You Can’t Yell Fire,
But You Can Yell Hate
The first Amendment to the Constitution granted us free speech. The question is how far reaching is this constitutional gift. You can certainly think whatever you want to think, but can you say whatever you want to say? I think not…there are laws that declare you cannot yell fire in a theater just to see people scramble for the exits. I suppose the thinking is that people could be injured rushing to leave the theater; therefore, it is unlawful to yell fire in a public gathering unless there is actually a fire.
Nancy and I are traveling the country staying in campgrounds. Each facility affirms quiet hours usually from 10pm to 8am. There are noise ordinances in many neighborhoods. Get a little loud at your party and you may hear a knock at your door and find yourself speaking to an officer of the law.
Isn’t it interesting that free speech can be restricted because of decibel level, but not because of content?! You can obtain a permit to walk in the streets of a city and spew hate and denigrate others.
The Razor’s Edge
I hear the caution…we are walking a razor’s edge between the right of free speech and the message our words carry. Hate in the streets is an expression of one person’s philosophy and another person’s worst nightmare, a return to the days when the KKK dominated African Americans and Nazis fought to dominate the world. Both have something in common—a false belief that white is supreme. Such declarations are an affront to the other races of the world and to anyone who understands that God is Spirit, and not white.
Words can be abusive. Ask anyone who has been through a divorce. Children may declare, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” but words often do more damage than sticks.
The Constitution may grant us free speech, but it was our Creator who endowed us with the ability to speak and with the gift of speech comes the responsibility to do no harm. Proverbs declares that we shall decree a thing and it will be established unto us. Jesus illustrated the impact of speaking negatively when He cursed a fig tree, and it withered in a day. Imagine the consciousness that dominates someone who thinks so little of himself that he must declare that his skin color makes him superior to another person.
Speech Ain’t Free
I am not a lawyer, so I am unclear about the limits placed on us by the law, but I am exceedingly clear about the restrictions placed on us by spiritual law, and the divine law is much more restrictive than our 1st Amendment rights.
When we speak, the molecules of our bodies vibrate and our consciousness resonates with our words. If we exercise our right to spew hate at another person or group of people, the words may strike them like a hammer. They hear the words, and they may even echo the words (Let them reverberate in the mind for a time), but eventually the words will fade. But this is not so for the one who spews hate. For this one, the words do not fade; they multiply until they distort the face and determine actions. And imagine the actions that are conceived by hate.
What Is Hate?
And what is hate? It is a sense of separation, but before there is separation, there is fear. You can always tell a fearful person. He will attempt to instill fear in others. The problem is that this only increases the sense of separation that is a denial of divine law.
Appearances say we are separate. How obvious this seems. The skin color is different, the lifestyle, the religion, the nationality, the language, all different. However, Jesus message was clear—judge not by appearances. Why? Because appearances declare the great lie of separation.
A Sign Of A New World
What is the answer? Someone must step across the line, bridge the vast divide of separation and declare it null and void. Someone must look for the common ground while always remembering that the one who hates is fearful, that the one who says he is superior actually thinks he is inferior. He may even appear to be more a predator than a human being, but he is actually more—he is a spiritual being with an immense potential to love, to discover oneness and live from oneness. And I’ll tell you this: one who moves from hate to love inspires us all. One who moves from hate to love is of great value to the One who made us all and who saw the colors of our skin and thought, “In celebration of these many colors, I will make a rainbow.” And if you will recall, the rainbow was a sign of a new world.