A pair of bold proclamations in professional sports perfectly define the double standard in which the right of free speech is viewed in popular culture today. Tim Tebow was often ridiculed for openly sharing his Christian lifestyle and told to keep it to himself. Jason Collins was declared a hero for declaring his homosexuality. What’s worse is that Christians have allowed this to happen.
“Announcing that you’re Christian is like announcing that you like cheeseburgers. Sure, there might be one or two people that will look down on you for eating meat, but on the whole, everyone loves cheeseburgers.” This statement, made by a believer, is a common sentiment among Christians today. Too many Christians in the U.S. don’t recognize that they are not the home team any more. Whether it is through “turn the other cheek” tolerance or simple complacency, believers have done little to shore up the slow erosion of their First Amendment Rights.
Perhaps Christian inaction is due to the nature of the attacks on free speech. The methods are more misdirection than brute force and have succeeded in gradually chipping away the foundation of rights Christians once thought unassailable. Most often the terms “tolerance” and “politically correct” are used by organizations who are systematically clamping down on free speech. Don’t pronounce your faith in Jesus, you might offend somebody. Call a sin a sin in the school commons and you will likely be accused of using Hate Speech. Colleges and Universities across the U.S. have, intentionally or not, removed the “Free” from “Speech” so that no one is offended.
But there are a few students who are pushing back. Just last March Jacob Dagel, a community college student in Iowa, spoke up. He found that the college was going to pay for students to attend Iowa Governor’s Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth. As a Christian he viewed this as wrong, printed fliers and began to pass them out around the school. But Jacob was quickly confronted by campus security. He was told he was free to practice his first amendment rights…as long as he obtained a permit 10 days in advance and remained in the “Free Speech Zone.” Where in the constitution does it say that you must first obtain a permit to practice free speech? But Jacob was bold. He did seek out this fortress of democracy called the “Free Speech Zone.” Unfortunately, it turned out to be a single table in the Student Center.
Jacob recognized that his rights were being violated and he reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF Attorneys were able to convince the college that the policies were unconstitutional and should be changed.
Jacob’s case is not unique. On campuses across the country students have begun speak up and take back their rights to religious liberty and free speech, often with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom. If you think your Constitutionally protected free speech rights have been violated, contact us and perhaps we can help insure your voice gets heard.