CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

How Long Before We Cannot Speak Out?

May 5, 2008

Today we see a steady erosion of freedom, especially freedom of speech, in much of the West. This is most often seen in the assault on Judeo-Christian morality, and attacks on those who dare to express their deeply held moral concerns.

Western freedoms are slowly being whittled away, and a large part of this is coming from the secular left. Their attack on Judeo-Christian morality, especially in the public arena, is both undermining our free institutions, and resulting in some direct assaults on those who seek to uphold moral values.

Increasingly those who hold to traditional moral views are being targeted in the public square by the secularist thought police. Political correctness, bogus notions of vilification, and attempts at setting up hate crime legislation are all propelling this.

Examples abound of the attempt to silence those who would dare to speak up for morality and faith. Whole volumes have been penned on this. One new book, with the sobering title Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It’s Wrong, nicely makes this case.

Chuck Colson, in two recent columns, discusses this important book. He warns that we are quickly losing our right to speak out. He begins with these words: “David Woodard is a political science professor at Clemson University – one who has first-hand experience on how dangerous it can be to speak out in favor of traditional values: He almost lost his job over it.”

Colson explains how Woodard – a co-author of this new book – testified at a court case on the political power of the homosexual lobby. “To publicly oppose the campaign for same-sex ‘marriage’ and gay rights was, he writes, ‘the equivalent to being sent to the university Gulag.’ He was denied an administrative position on the grounds that he was ‘ideologically incompatible’ with the values of the university. He often found the word homophobe scribbled on his office door. The press viciously attacked him for his views.”

Yet while he was being publically attacked, in private he was being encouraged – but only through whispers: “People would call to whisper encouragement. So did parents and university staffers. Some students came into his office, carefully closed the door, and whispered their support. ‘The one thing they all had in common is that they were all scared, and they all spoke in whispers,’ Woodard writes.”

It is not just the issue of homosexuality that has so many people having to resort to whispers. It seems that anyone who wants to stand up and defend traditional morality is doing so at great risk. “This can come sometimes in the form of ridicule and intimidation – sometimes with lawsuits, as we at Prison Fellowship know so painfully well after three years of fighting Americans United over our successful prison program in Iowa. All too often, secularist judges and legislators have thrown the power of the law behind their views – making it ever harder to speak out for traditional positions.”

Colson continues, “But as Woodard and DeMint point out, ‘historically, freedom of speech is crucial in any democracy.’ They note that our founders understood that the ability to express our differences publicly was democracy’s substitute for violence. Democracy is – by definition – conversation about what is good and what is right and wrong; what is fair to all. ‘The demise of good government comes when this conversation is abbreviated, as we believe it has been,’ Woodard and DeMint write. The result: We are now suffering from, as John Stuart Mill put it, the ‘tyranny of prevailing opinion’.”

And it is not just a question of freedom of speech. The behaviours that moral conservatives warn about are quite costly – to every one of us. Colson provides some examples from Why We Whisper: “For example, there is the cost in treating sexually transmitted diseases. Research shows that more than half of all Americans will contract a sexually transmitted disease at some point. The cost: Some $17 billion in higher taxes and health insurance costs every year. And that does not include secondary costs, like treating cervical cancer, infertility, birth defects, and brain damage. And yet, our government does little or nothing to discourage premarital sex.”

“And then there are the huge costs of out-of-wedlock childbearing. Welfare costs alone to single-parent families amount to $148 billion per year. We pay indirectly, as well, through costs associated with child abuse – much more common in single-parent homes – and in higher crime rates.”

There are plenty of other examples of how the moral anarchists are costing us all: “We also pay huge economic bills associated with pornography and government-sponsored gambling. We pay for the easy availability of divorce and for the choice of many to cohabit instead of marry. In time we will, like Scandinavian countries, be asked to pay the economic costs of destroying traditional marriage.”

The truth is, unlimited moral freedom comes with a huge price tag, one which we all have to pay for, even if we do not engage in the immoral activities ourselves. Destructive behaviours are not just private matters, but affect us all. Thus we have every right to speak out about those areas of morality that concern us.

As Colson concludes, “If special-interest groups and liberal lawmakers tell us to pipe down and stop trying to ‘impose our morality’ on everyone else, we need to remind our leaders of that little clause in the Constitution: the one that talks about promoting the general welfare.”

Private actions have public consequences, and our rulers need to bear this in mind. Instead of seeking to silence the moral conservatives, they should be listening to them more intently. And those of us seeking to express our concerns in the public arena must stand strong, being willing to face the intimidation and attacks that will invariably come.

Freedom has to be defended, and that means taking a stand even when it is costly to do so. As Ronald Reagan once warned, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Now is not the time to grow sheepish, but to redouble our efforts to stand for what is right, despite the secular jihad from our critics.

www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=7803
www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=7820

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17 Responses to How Long Before We Cannot Speak Out?

  • Thanks Bill. This is an important message.

    I just thought about a brief passage from the Sermon on the Mount after reading your blog entry

    Matthew 5:13-16(NIV)
    “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

    You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

    A key thing to remember is that standing up for what is right is not merely a verbal thing, it requires perhaps more importantly for us to do what is right as well.

    If we do not stand up for what is right? Who will. We are called the light of the world. Light and darkness do not mix. So if we are the light, then the rest is darkness. If we do not stand up for what is right, then nobody will. (Of course I understand that some non-Christian people may stand up for some of what is right, but they won’t stand up for everything that is right. For example I disagree with my favourite newspaper columnist on at least one major issue.)

    The fewer our numbers become or the greater the opposition the more desperate the situation becomes, the more as you say we need to “redouble our efforts”.

    If we do ‘redouble our efforts’ and God is with us then who knows what may happen? God is all powerful and can and does do more for us than we can possibly imagine.

    Matthew Mulvaney

  • Mark Rabich, in my view, your post from the previous article of Bill’s is indeed the most chilling and illuminating that I have read anywhere and clearly, like no other, spells out the shape of things to come – because it is based on evidence that we can see with our own eyes and not on reasoned argument alone. This takes me to my next point, which is, as Frank Norros so ably demonstrates, reasoned argument with militant, born-again secularists is a total waste of time (but prayer is not). Frank, you could be Socrates, or Robert Gagnon himself, but I think you’re trying to talk through a brick wall about two billion miles thick. Reason has no place in this debate; it is about will. One only has to follow some of the debates in Parliament to sense the anguish and frustration of Christian politicians, or those who still operate on reason, when trying to debate with people whose will is set like stone. Having said that, it is vitally important that we Christians exercise every bit of grey matter we have, in order to understand the war in which we find ourselves, to identify the human face of the enemy and then to explain this to our congregations and isolated fellowships.

    We then, as Florence Ong, Michael Mifsud and Andrew Vnderven have said, have got to do something else. We cannot remain paralysed by confusion or indecision. We have to prepare ourselves. And this, in the words of the Archbishop Gerald Venables, will be costly.

    The following link, I believe explains the war in which we find ourselves.
    http://www.gaysandfascism.com/note/gay_note_2nd_march_2007.htm

    It is simply that the secularists, humanists, atheists and materialists (SHAMs) are determined to clear the board of Christians and to impose with an iron rod their own ideology. In Britain the Joint Council of Equality and Human Rights came out with a truly astounding statement regarding sex education in schools:

    “In our view there is an important difference between this factual information [about sexual morality] being imparted in a descriptive way as part of a wide-ranging syllabus about different religions, and a curriculum which teaches a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true. The latter is likely to lead to unjustifiable discrimination” (paragraph 67 from the above link).

