Unless you’ve been living in the wilderness with no Facebook, no internet and no TV, you’ve heard about what Phil Robertson said to GQ magazine.
I’m not going to rehash the whole thing here. There are a million other places for you to do that.
Here’s what happens when anyone who is considered a celebrity says something daring.
First, people will line up on both sides of the argument and use their freedom of speech. The supporters chant about how insightful, poignant, and clear the star’s commentary is. Those who disagree criticize, condemn, and complain about those same words.
Second, people on both sides get emotionally involved. If the one you support is attacked, you feel the stab of the enemy arrow. If the speech offends you, you might resort to name calling, character assassination, or unfriending folks on Facebook.
Sure, America is messed up. But if we don’t talk about it, what progress can be made?
Freedom of speech must be universal if it is to be genuine. We all have the right to say something brilliant, funny, comforting, or stupid. However, with rights come consequences. You’re free to speak, but you might be criticized. Say what you want, but remember, there’s no guarantee anyone will listen.
So long as there are people in the world, someone will disagree with you. Everybody has an opinion about everything they think about. Until convinced otherwise, we all believe we are right.
Phil Robertson is a celebrity. While what he says will be heard, he doesn’t have the power to make rules for your life or mine. You can silence him by turning the channel if you wish.
We won’t agree with what everyone says. But if we get to the point of regulating what some say, no matter what side they represent, we create an environment where all speech is regulated.
That’s the makings of a dictatorship.
People who love others love freedom of speech. Words may hurt. Words may heal. The power of conversation is what makes the world better for all of us.
Fight for the right to say what you want. Stand for the right of others to do the same. It’s up to you to use your own words responsibly. Leave others to figure out how to do that by your example.
Maybe then we can get along a little better.