“Free speech” is a revered and often talked about principle enshrined into our Constitution. It is as much a part of the fabric of American political and social life today as it has been throughout our Nation’s history. It is, however, a principle that must be vigilantly protected and defended as it is increasingly under attack in today’s culture. As we seek to do just that, those who are tasked with protecting and defending it often do so at great cost.
Ultimately, “free speech” is not truly free. Protecting our constitutional rights by becoming embroiled in a lawsuit takes a great toll on those individuals who are willing to do so despite the costs to their families and everyday life. Several months ago three individuals began a fight to protect against an erosion of our right to engage in free speech in Hemet, California when they read the Bible out loud in front of the Department of Motor Vehicles and were then arrested. All three men have subsequently experienced the costs that maintaining truly “free speech” can exact.
The non-monetary costs are enumerable and often difficult to bear. While we may not all agree with the particular method of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ used by these three men, it is indisputable that they are carrying a burden for us all. Should we all choose to remain silent in the face of great costs, our rights will slowly erode and diminish to such an extent that we will not be able to speak freely in the public square.
This month, the first round of the court battle that looms ahead occurred in federal district court in Los Angeles, California. While we don’t agree with the entirety of the Court’s decision as the Court chose to dismiss a portion of the lawsuit, the most significant aspects of the case will move forward. Please be in prayer as this case forges ahead, recognizing that while “free speech” is not free, it is paramount to our ability to spread the Gospel and live our faith out loud.