    The Joint Council of Equality and Human rights espouses the cause of inclusion and non discrimination and yet, in black and white it demonstrates exclusion and discrimination: it excludes the possibility that there are some sexual acts which might be good and some that are evil. It claims to be the ultimate, absolute and objective authority by claiming that there is no ultimate and objective authority. They have set themselves up as (to appropriate the words of Anselm) “that beyond which nothing of any greater truth, morality or conscience can be conceived”.

    And wneed to recognise that their first target is the biblically defined family. Nothing less than war has been declared on families that are based on Christian values. We are at war! I believe by now my own church is coming round to realising that “we have a problem Houston.” I am therefore in the process of trying to put together a presentation, explaining (and like the good doctor Luke) putting in order all that has happened. Having explained the war we are in and identified the human face of the enemy ( Stonewall and Gaydar), we need to work out a strategy so that we are not picked off one by one. The strategy of the lion is always to cut out and isolate his victim from the herd. We need to be grouping and going on the offensive, before we sleepwalk into a hell on earth.

    David Skinner, Dorset UK

  • A good relevant article by American Jewish commentator Dennis Prager: http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/6695

    David Skinner, UK

  • And then there was the fascist like behaviour of lesbian activists at Smith College whose protests wouldn’t allow someone of a different opinion to speak. You can watch the video here but I find it makes my blood boil so I stop it after a while – http://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen/08a/born_gay_hoax/smith_0329/index.html
    Damien Spillane

  • Increasingly I wonder whether in Australia we’ll end up having our own underground Church. In some ways I wouldn’t agree with the title of your blog entry – ‘How Long Before We Cannot Speak Out?’. As Christians we are called to speak out, regardless of any law our society makes to the contrary. I have read in Richard Wurmbrand’s book ‘Tortured for Christ’ stories of how people spoke out knowing that they would be jailed and tortured as a result.

    Despite the attempts to silence the underground Church it is alive and well and growing even today.

    When I was younger I would have laughed at suggestions that we may have a persecuted church that has to go underground, here in Australia during my lifetime. Now, I think it is almost certain.

    My grandfather’s fought in WWII for the freedom of he people in our land. Now the freedoms that many of my grandfathers’ comrades died defending are under threat. I find that appalling.

    Matthew Mulvaney

  • I have a secret hope that ‘hate crimes’ will become law and then thousands of Christians turn up on the steps of Parliament House on a specified date, and, one by one state:

    “My name is _____ and I agree with God’s Word when it says that homosexuality is wrong.” (or something similar)

    Kids, grandmothers, blacks, Indians, Asians, women & men. Just how many criminals can the court system cope with? Maybe someone with legal expertise can help me out here as to the ramifications of a scenario like this.

    Mark Rabich, Melbourne

  • Thanks Mark

    But my fear is that as things get darker for believers, some will stand up and be counted, but many will not. How many believers really have the courage of their convictions? How many are really willing to take a stand for what is right, even if it means facing arrest and imprisonment? And how many have in fact already abandoned Biblical morality and moral absolutes, and therefore would not even see the need to take a stand on this issue, or similar issues?

    I hope I am not being unduly pessimistic here. I guess time will tell.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I can understand your reaction, but I think that we might have an advantage here in Australia at least in that certain countries have gone further down the track than us. As their church freedoms evaporate, and, if this is properly publicized, maybe the church in Australia will wake up when something can still be done.

    Video clips like the one from MassResistance above will become more and more prevalent and this can be a powerful tool if used well. The militant and hateful tactics of pro-gay activists will be plain for everybody to see. But ’tis true, I’m not holding my breath – I’ve encountered some Christian friends in the last year or so who equivocate over the immorality of something as easily objectively proved wrong as abortion. I was considerably nonplussed.

    Mark Rabich, Melbourne

  • Matthew, I wonder whether you are aware of the fact that, when in 1974, Richard Wurmbrand, (http://members.cox.net/wurmbrand/wurmbrandbio.html) was being interviewed in America, he was asked , “ do you think American Christians are going to experience what you experience?”
    “ No,” he answered thoughtfully, “ I don’t think it’s going to come. I think it’s already here; in America, I experience ten times more demonic spiritual oppression fighting to make me draw back ( to keep silent) than I ever experienced in a dungeon.” How prophetic he was.

