The 1st Amendment
In the United States of America, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution reaffirms our God given right to freedom of speech. The text clearly states that Congress shall not make any laws that limit individual or group use of speech. There is no mention of any technicalities or extenuating circumstances that limit speech in any way.
“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.”
The reason that only Congress is mentioned in the 1st Amendment is because they are the Legislative Branch of our Government. In other words, the Constitution only grants Congress the authority to create laws. Therefore, the heart of the 1st Amendment is this… The United States Government cannot make speech or any form of speech illegal.
The consequences of making words illegal
Those calling for the abolition of certain words or forms of speech are missing a very important point. If the Government can limit some forms of speech, it can limit any form of speech. One may believe that another shouldn’t be free to use hateful speech, but who should be responsible for defining what is considered hateful speech? The Government? The problem is that what one individual believes is hateful speech, another may believe that it is not. And advocating that the Government should intervene in what should or shouldn’t be said by citizens could lead us to a never ending path of speech control.
Our nation was founded on the idea that government should be restrained from limiting individual liberty. The Founding Father’s believed with good reason, that an individual’s right to speak was more important than an individual’s right to not be offended. In other words, one could be free to speak their mind and the other could choose how to respond. “A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Proverbs 15:1-2
Speech that pleases God
God never gave the Government the authority to limit speech of individuals. When we decide that Government should determine what we say or don’t say, we have created a false idol for ourselves. This is an idea the Founding Father’s understood well. God should govern our speech, not Government. Government should not govern over every detail of our lives because that role has already been filled by a loving Heavenly Father.
As followers of Christ, there are words that we should not speak. We should seek to glorify God with our speech and let His word guide us in doing so. The 1st Amendment ensures that as U.S. citizens, we can say whatever we want, but as followers of Christ we should say only that which brings God glory. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
We should allow God’s word to transform us instead of allowing the Government to conform us. Let us put into practice what pleases God… “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” James 1:19
Good men are distracted
Many good men – especially Christian men have become relatively silent when it comes to speaking up in regards to current events and politically related discussions. Many good men avoid doing anything politically related for various reasons. One obvious reason is that we have become too easily distracted.
Distractions can be leisure activities, entertainment, movies, television, phones, computers, sports, video games, etc. That doesn’t mean that we should avoid these things completely. Good men need time to their leisure. The point is that these things should not take priority over the Lord, our families, or our nation. Yet that is exactly what has happened to many good men. And that is part of the reason that our nation is suffering so much. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
Many men don’t know how to be courageous because they have experienced little discomfort in life. As Americans, we have experienced a great deal of luxury and comfort. When we become comfortable in our lives, we must be reminded that we still have the responsibility to live our lives in a courageous manner. We must stand for that which God calls good. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
Good men are afraid
There are so many things wrong in our nation, which has led to many men giving in to their fears. Many good men believe that life is hopeless. We believe that our current situation is to dark to confront. Yet, in the midst of difficulty God calls us to… “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
We need to stop telling ourselves that the enemy is too great. We need to remember that the Lord is with us wherever we go and whatever we do. He will fight for us, but we need to show up. Our trust in the Lord should always conquer our fears of what other humans can do to us. “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” Psalm 56:4
Good men are confused
We have convinced ourselves that we shouldn’t participate in politics, but participating in those things that distract us seems to be completely acceptable. The idea that salvation is the only thing Christians should discuss is a completely false, but popular belief these days. That is not to downplay the high importance of speaking about salvation. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) clearly states that we are to “make disciples of all the nations”. Yet, Jesus also stated… “teach[ing] them to observe all that I commanded you“. Jesus commands us to teach others of every command He has given us.
