Muzzled No More – Protecting Free Speech

Written by Clint Elliott

Your First Amendment rights are muzzled no more. The Supreme Court rules to protect free speech.

I recently heard about another public school administrator who wielded the phrase ”separation of church and state” as a weapon to justify trampling the First Amendment freedoms of students and teachers.  Sadly, this incident represents yet another example of how some in government have misused that phrase for far too long as a tool to silence the Christian voice.  Thankfully, our current Supreme Court, ruling for free speech, will tolerate that misuse no longer. Students and teachers are muzzled no more.

The Supreme Court rules for Free Speech

In the recent case of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Supreme Court ruled that the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment doubly protect Coach Kennedy’s right to pray midfield after football games, even when still on the clock as a public school employee.  This ruling is an important victory for Coach Kennedy personally. It also represents a broader and more significant victory for all Christians living out their faith as ambassadors for Christ in public schools and in the public square! 

By ruling in Coach Kennedy’s favor, the Court returned the First Amendment to its original meaning based on history, tradition, and the intent of the Founding Fathers. By ruling in Coach Kennedy’s favor, the Court rejected the false notion that separation of church and state warrants cleansing the public schools of any appearance of religion. Instead, the Court affirmed the Founding Fathers’ intent that the First Amendment ensures freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, even on the public school campus. As the Court wrote, “[t]hat the First Amendment doubly protects religious speech is no accident. It is a natural outgrowth of the framers’ distrust of government attempts to regulate religion and suppress dissent.”  

The constitution forbids hostility toward any religion.

So, if the concept of separation of church and state means anything today it means the government cannot express hostility toward the Christian voice in society.  Indeed, as the Court previously wrote in Lynch v. Donnelly, the Constitution does not require complete separation of church and state. But “it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any.” That truth – that the Constitution “forbids hostility toward any” religion – represents important protection for the Christian voice in today’s increasingly hostile “cancel culture” environment.

Correctly understood and applied, the First Amendment provides citizens, including educators and students, the confidence to overcome temptations of self-censorship and the courage to participate in the important moral conversations of our day with conviction, even when and especially when the Christian viewpoint appears offensive to some hearers.  As the Court in Kennedy wrote, censoring offensive speech “would undermine a long constitutional tradition under which learning how to tolerate diverse expressive activities has always been ‘part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society.’”  

Make sure you are muzzled no more!

While we are encouraged by this ruling on free speech from the Court, victories such as the Kennedy case only come about when good people stand up and speak up for our God-given inalienable rights.  We at the Justice Defense Foundation stand ready to stand with you. We are your voice for liberty and biblical justice, to make sure you are muzzled no more

Would you consider helping us protect free speech by donating a one-time gift or making a recurring donation?

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2021 End of Year Newsletter