It used to be perfectly proper and acceptable for someone to stand on a street-corner or sidewalk and make political speeches or preach. It used to be quite acceptable to state the unvarnished truth in public as long as it was true.
That freedom is essential to a free society where the marketplace of ideas is vibrant. Otherwise the minority can distort and muzzle the truth, and through falsehood subjugate the majority. Freedom cannot exist long without free speech and free interchange of ideas.
In fact, our founding fathers felt it was so important for the functioning of our republic that the very first Amendment to our Constitution is for Freedom of Religion, Press, and Expressions. It goes as follows:
“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 amendment seems pretty clear to me, but apparently it’s not so clear to our government officials any more. There are things one can’t say, even if they are true. There are topics one cannot mention let alone debate on the public airwaves, even if they are crucial to our nation’s survival. And now it is no longer acceptable to simply stand on the public street corner and simply read the Bible:
But I bet I could stand on that same street corner and burn the American flag without being arrested!
How far we have evolved! How civilized we have become!
All is not as it looks.