Lately, I’ve been very concerned about our freedom of speech in this country. I’m also worried about Christians who don’t see the problem. First off, I’m not a controversial person. I write humor.
But I’ve been concerned about an increase in young adult suicide as my kids have had three acquaintances commit suicide. These young adults have their whole world ahead of them, but they are living without hope. We have taken God and prayer out of our schools and we’ve given these kids no moral guidelines. Told them everything is fine as long as it makes you feel good (forget what it does to other people.) Drugs are okay and now legal. Sex outside of marriage is your right, etc. Never telling them the damage all of this free living can do to your soul. So this was my motive for putting a post on Instagram that said suicide rates were up and posted a number for the Suicide Prevention Line. Instagram flagged my post with a red warning and said that it was fake news because of the statistic used.
This is very dangerous precedent and I want people to be aware of what free speech is. Free speech is the ability to say what you want without fear of legal repercussions. Sure, people might hate you, but legally, you’re safe. If I want to announce the red spaghetti monster has returned from Mars to harm us all — that is my first amendment right. To be corrected by the likes of Instagram when that post might have helped someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, makes me ill. That is what China would do if you posted something against their regime. That’s not free speech. It’s happening on all the apps. Post something the press doesn’t want you to believe and you’re flagged and deleted.
As a journalism major this trend makes me afraid of our future. I lived in Silicon Valley my entire life. You do not want these people telling you how to think. Trust me on this. I watched my sleepy little town turn into a place where greed and money were utterly worshiped, where the middle class slowly disappeared. Where he who has the most money gets the opinion, yours is worthless. My grandparents taught me to never make a decision based solely on money so imagine how counterintuitive living there became. That is not what we want for our future.
I know I’m passionate about this subject, but it starts with the little things. It starts with making you uncomfortable about what you post or believe. Since these apps are private, they hide behind their privacy policies and deny free speech on their apps. They get away with it because you can choose not to use these venues.
I know we are living in unprecedented times, but there are frightening trends happening in our world that have nothing to do with this virus. Please join me in standing up for your rights to have a dissenting opinion and speak them freely. When you start silencing one group, another one will follow. Remember this:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemöller