If your government goes rogue and begins smothering civil liberties and basic freedoms how do you resist it?
Phil Goff the sitting Mayor of Auckland recently banned a pair of visiting Canadian political commentaters and activists from speaking at a councel venue. His reasoning was that their controversial opinions on immigration issues would stir up racial division. They have now cancelled their visit to New Zealand.
So if any future mayor decides he doesn't like someone's political or religious views, banning them from speaking or using public facilities will now be considered acceptible practice.
In the UK street preachers have been arrested on account of their message offending Muslims and thereby creating a public disturbance.
So why is this bad? Democracy is established on the idea that people should be able to hear all sides of the story. To be informed on issues which affect them, and then gather representatives to themselves who will act to take up their own agenda and concerns in government.
This freedom of ideas and expression isn't just important politically but also spiritually. How are we to make decisions that affect our eternal lives if we have no exposure to the gospel because it is silenced by the authorities - as is the case in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
We need to hear all points of view, the good and the bad, so that we can make judgements and decisions based on all the evidence available to us. Greedy politicians always seem to want to silence the opposition. And you know full well that our spiritual adversary seeks to silence us, in order to snuff out the light of truth in our nations.
We live in a time of deception, evil people suppress the truth in unrighteousness, those who have rejected it and prefer convenient lies that enable and approve of their ungodly lifestyle preferences. Such people hate hearing the truth as it exposes their misdeeds and makes them feel uncomfortable.
They would rather not be reminded of their guilt, and prefer to live in wilful ignorance. Their only recourse then is to resist and suppress the truth, and the ability for people to freely express it. So they take political power and use it to silence people who love the truth.
Our only course of action then is to actively defend the right of people to express the truth and any controversial points of view in public because freedom of speech is the foundation of civil society and democracy....not to mention the good of humanity and the opportunity for salvation, when that speech happens to be the gospel.
We should be tolerant of those we disagree with and respect their right to speak and meet, so that we intern can preserve ours. Therefore free-speech rallies have been organised recently in NZ in protest of the speaking ban of Stefan Moleneux and Lauren Southern. That is a good start.
Amos Sale is a Press Service International young writer from Auckland.