I used to have a long list of religious and political intersections. The list has become significantly shorter. Some things on my list would put me at odds with people in my own church. That's one reason I love our church. We come from all over the map (in every way possible). It doesn't matter because we focus on our common ground faith essentials and make allowances for one another in our non-essential fringe opinions. I truly believe diversity is beautiful. I am not going to isolate some incredible people or be isolated because we don't see eye-to-eye on every opinion.
Today, my list of religious and political intersections is very simple- freedom of speech. Without free speech, you cannot oppose injustice, stand for the defenseless, or speak truth without fear of reprisal. Slowly, I see free speech eroding. I'm thinking about it today in the wake of the Don Imus' firing. The guy is a bozo. But, I defend his right to say stupid stuff. I'll say the same thing for Rosie, Jerry Springer, Al Sharpton, Pat Robertson, an even me. God knows I've intentionally and unintentionally said some things in my life I wish I could "unsay."
I see free speech already unfairly infringing on faith. For instance, in Miami-Dade county an Elks Lodge, Weight Watchers, or boy scouts troop can build and own a facility in a small square of land. But, a church cannot be built on any less than 10 acres. This makes it almost impossible for many churches to build and own their own property.
Did you also know that Curves, dentist offices, and Subways can rent a storefront? But, it is almost impossible for a church to do so. I am not a big fan of doing church in a storefront. But, for some, this is how they facilitate worship gatherings. I find those restrictions to be an unfair double-standard...an infringement on free speech.
So, as I reset my expectations for my religious and political intersections, I will still have other heart cries for America: defense of the unborn and less government regulation. But, none so important as free speech. Without it, no other issue can be spoken of. I am left to wonder how far down the road of limiting free speech will we be willing to go?
Pope Benedict XVI makes a
comment regarding the violent nature of Islam. Radical Muslim clerics respond by
denouncing his comments as untrue and then calling for his death. Then, as if it could not get any weirder, on the heals of the assasination of a 70 year old nun in Somalia, the
"profound respect for the
great religions, particularly for Muslims, who worship the one God and with
whom we are committed to defending and promoting together social justice, moral
values, peace and freedom for all humanity."
Is this the same pope that makes absolute statements regarding birth control? Yet, he appears to be saying that Allah who calls Muslim children to die for Mohammed is the same God as our Heavenly Father who sent His Son to die for us? Am I reading this right?
You may remember this cat from a previous post. We'll he's now taking it to the streets via YouTube. I think that the fact that this hack is making it is a bigger testimony to the sage words of P.T. Barnum than to his ability to convince people that he is Christ. Truly, there is a sucker born every minute. Thank you, Neil for the vid.