Freedom of Speech...?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009
This week we ran a story about a pastor in Florida who posted a sign in the front lawn of his church which read "Islam is Of the Devil." Terry Jones says he will not remove the sign and plans to add more signs regarding his views on abortion and homosexuality. As you might imagine, there are many people who are exercising their rights to protest Jones' intolerance. He says "True Christians would not be offended by the sign." Therefore, if you are offended by his makeshift "Islam Is Of The Devil" sign according to Jones, you are not a "true Christian."


Here's a news story from a local station, near Gainsville Florida:



How can the leader of a church show such intolerance to others who believe something beyond his version of "Christianity?" Jones says the Dove Outreach Center is a "charismatic, non-denominational church."

After airing a version of the story, we asked viewers, "Should the church be able to post this sign?" Many wrote in saying the church should have the right to post signs but that Jones' sign was upsetting because it does not show an outpouring of love.

I also spend time considering this and reluctantly, I agree. Jones should be able to post his signs. It is the First Amendment that allows us freedom in the United States to practice the religion of our choice (including Islam!) and promote our opinions. Thankfully, my job as a journalist is also protected by the First Amendment and so is your right to express your opinions when church leaders post signs. We have a responsibility to use our freedom of speech to educate ourselves, be involved in politics, and make friends from other races, religions, gender and sexual orientation. The U-S would be quite boring if we only had the Joneses to keep up with.

Thoughts?

11 comments

Anonymous said...

He might be right. Muhammed wasn't such a nice guy in fact he was a bit nastyat times.

Patricia said...

Well it's along the famous Voltaire lines of "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I think the 'problem' with these signs is not that they are there, but that they instil hate and intolerance. We have the right to our opinions and to voice them but one wonders what the pastor's understanding of 'love thy neighbours is' - it's certainly not a church that I would like to go to and as a Christian i take offence by the sign.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. These signs are meant to get attention. And it always works...just like that horrible Baptist church that protests soldiers' funerals with "God hates fags" signs. Are they really Christians? I often think these people will get a very unpleasant surprise on the other side of eternity.
But yes, he does have the right to express prejudice and stupidity. Many people do it everyday.

CC

Denae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denae said...

Patricia - CC - The pastor certainly gained attention. Now many are questioning his views on Christianity and where he is getting his directives.

JyoNah said...

Aw crap. Guess I'm not a true Xian.

Chris F. said...

I don't agree with a lot of things that people do or say. But I will even defend the rights of those whom I don't agree with. Likewise, I have just as much a right to present a counter argument or dispute their version of events.

This is true principled liberty, not the "liberty for me, but not you" version that is so prevalent today.

Jinjajam said...

Its always best to ignore signs that do not reflect your personal feelings.There are so many if you really care to look around...and some are bad,bad,bad.Look for the good ones and make the right choices.

enlightened said...

The pastor doesn't have the true knowledge and understanding of Islam, that is why he thinks of it that way....and Muhammad is not nasty if you really study his history from reliable sources such as the Muslim Koran translation...plus how can he claim that those who doesn't believe 'his' signs are not true followers of a religion...who does he think he is...God?

Islam is a beautiful religion and practices peace, please study it thoroughly and do not pass on judgment or make remarks based on what you see, or hear in the news... where as what you really know and study/research can serve you better. You don't have to be a Muslim to understand Islam, example like William Montgomery Watt.

Just a thought, because I believe people should really learn to understand diff race/cultures/religion before making remarks/comments based on mainstream media, just as I have learned to read and understand Islam and what it stands for...just a thought...

Denae said...

Enlightened - I agree with you completely and have begun researching the religion as well. Ignorance has led to many disasters and misunderstandings.

Anonymous said...

I have read the qaran and the hadiths and am shocked by some of the things Muhammed did. Some people seem to get a bit muddled up between Buddism and Islam, Budism is the peaceful one Islam is not peaceful.