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Freedom of Speech: The Right to Preach 05/01/2009

The Bible is now a 'Hate Crime'

The Bible is now a 'Hate Crime'

 

Ministers of the Gospel -- those who are called and committed to proclaiming truth as understood in the Bible -- not only have the Constitutional right to preach their faith, but also a God-given responsibility to do so. The slogan "Freedom of Speech, The Right to Preach" was actually a bumper sticker I designed in the late 1970's after being removed from the most powerful television station in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for proclaiming what I believed to be scripturally true.

I spoke out against homosexual behavior and even stated that, in my opinion, it could be beyond morally detrimental, but physically dangerous, too. (This preceded the AIDS epidemic by several years.) The homosexual community protested loudly to the ABC affiliate and, in order to silence me, I was taken off the air. Back then, they called it "The Fairness Doctrine," which apparently meant that the first amendment expired when a special-interest group didn't think it was "fair" that someone disagreed with them. Now it's back, seven times worse, in the form of H.R. 1913, known in the Senate as the federal "Hate Crimes" bill.

Senator Edward Kennedy is cosponsoring it in the Senate, equating anti-gay speech with "acts of domestic terrorism." President Obama voiced his support by declaring, "I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation..."

This misnomered legislation pays law enforcement and the legal system to prosecute cases including perceived verbal attacks against sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, if you say something a gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual person doesn't like, you could land in court and maybe jail. Goodbye freedom of speech, you no longer have the right to preach! On a state level, this is the same legislation that landed a 73-year-old Philadelphia grandmother in jail for trying to share Christian tracts with people at a homosexual festival. We are now told if this legislation passes, preachers can be put in prison for speaking out against specific immoral acts. Such is the face of domestic terrorism under the current leadership in Washington.

Of course, I understand that these particular sins are no worse than the sins of the heterosexual community. Immoral activity is against God and the Bible states that when we commit sexual immorality we actually sin against our own body. I believe that unhealthy appetites and uncontrollable desires can be stirred that should never be awakened. These impulses often lead to compulsive, addictive behavior.

Romans 1 outlines the progression that can take place when people rebel against God's truth: claiming to be wise, they give themselves over to sexual deviation that degrades the human body and enslaves them to their appetites. The sinful nature and tendancy into which we are all born must be overcome before it destroys us; thus the need for a savior. When people celebrate and worship the sin, it defines who they are and they defiantly defend it while giving in to it. They may be like a chain gang singing happy songs, but at the end of the day, they are still prisoners.

Why would any compassionate person stay silent while people destroy themselves and others? If someone was drowning, would you say, "I guess God just made you destined to drown!" I am convinced that every person of faith should take a stand against sinful activity, but abstain from engaging in further sin to do so. A sinful physical act and a destructive attitude, like the spirit of dissension and anger, are both wrong. One doesn't justify the other.

According to the letter Paul wrote to the Galatians, the sins of the spirit are just as serious as the sins of the flesh. We are living in a day when rather than taking every thought captive, selfish, sinful thoughts are taking many people captive. They are bound by the chains of their own iniquity. The defense of immorality, whether infidelity on the part of a spouse or the advocacy of perversion as normal, is a clenched fist in the face of Holy God. He warns us of the consequences of sinful actions in order to save us from harm, yet allows us the freedom of choice to defy His wisdom leading to our own demise.

Those who are full of pride and held captive by self-indulgent conduct cannot think clearly. Their minds are bent. Those who proclaim God's truth are required to call people to repent of crooked ways so that they can think straight. If we don't think straight, our actions and decisions will indeed be twisted.

Preachers today see a lot of twisted thinking in the world. We have a spiritual and moral obligation to say so, in love, in order to help people get off of their paths of self-destruction. For example, when there is more zeal for animal rights than for the rights of an innocent child in the womb, our thinking is obviously twisted. America has always been a place where I could say that -- at least up until now.

Every preacher should speak out concerning abortion, greed, envy, strife, selfishness, idolatry, covetousness, dishonesty, and every biblically-addressed sin. As important as it is to speak out on these things, it is equally important to do so with a sincere and loving desire to see people set free from the bondage and devastation of sin. Truth must be spoken with love or it will be heeded by few.

We invite others to repent, receive forgiveness and discover a new life. Every person in the pit of defeat and despair should be told that Jesus Himself is kneeling at the edge of the pit, reaching down and extending a hand of mercy, not condemnation.

God is anxious to lift us up and set us on solid ground. This is not only the hope of every individual, but also the hope for our nation. Ministers are called to point people to life. If we're going to preserve "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," we must start with life. I hope that I can continue to proclaim this liberating message without the threat of losing my own liberty.


Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 1,020

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.