Why Value Free Speech?

Dr. Douglas Groothuis

The First Amendment to the Constitution gives us freedom of speech as a right, but it does not guarantee that truth will be well received or that people will fairly assess matters. Your right to free speech also gives you the right to be wrong. Nevertheless, freedom of speech should be prized and protected, since it gives us the best shot at finding the truth about what matters most. It is better to defend an idea against attack than to silence the opposition. It is better to be refuted than to be muzzled, and it is far better to win a rational argument with an interlocuter than to cancel any opposition to it—and it is more fun, too.

Followers of Jesus have much to speak about, since Jesus is the truth incarnate and he has commissioned his followers to take his truth to the world. Therefore, they should prize, defend, and take advantage of the free-speech heritage of America. Freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, and of assembly should be a bulwark against any state censorship of conscience, creed, or confession. But whatever the political climate or legal strictures, we have no choice but to speak the truth in love about what matters most.

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