Is speech limited under Christianity? How does this compare to the First Amendment?

                I’ve been seeing a lot of talk of censorship and talks of hate speech, offensive speech, and what should or should not be said. It’s got me thinking, as one who believes that political power needs to be with the individual, not centralized to some monstrous bureaucracy that some want to create and that we are seeing starting to come to fruition here in the US and in other countries across the globe. As an American, I worry for the First Amendment, which guarantees our right to free speech and free criticism of our government without fear or persecution by our peers or imprisonment by some tyrant. As a Christian, I worry for our freedom of religion and the free practice thereof, with a certain former presidential candidate saying that “Christians would have to change their beliefs”. As an apologist, I worry for the pursuit of truth and the dissemination of that truth. So let’s start at the root of this and take a look at scripture and answer a couple of questions, “Does Christianity censor the speech of its followers? and How should we pursue freedom of speech as Christians and truth-seekers?”
                We can start at the first question. I would think this question is a yes and a no, depending on how broad you want to look. A Christian would be expected to adhere to the doctrines of Christianity, and would be expected to denounce all other faiths (Islam, Buddhism, Atheism, Hinduism), as false. I think we should be wary of those who claim to be Christian and go against doctrine. Matthew 7:15 says “"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 says “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping” 1 John 4:1 says “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” However, all of this scripture is just talking about unity in core doctrine. We have scripture that talks about a diversity in gifts and ministries, so that there isn’t one way to “go and make disciples of all men” (Matthew 28:19). We are a body under Christ with many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12), and as such have many different roles and ways to work toward the same goal. Now we are called to cast out evil thoughts and impurities from our minds in various scripture, so there could be a case for censorship there, but it is for our good that we do this. My bridge to the First amendment is here, because Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23 “”I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.” We have the freedom to do anything because of the free will God has given us, but not everything is healthy for us. There is such a thing as intellectual junk food, such as hateful words, stirring up trouble, or doing nothing for anyone else. We have the freedom as Americans, as people, to do whatever we want with the lives that we are given, but if we choose to accept the gift of salvation and become Christians, we choose to accept the Great Commission that we have been given.

                So this is what I have come up with to answer this question. I thought long and hard about this and wanted to finally get it written once I got it all sorted in my head. We have our freedom to choose anything in our lives, but we need the American Republic to be what it is, a government that recognizes and promotes the use of our God-given rights for us to facilitate these choices, be it for Christianity or otherwise. We cannot allow any other system that represses the power of the individual choice for all (Communism, Socialism, Shariah) to take hold and become the norm, otherwise we risk a true step backwards as a society, a step backwards for all of humanity. As we move forwards I would hope that those who value not only Christianity, but their individual freedoms and rights, would keep this in mind. God bless and have a good rest of your day.

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