    Bill, you have mentioned in previous articles Martin Neimoller, a German pastor and Holocaust survivor who paid a heavy price for faith and freedom, who said

    “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up”.

    We are also reminded that although the overthrow of the Romanian tyrant, Ceausescu, in 1989,was started by the courage of one Hungarian priest by the name of Laszlo Tokes, it was not an easy or bloodless revolution. I was costly .http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:dyLTkrkpX2kJ:www.georgefox.edu/academics/undergrad/departments/soc-swk/ree/ELLIOTT.TOK.doc+Laszlo+Tokes.timisoara+revolution&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=uk

    I naively wrote to Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth 11 in December of 2006, asking her to intervene against the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations and to uphold her Coronation Oath, which was to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ministers of the Anglican Church . I reminded her of the story of queen Esther, suggesting that it was for this very moment she had been called to protect her people. Needless to say she never rose to the challenge. On the other hand I believe Archbishop Gerald Venables has been called for this very time: http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/index.php/2008/05/04/archbishop-gregory-venables-addresses-convention-in-fort-worth/

    Mark, I believe you are right, with the internet, Christians have no excuse for not informing people but for how long we will have even this freedom we cannot tell. We need to work now whilst we have the freedom.
    http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/index.php/2008/04/16/brave-new-world-brazil-the-noose-tightens/ http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2008/rellib/google_08apr08.htm

    David Skinner, UK

  • I think another factor working against the scenario that Mark is hoping for, is the fact that the changes occur gradually. If all the outrageous measures that Bill and others have been reporting on were to happen all at once, then there may well be some kind of revolt by the church. As it is, these things change little by little and each time the church tends to accommodate. It is an incremental process just like the proverbial frog being slowly cooked to death in a gradually heating saucepan of water. He won’t jump out even though he can – his body temperature instead keeps adjusting to the water around him.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • When a community is consistently censored, especially a large one, isn’t this one of the ingredients for civil war?

    Censoring and hate legislation basically says that person A is more protected and therefore more valuable to society then person B. The other swing of the pendulum is something worse filling the vacuum that Christianity is leaving behind. You can see lots of fascists/nationalists groups re-appearing now in Europe. If the common person feels they are being margianlised – be that by Islam, militant atheism or gay thought police – and the Church is gone, where else do they have to turn?

    It’s the tyranny of tolerance – we tolerate everything except Christianity.

    Michael Mifsud

  • Matthew at 9pm, you are forecasting a brilliant concept of the underground Church for Australia. Well, without being too smart about your suggestion it already exists.
    I can introduce you to a few hundred thousand men (and I do not know how many women) who are witness to a string of miracles which have shaped and preserved much of our Christain heritage over recent decades.
    Come with me some freezing night to a mountain top and you will see warriors pulling down enemy strongholds and smashing the evil powers of darkness like those mentioned in Bil’s article. Well you are out of luck. I am not about to blow their cover. But if you search diligently you will find. A good read is Derek Prince’s book. “Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting”.
    Join the underground Church in Australia or start one.
    http://www.onemillionaussies.org.au
    Desmond Higgs

  • Today, in Britain the House of Commons will be voting on whether to accept a free speech amendment to the proposed new crime of inciting homophobic hatred that carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years. Today whilst we go about our daily lives and the sun is shining, we are oblivious to the fact that the lights in Britain may go out here forever. Please pray for us and yourselves.

    During the debates, in both the House of Commons and Lords, discussion on the real issues surrounding homosexual practice have been censored, such as:

    1. The mental, physical, emotional, and societal health risks ssurrounding homosexuality (http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-6138.html).

