McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–The founders of the United States understood that ideas must be unfettered if they are to germinate and produce fruit. As a result, the First Amendment to the Constitution they produced included the right to free speech.
A key concern of these brave men was that of repressed thought. I believe they had faith that noble concepts would flourish in a free marketplace of ideas, while those that were dubious would wither and die. Their idea of free speech had at its core the ability of the American people to discern good from evil.
The founding fathers fought and risked not only their fortunes but also their lives for the cause of freedom. I can assure you, they could not envision a day when citizens, nurtured in such an environment, would deliberately and with malice seek to restrict anyone’s free expression of ideas. Amazingly that day has come.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) has launched a program aimed at shutting the mouths of conservative radio commentators across the country.
“AM/FM Activism” was announced via press release in mid-April with the goal of “enabling local activists to combat defamatory radio programming in their own communities.”
The chief tool in GLAAD’s arsenal to “combat” the programming they deem “defamatory” is economic terrorism. They will deluge sponsors of various programs with boycott threats to pressure these businesses to pull their advertising.
This approach has already worked well for GLAAD. In an all-out effort to thwart Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s move to television, the activist group was able to frighten off significant advertisers before the show ever aired. As a result, the enormously popular radio host’s show struggled and has now been canceled.
What was GLAAD’s objection to Dr. Laura? The devoutly Jewish Schlessinger believes that homosexuality is not a healthy lifestyle and she especially objects to children being reared by same-sex parents.
This view is blasphemous in GLAAD’s book. Therefore, it must be banished. Heretics with ideas like Dr. Laura cannot be tolerated. Free speech be damned!
Now that GLAAD has successfully driven the likes of Dr. Laura off television, they are taking aim at radio. The new targets are anyone who dares challenge their lifestyle. If they are successful, not a single solitary dissenting voice will be whispered over a radio.
I do not understand what GLAAD is afraid of. If the ideas of these homophobic miscreants are so vile, let them speak. “If a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking,” said Woodrow Wilson. The American public is capable of recognizing hate when they hear it.
Walter Lippmann wrote in “Essays in the Public Philosophy” that “the freedom to speak can never be maintained merely by objecting to interference with the liberty of the press…. It can only be maintained by promoting debate.”
Debate is the humus of free speech. However, it requires two competing ideas to occur. Adali Stephenson said, “The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear our own opinions.” Like a spoiled child, GLAAD seems reluctant to share the wealth of free of speech they so richly enjoy.
Boggs, Baptist Press’ regular Friday columnist, is pastor of Valley Baptist Church, McMinnville, Ore.