Therefore, we are free to discuss whatever we have been previously commanded by God. Paul the Apostle spoke in regards to current events in his time. Of course, Jesus himself spoke about the issues that were at hand at that time. The issues in those days and the issues we face today are all politically related, since politics is simply the way we govern our lives. And God’s word declares that we are to expose evil deeds of all kinds… “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;” Ephesians 5:11
Good men should not be confused about speaking the truth. Jesus came to testify to the truth; all of it (John 18:37). Good men need to be reminded of their responsibilities to the Lord, their families, and their country. Our relationships with the Lord would grow. Our relationships with our families would grow. And our nation would be in a lot better shape. Our silence and our lack of action has led us to this point, so we must no longer be silent and we must take action. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Pray for our government
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
When was the last time you prayed for our government as a whole or individuals who serve in government? Maybe you pray for our government daily. Or maybe it has been a really long time. Or maybe you have never prayed for our government. Well, today is a great day to start. In case you haven’t noticed, our government as a whole, is not following God. Although, there are a few members of Congress who do have a relationship with the Lord and demonstrate it by what they say and do. For example, Thomas Massie, Justin Amash, and Rand Paul are all men who follow Christ and live out their faith as public servants.
We suggest that all of our representatives need to be kicked out, because none of them do any good. While many of our representatives have forgotten what made our nation great, we still have a small minority of officials who do remain loyal to their oath to uphold the Constitution. Why are we not spending less of our time complaining and more of our time in support of those officials? And for those who have forgotten their oath, maybe we should be reaching out to them and sharing what God has placed upon our hearts.
Scripture makes it clear that we are to pray for, petition, and thank those who are in authority. Notice that God didn’t tell us to just say a lukewarm prayer and then move on. Maybe one of the reasons our government has become so corrupt is because we don’t pray fervently on their behalf, petition them when necessary, and thank them when we should. It is safe to say we don’t pay enough attention to our government. Yet, we should, because doing so leads to a quiet and peaceful life.
Prayer demands action
We know that praying for the needy is important. When someone needs something like shelter, we pray for them. However, we don’t stop there. We offer a place for them to stay or we find someone else who will take them in. “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:15-17
However, when it comes to politics, many times we say we will pray for our government, but then we stop there. We tell those in public service to “go in peace, be warmed and be filled”. We say that we pray for government, but we don’t really support the candidates that are actually doing good and we don’t reach out in love to those who are doing wrong. Did you know that you can contact members of congress at any time? You may not always be able to speak with a member of congress directly, but they will respond sometimes. And even if you are only able to speak with a member of staff, you can still have your voice heard and get valuable feedback. Sometimes you will get frustrated, but if that happens, be encouraged and press on.
It seems that at some point we got frustrated with our elected officials, to the degree that we no longer feel the need to reach out to them. We sound spiritual when we say we pray for them, but we don’t act. We have stopped voting because we say it doesn’t do any good. We have stopped contacting our representatives, because we say they will never change. We have stopped participating in town hall meetings, because we say no one will listen to us. We have decided that ignoring the problem makes us feel better, so we have given up.
God’s Word tells us to never give up. So pray for, petition, and thank those who represent you. Go to your Heavenly Father in fervent prayer so that He will hear us and heal us. “And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
The good news
The United Nations is viewed by many Americans entirely as a humanitarian organization. After all, the United Nations World Food Programme distributes food to those in need around the world. World Food Program USA raises U.S. support for the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger across the globe. According to the World Food Program USA website, WFP provides food assistance to over 80 million people in 82 countries.
It is wonderful that the U.N. food program is helping people across the world. However, it is difficult to know the intent behind the program. Maybe the U.N. is generally concerned about those who are hungry across the world. Or maybe the U.N. is using the program to advance a particular agenda or multiple agendas.
The U.N. claims to protect human rights, promotes sustainable development, upholds international law, and maintains international peace and security. Those things all sound good on the surface, but should be more clearly defined. And while in some ways the organization may seemingly demonstrate compassion, it can be argued that the “good” that is accomplished isn’t rooted in anything greater than itself. In other words, some speculate that the organization is self serving, to say the least.
The bad news
Recently, the United Nations has been under fire for a global sex scandal, in which hundreds of Haitian women and children were reportedly raped by United Nations “peace keepers”. However, this is not new behavior for U.N. troops, as a similar instance occurred in Mali approximately one year ago. And of course, the story of Katanga has not been forgotten for those affected in that particular province of the Congo.