    2. The despair of homosexuals http://www.timeout.com/london/gay/features/3892.html (death wish of homosexuals)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=506197&in_page_id=1773 (Kevin greening -risks and drugs and the face of homosexuality )

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=449526&in_page_id=1766&ito=1490 (suicide of Garry Frisch, founder of Gaydar.com),

    3.The violence of homosexual practice http://www.folsomstreetfair.com/documents/2007_Official_Folsom_Street_Fair_Guide.pdf

    http://www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/publications/gaymengerneralinformation/bottomlinethirdedition124.pdf (Terrance Higgins Trust and its dream for our children)

    http://www.hardcell.org.uk/bunker04.htm (Terrance HigginsTrust)

    http://www.tht.org.uk/howwecanhelpyou/youngpeople/thtatnumber10/ (Gordon Brown’s encouragement of Terrence Hiiggins Trust. Play the video).

    4. The promiscuity (http://www.guardian.co.uk/gayrights/story/0,,2015220,00.html,

    5. Paedophilia http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1886783.ece (just prior to his arrest, I had an incandescent row with my atheist sister in law who has two young children of her own and who was playing in Robert King’s Baroque Consort. She accused me of being a narrow-minded homophobic bigot. Needless to say she has said nothing since)

    http://www.christian.org.uk/pdfpublications/HYP.pdf (Peter Tatchell’s promotion of paedophilia; scroll down to page 44)

    http://www.petertatchell.net/ (Click on “Age of Consent” and then “I’m 14, I’m Gay & I Want a Boyfried)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partij_voor_Naastenliefde,_Vrijheid_en_Diversiteit (legitimate paedophile political party in Holland).

    The point I wish to make is one that Soren Kierkegaard made when he said that “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use,” and “How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.”

    That is precisely what is being fought for at the moment, the freedom of speech, but not the freedom of thought. Finally there comes the question for all Christians in the comfortable west which is how often have we used our freedom of speech to tell others of Jesus Christ ? That freedom of speech is about to be taken away but for many of us it wont have made the slightest difference.

    David Skinner, UK

  • David Skinner, I believe I did see you mentioned those comments of Wurmbrands once before, but thanks for mentioning them again. Repetition is an essential part of learning.

    We do have spiritual oppression over here in Australia, but I think the physical persecution our Church suffers over here in Australia is nothing in comparison to some places in the world. Although it looks like we are moving towards it.

    Desmond Higgs, I guess you are right in a way. Situation such as the Two Danny’s comes to mind, not to mention all that is happening over in the UK. Although Christians such as myself are often involved in private meetings we do not face the issues where the government is actively seeking to find out whose involved, arrest them and brutally torture them both physically and mentally for years. There are some aspects of the underground Church that we do not face over here, at least at the moment. We still have some freedoms, that places such as Romania in part of the 20th century lacked.

    But we do need to be mindful of what Ewan said, that change is a gradual process. We get used to it. Perhaps I am getting a little to used to the way things are changing at the moment. We face the very real prospect that many of the freedoms we currently have could be taken away.

    Desmond, we both like reading books from the same preacher. I am currently reading a book by Derek Prince, I regularly watch and listen to him preach as well and the book you mentioned is one of the books I’d like to get at some stage and read.

    Matthew Mulvaney

  • Homophobic is a meaningless term anyway. Homo, root word for human. Phobic, knee-jerk reaction of fear. So, is a homo-phobe someone who “fears humans”? If used in the same context as homo-sexual (sameness) is a homo-phobe someone who fears sameness?

    The insanity continues.

    Michael Mifsud

  • MM, since ????? (phobos) is Greek, we should presume that homo has the Greek meaning of same not the Latin meaning of human. So the crass term “homophobe” means someone who fears the same, as you note.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Hi JS,
    The reason I included both definitions was because I don’t know what the original person was thinking when he coined the term. Was he thinking in Greek terms or did he derive it from “homo sapien” which is Latin. I think it’s the later. Though the point was more to highlight how farcical the whole thing is anyway. Where the meanings of words are misused for political ends – ala 1984.
    Michael Mifsud

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