Where Am I Again?

ATTENTION: Unexpected bonus post.

statue of freedom in U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Tonight I’m wondering what country I’m in.

Earlier today I commented on super blogger Rachel Held Evans’ post. She addressed the latest upset about Rush Limbaugh and how Christians are responding. Her post got a whopping 325 comments before they were closed because of trolls.

Rather than have you rummage through all that, here’s an excerpt of my lengthy comment:

As for Rush, his delivery is faulted, even distasteful. Like it or not, he’s protected just like you and I are under the First Amendment to speak and have a place at the table of public discourse. I would argue that some of his political points are spot-on in line with an evangelical perspective, especially regarding right to life issues. And he has a platform and an audience.

Tonight I revisited to see if Evans responded. She didn’t and I didn’t expect her to. But a couple other bloggers did.

Here’s the reply that zapped me back to the U.S.S.R.:

“Like it or not, he’s protected just like you and I are under the First Amendment to speak and have a place at the table of public discourse.”

Actually, he’s not.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or 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.”

No one is petitioning Congress to make a law about Rush Limbaugh. No one is trying to get the government to intervene. People have asked political figures their opinion, but they have not asked them to legislate on the issue.

No one is guaranteed a podium from which to spew hate speech. They are simply guaranteed freedom from government intervention.

first amendment got your back

Actually he’s not? Again I wonder, what country is this anyway?

The spirit of the First Amendment means everyone may speak even if we disagree. It’s the backbone or at least the ribcage of our other freedoms.

Am I to understand it’s en vogue to toss that spirit on a technicality? It’s now okay to censor as long as it’s not the government that does the dirty work?

Lawyers, scholars, law-abiding Americans, I need you here. Someone, anyone, weigh in, please. I’m listening.

What do ya’ll think?

You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19 NLT

The Beatles, Back in the U.S.S.R.

We will return to regularly scheduled programming in the morning. Good night!

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12 Comments

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12 Responses to Where Am I Again?

  1. I’ll admit, I’m so turned off by the name calling and hatred I’m hearing on both sides of the aisle that I’m totally tuning out the election coverage/conversation. I don’t think people should stop the discussion–I believe that *everyone* has a right to speak up. Whatever their beliefs. I just don’t have to engage with them–especially by being hateful, which is exactly what people claim to be upset about. I wish the *civil* would return to political conversation.

  2. I think he has a “right” to say what he wants, however I also feel he should be held accountable for it, just like the kid in “A Christmas Story” was held accountable for spewing bad words. I also think I have every right in the word to refuse to be part of the audience that moves to whatever each hatespeaker of the day serves up. I don’t watch or listen to shows that spew such venom regardless of the part of the political spectrum they fall in and those are not the publications I subscribe to nor visit online. The sad reality is there are people at each end of the spectrum who forget respect when they speak and they should all be reminded that the vast majority of Americans are far more in the center. Perhaps that way we could actually talk about things that matter and stop devoting time and attention to people who only want attention and don’t care about making a positive contribution. Enough of my rant. (Were you in Nashville? If so, how did I miss you?)

  3. On a completely tangential note: RHE eh? I forget now what the topic was, but I came across her blog and read one of her articles and thought, this person is all wrong. I think it was a theological issue.

    It also got me to wondering how in the world do people garner such a following?! She may well post a lot of good stuff, but say tomorrow, I started getting thousands of hits a day I’d begin to worry. Sure, I’d like more hits, but I’m a complete nobody.

    The internet is a weird place where nobodies can get and often keep large followings, often even if they’re spouting tripe or nothing worthwhie. A bit scary that. Makes discernment all the more pressing in need.

    And makes me desire to be more vigilant about what I’m thinking and writing.

    • I wondered some of the same things. A friend posted her link on FB yesterday to her post, and that’s how I came upon her. It was the first post of hers I’d read and I hadn’t heard of her before. I’m going to follow her for a while to see what else she has to say. My fear is she does not follow reformed theology. Some of the ideas in the post I read yesterday were suspect, but I haven’t read her enough to guess at what she believes.

      Her large following may be in part due to her book Evolving in Monkey Town (that title itself is reason enough to pause). The book was published by Zondervan, a Christian publishing house, but I didn’t see any names I recognized in the publisher’s comments section on amazon. Will have to add the book to my library list and see for myself.

      My other thought is that if she’s a Christian criticizing the church, her bandwagon may have folks who have a bone to pick with the church or God. I don’t know. Ironic that she criticizes Rush when his bandwagon is made up at least in part of folks to have a bone to pick with the government…

      • She’s part of the contingent of young Christians that are trying to rebel. Rebelution. They seem to fall somewhere between orthodoxy, non or heterodoxy and the emergent movement. I don’t recall details exactly, so don’t take my thoughts as fact.

        That said, her book is supposed to be a play off of growing up in/around the town/area where the Scopes Monkey Trial occured.

        But, yes, take her with a grain of seasoned doctrinal salt as you read.

        • Yes, I knew that was the inspiration for the title of the book. Very clever. Better bring my super sea salt shaker with me to this party lol.
          What are they trying to rebel against exactly?

          • I forgot. They’re young. They rebel.

            I think they’re trying to rebel against the secular expectations of their age, the secularization of our culture, the liberalization of our theology. But at the same time I believe they’re trying to distance themselves from some of the old ways of church from what I can gather.

            RHE may not even necessarily directly connect with that movement.

            I dunno… not thinking clearly anyhow right now. Other things going on.

            Ta.

  4. Pingback: Questions Abound in Monkey Town | everyday epistle