The U.N. is promoting a small arms treaty in which specific firearms would be registered throughout the world. Many skeptics of the small arms treaty believe that registration would eventually lead to confiscation. According to Article 5 of the treaty, all countries are mandated to participate in the treaty and they “shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list.”Of course, the details of the small arms treaty are nothing new to those who have read State Department document 7277.
Agenda 21 is a U.N. sponsored program, which is supposed to promote “sustainable development”. However, it has been criticized by property rights activists and for good reason. Essentially, the United Nations is planning “to co-opt, via individual governments, and eventually, a one-world government, privately held land under the auspices of ensuring its sustainability” according to Tiffany Gabbay of The Blaze.
The U.N. has recently affirmed that abortion is a human right. The U.N. has also been promoting gay marriage as a part of their human rights agenda. Regardless of how you feel about these issues, it is concerning that the U.N. is now defining what a human right is. The reason for concern is that the source of their definition for human rights goes no further than their own agenda. Their morals and values are defined based on whatever benefits their own organization.
Concern about the true agenda
Since its inception, the U.N. has been led by those who wish to build a new world order, and at least some of them have very suspicious pasts. Alger Hiss, who helped establish the U.N., was accused of being a Soviet spy and later convicted of perjury in connection with that accusation. Former Secretary General, Kurt Waldheim served as a first lieutenant in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia in 1942. Referring to that time, he said “I did my duty like hundreds of thousands of Austrians”.
We should be willing to look deeper into the history and future of the United Nations. We should be concerned with the U.N. agenda to build a new world order for several reasons. First of all, we should be concerned that the organization as a whole does not seem to include God in their efforts. We should be concerned about the amount of power the organization is trying to obtain and how it will eventually use that power. We should be concerned that our nation’s sovereignty is suffering due to the globalized politics that the U.N. has proposed.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15
Our nation has been involved in some sort of conflict for most of the last thirty years. During that time we have been involved in wars around the world with many different nations. The reasons for these wars vary and can differ depending on who you listen to. One of the constant statements throughout the years has been in reference to a quote from a former President. While in office, Ronald Reagan said… “We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.”
What did Reagan mean by peace through strength? Was he trying to say that in order to demonstrate our strength we must force ourselves upon other nations? In that same speech, Reagan also said… “I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force is always and only a last resort, when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security.” Ronald Reagan
Reagan’s notion of peace through strength was more about promoting peace, while being prepared for war, then it was about demonstrating how dominant we can be. It is clear that Reagan desired peace above anything else, as demonstrated by his words and the fact that our nation experienced relatively little conflict while he was in office. He believed that force was a last resort as opposed to a highlight of our foreign policy. If you study the words of our Founding Father’s, you will find that they said similar things…
“Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.” Thomas Jefferson
“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” James Madison
Our policy of force
For many of us, there is a major disconnect between our nation’s recent foreign policy and the phrase “peace through strength”. A more fitting phrase for our recent foreign policy is “peace through force”. Our nation’s leaders have decided to use our military to forcefully impose our values through nation building efforts around the world. This is in direct contrast to Reagan’s idea of the United States not being an antagonist to other nations.
US Armed Forces have become a tool for establishing dominance around the world in order to bring peace to other nations and protect our so called interests. While that type of foreign policy seems to be accepted by most Americans, it is a policy that leads to what is commonly referred to as blowback. Blowback is unintended consequences suffered by the aggressor for an offensive action. Until we admit that is exactly what has happened here, we will continue to suffer the consequences.
While many believe that foreigners hate us for our freedom, it could be easily argued that they hate us more for our acts of aggression against them. That is exactly why the Founding Fathers warned us about entangling alliances with foreign nations. As Thomas Jefferson said… “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”
Although, we will likely never achieve what most people consider world peace, we can experience more peace than we have in recent times. However, that will mean that Christians will need to pray for peace. We will need to be peaceful ourselves. We will need to desire peace through strength (the peaceful kind of strength), not peace through force. We will need to overcome evil by doing good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
We should heed the words of Ronald Reagan when he said, “The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression – to preserve freedom and peace.”
Most of all, we should remember what Jesus said in regards to how we treat our enemies… “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:35
Let us go to God to find His way for peace and let us demonstrate peace through strength the way it was intended. “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14