For many years I've said that, when it comes to America, I'm more concerned with the absence of light than with the presence of darkness. In the same way, I'm more concerned with our failure to speak freely than with those who are trying to silence us.
This, of course, is not to deny that there is a frontal assault on our most fundamental freedoms. I've witnessed this firsthand and documented it for years.
Just this week, media researcher Brent Bozell sounded the alarm about this concerted attack. He said, "This is the emerging of the greatest censorship of free speech worldwide in the history of man. Now, let me explain this, the left is on a jihad against conservative thought. It's happening in academia, entertainment, business, religion, everywhere."
His warning follows on the heels of the release of a major study done by Bozell's Media Research Center (MRC) titled, "CENSORED! How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech."
According to this study: Twitter Leads in Censorship; Facebook's Trending Feed Has Been Hiding Conservative Topics; Google Search Aids Democrats; YouTube Is Shutting Down Conservative Videos; Tech Firms Are Relying on Groups That Hate Conservatives; Liberal Twitter Advisors Outnumber Conservatives 12-to-1; Tech Companies Rely on Anti-Conservative Fact-Checkers.
In short, the MRC study confirms what we knew to be true already: There is a war against conservative and religious speech. And it not just in the realm of online media, as Bozell rightly observed.
But, to repeat, that's not my greatest concern today, as weighty as these developments are.
Instead my focus is on our failure to stand up and speak out, especially as religious conservatives.
Who's stopping pastors from speaking freely from the pulpit? I'm not talking about endorsing political candidates. I'm talking about addressing abortion and LGBT activism and racial division and more. Who's stopping us from being socially and culturally relevant?
Why must we dance around these issues with the constant fear of stepping on people's toes? How can we possibly take gospel-worthy, moral stands if we are such people-pleasers? If we are so ambiguous in our declarations? Why are we more concerned with not offending people than with genuinely helping people?
And what about the rest of us who are not preaching behind pulpits (or speaking over the airwaves)? Who's stopping us from speaking the truth in love on our social media outlets? Or in our social circles? Why are we more concerned with the opinions of people than with the opinions of God? Why don't we share our faith and our convictions more clearly and boldly and publicly?
A young man once reached out to me on Facebook. He wrote, "I shared one of your articles recently, and I was shocked at the negative comments I received. Some folks even unfriended me. So, what do you think I should do? Should I pull the article?"
Seriously? Pull an article you agree with because you got some flack? Delete a post you feel is important because some people unfriended you? Our fellow-believers around the world are being tortured and killed for the gospel, and we're afraid of losing friends on social media?
No wonder we're losing our freedoms. We're handing the jailer the keys.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for being sensitive and compassionate. I'm all for using wisdom. But true compassion speaks the truth. Love warns. Wisdom doesn't waver.
Unfortunately, so much of what we call sensitivity and compassion and wisdom is nothing more than cowardice and compromise. Let the truth be told.
Again, I'm not downplaying the very real assault on our freedoms. We are getting hit on every front. I don't deny this and I don't minimize it.
But if we all started to speak up together, things would change. If pastors and leaders took their clues from the Word of God rather than from what's trending, the nation would be rocked. If we used the freedoms we do have and used them to the full, those freedoms could not be taken from us in 100 years. (I'm speaking in particular of the situation here in America.)
Jesus urged us to let our light shine, to put it on a lampstand where everyone could see it rather than hiding it under the bed. It's time we let our light shine for America to see.
If we do, our nation will be blessed and our freedoms will be preserved. If we don't, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
So let your light shine!