Christopher Hitchens: Why We Need Free Speech
IntellectualTakeout.com, 2/7/19, “Christopher Hitchens on Why We Desperately Need Free Speech” [Excerpts]: One sentence. Five restrictions on the power of the government of the United States. “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.”
Great idea, but dead in the water in a majority of nations. Here in the United States some have called for changing or even abandoning the First Amendment. They claim these freedoms, and the Constitution itself, are horse-and-buggy relics in our new age of high-speed technology.
Others have taken it upon themselves to restrict the freedom of speech. On many college campuses, radicals have either banned or shouted down speakers, most of whom are conservatives.
[Atheist] Christopher Hitchens once offered these thoughts on free speech in a controversial lecture: “It is not just the right of the person who speaks to be heard, it is the right of everyone in the audience to listen and to hear, and every time you silence somebody you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something. In other words, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved in all these cases as is the right of the other to voice his or her view.”
Hitchens ends by saying to his audience, “You are giving away what is most precious in your own society.”
Freedom of speech, freedom to practice our religion—Hitchens was an atheist who despised Christianity, indeed all religions, but our First Amendment entitles him to these views. They are the foundation stones of our freedom.
Harvest Bible Chapel Founder Fired
ChristianPost.com, 2/13/19, “Harvest Bible Chapel founding pastor James MacDonald fired; ‘shocking’ audio revealed” [Excerpts]: Longtime leader of the Chicago-area megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel James MacDonald has been ousted as senior pastor in light of unsavory remarks he made on a hot mic that were aired on local media [February 12].
MacDonald’s firing comes after the publication of a lengthy investigative piece by Julie Roys in World magazine. Her article, “Hard Times at Harvest,” which took eight months to complete, documented alleged financial malfeasance, abusive dynamics within the church from the top-down—particularly MacDonald’s temper—and a culture of fear and intimidation.
Among the things said in the audio is MacDonald talking about planting child pornography on Christianity Today CEO’s Harold Smith’s computer, crude remarks about Julie Roys—including joking that she had an affair with CT Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli—and a vulgar reference to Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
“A church is in shambles. Evangelicals are publicly embarrassed—again. And more men remain in positions of influence who have done reprehensible things,” she added, urging Christians to seek God, repent, and pray for revival.
College Students Reparation For Slavery
TheCollegeFix.com, 2/6/19, “Georgetown students may pay reparations for slavery with new student fee” [Excerpts]: Georgetown University students will vote [in April] on whether they want to tax themselves to benefit the descendants of slaves sold by the university in the 1830s.
Its student government recently authorized a campuswide student referendum on whether to establish a fund for the families of the 272 men, women, and children sold by Georgetown in 1838.
If approved, the semesterly fee would begin to be collected in the fall of 2020 and start at $27.20 per student “in honor of the 272 people sold by Georgetown,” states the student government resolution approving the referendum....
“The proceeds of the GU272 Reconciliation Contributions will be allocated for charitable purposes directly benefiting the descendants of the GU272 and other persons once enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits—with special consideration given to causes and proposals directly benefiting those descendants still residing in proud and underprivileged communities....”