I see some of the efforts to “rewrite” our history. While I recognize some of the horrible mistakes and injustices of the past, these are lessons we can learn from and should not be erased from American history, as happened during the Bloody Revolution. culture in China. It was then that Mao Zedong decreed that China must get rid of all traces of Western capitalist influence. The Red Guards took to the streets and the monuments were destroyed. Western literature was burnt and buildings famous.
President Kennedy’s speechwriter Arthur Schlesinger wrote: “History is for the nation as much as memory is for the individual. The individual who loses his memory does not know where he came from or where he is going and he becomes dislocated and disoriented.
Let us cherish and protect the freedoms we have in America.