Some of us are old enough to remember the “free speech movement” of the 1960s. It featured bully pulpits on the Berkeley, California campus (and many other universities) that championed the right to say what you please. The leaders of the movement proclaimed the “right to free speech.”
That’s a good thing. Freedom of speech is paramount in our Constitution based on the inalienable rights that God gives each human being.
The free speech movement took place during the height of the Vietnam conflict, the hippie culture. and the overall youth free love/sexual revolution. The young dreamers demanded their right to speak out. They said that “freedom” was the issue.
But today’s generation is actively squelching free speech–at Berkeley and many other bastions of education.
Why was free speech sacred in the 60s but now banned by the same people this century?
The past year saw numerous incidents at university campuses where conservative or faith-based speakers were either shouted out or shut down from speaking on college campuses.
The most violent incident took place at Berkeley in early February when Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos was rejected by angry students who looted and burned buildings. Then Charles Murray was booed out of two east coast colleges. In late April, conservative writer Ann Coulter was denied the opportunity to give an immigration speech at, guess where–UC Berkeley!
Is the land of “free speech” now the home of “shut your trap if we don’t like what you say?”
Actually, it was never about free speech. Never.
Before I share what it really was about, let’s place this assault on verbal freedom in the context of President Trump’s recent visit to Warsaw, Poland. I’m sure you saw the headlines and maybe read portions of his speech. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s speaking for the cause of liberty
Gary Randall of the Faith & Freedom Network shares an insightful perspective on the Trump visit.
“Trump’s trip tells a tale of two Americas. Most conservative leaders are hailing his speech as a defining moment, some referring to it as ‘the emerging Trump doctrine.’ In fact, Breitbart News published an in depth article titled, “A Defense of the West and Judeo- Christian Civilization.” They note, ‘Trump really laid it on the line; It’s all about the defense of the West. We will not only stand up for our Judeo-Christian civilization, we will also, if need be fight for our Judeo-Christian civilization.'”
Then Randall adds a cautionary note: “However, the so-called ‘elites’ in America saw and heard something very different. The far left Atlantic said, ‘The west is a radical and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white.’
Randall then queries:
“Therefore Trump’s speech was racist? If we believe in who we are, we’re racist?”
“Peter Beinart, who wrote the article for The Atlantic, said, ‘The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive’ and the speech ‘only makes sense as a statement of racial or religious paranoia.'”
Randall summarizes that “Beinart is drawing from an old tired belief dating back to Karl Marx. Biblical conviction and wisdom is not paranoia.” He then quotes another elite commentator on the Trump Doctrine:
“Jeet Heer, writing for the New Republic, called Trump’s address an ‘alt-right’ speech in a commentary titled, “An International Brotherhood of White Grievance.” He likened Trump’s ideas to those of Pat Buchanan, adding, ‘Such rhetoric is meant to conjure blood-and-soil nationalism. Here, Trump is defining the West not based on ideals like democracy and liberty, but atavistic loyalties to territory and shared kinship.'”
“And he explained that Trump’s implication is ‘that American progressives, in their effort to expand the government’s influence on society, are the modern-day counterparts of the communists that threatened Poland.'”
Randall concludes his analysis with this observation:
“This is, in a nutshell, the secular worldview with man at the center–standing in direct opposition to a biblical worldview which places God and His Word at its center. It embraces His model for society, including national borders as outlined in Genesis–borders, language and culture–which the book of Acts explains works in harmony with God’s purposes to reach out to all people with His redemptive message of eternal life. The West has flourished–particularly America, because God’s laws were the foundation of the culture and society.”
Randall states clearly that a worldview contest is being bitterly waged in the “Western” part of the world, i.e. Europe and North America. My new book (due out in late fall), River of God: Where Religion Began and Why Grace and Love Will Triumph, contains two chapters devoted to that worldview war.
I call the battle between biblical faith and secular atheism the “Western Theatre.” One worldview will triumph over the other (over time) and one will recede.
Here’s a sneak preview from the book:
“For the past forty years, there has been an all-and-out cultural war in the United as to which worldview will prevail—biblical faith that produced American greatness in its first three centuries (beginning in 1620 with the arrival of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts) , or secular humanism, which gained momentum during the 20th century until now.”
“Recent American presidential races have reflected this worldview tug-of-war. Jimmy Carter led the country in a decidedly secular direction. Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” revived the biblical faith foundations. Bill and Hillary Clinton brought back a secular focus. George W. Bush encouraged trust in God and American patriotism. And Barack Obama promoted “Hope and Change” though a shift toward European-type social democracy.”
“Americans can’t seem to decide which future they desire. Whereas biblical faith dominated American life for centuries, the nation currently stands polarized between those who want to renew the biblical principles and those who want to vanquish all vestiges of faith. America is truly a nation that is “hesitating between two opinions” (I Kings 18:21). Will its future be a spiritual renewal of the godly foundations or the triumph of secular humanism?”
“Quite possibly the next phase of history will be determined by America’s choice of its immediate future. The jury is still out, and the nation remains torn between those who desire nanny-state social democracy or worse, and those who believe in biblical values of faith, smaller government, and individual responsibility.”
“The European Union occupies the other battlefield on the western front. It faces the same choice, but is much further down the road. Once a biblically-based European civilization (though never as Bible-centered as America), the EU now groans under the weight of big government social democracies that are starting to persecute the people of biblical faith. Through low birthrates and large scale Muslim immigration, Europe faces another worldview threat from Islam. Mark Steyn believes that “Eurabia” is a distinct possibility in the coming decades.”
“However, I believe the European worldview wars will be fought primarily by the forces of atheism/secularism and biblical faith. Same is true in the United States of America. And at least for now, as goes America, so goes world evangelism—unless God has different plans. With all this at stake, no wonder the satanic forces are so interested in bringing down the West.”
So what does this worldview battle have to do with free speech?
Over two thousand years, God, through His Church, created a faith-based culture in the Western world that became the primary fountain of civil liberties, economic prosperity, human rights and world evangelization. It was the most enlightened civilization in history–Western civilization–built on truth, love, law, morality and biblical ideas.
Satan’s goal has never changed: Stop God’s global salvation plans by weakening the Church and tearing down Bible-based cultures.
Free speech in the sixties was a means to that end–freedom to rebel against God-given authorities, structures (marriage) and morals (chastity). In the 21st century, many sixties radicals (now liberal professors ) encourage the new generation to do the opposite of what they did–deny freedom of speech.
Why? Because the goal hasn’t changed. “Freedom” launched the rebellion. Fascism will finish it.
The Satanic strategy is to destroy godly culture, using freedom in one generation and tyranny in another. The unchanging end justifies the use of different methods.
Now you know why free speech in the 60s is being banned this century.
Will you help renew the godly foundations? (Psalm 11:3)