The left is threatening freedom of speech and beliefsBy Jack Kitchin | 10/16/2017 4:32pm
“Don’t try to impose those things on me or even speak of them because they're offensive to me and therefore can’t be tolerated.” Last Monday evening, former Senator Rick Santorum used these words to describe the left’s views on religion in America in his speech here on campus. Indeed, this is the argument that many on the left use in order to suppress the religious morality that opposes so much of their own political agenda. They label those who possess strong Christian convictions as bigoted and offensive. In fact, they have used such terms to describe Senator Santorum in the past as he fought for the values that Pennsylvanians saw as just cause to elect him to the Senate twice.
Unfortunately, this strategy is not uncommon amongst the left wing of American politics today. And why should it be? It has proven to be very effective for them. When they show such hostility towards those who disagree with them and call their opponents things like “nazi,” “racist,” “sexist,” and a whole litany of other spiteful designations, their opponents have little motivation to press forward with his or her argument. Thus, the liberal ideology goes largely uncontested, as those who may oppose it fear they'll be scandalized for expressing their opinions.
For this reason, many of the difficult moral decisions that our country faces are barely being debated. Those who base their opinions on the pillars of their religion are being overlooked and unheard, afraid of being chastised for their beliefs. The result is a case of irony in its most basic form. It is the liberal faction who are imposing their own morality on the rest of the country, not the religious right.
In the past few years, the United States has seen the legalization of same-sex marriage, a rapid increase in the advocation for the legalization of cannabis and the abortion of millions of unborn children. If the religious right were so adamant on imposing their morality on the country, as the left suggests it is, then how is it that the left is winning all the victories that they are?
The practice does not stop with religious issues. Recently, the worst mass shooting in American history took place in Las Vegas. A full 24 hours had not passed before the left called for stricter gun control laws to be put into place. When met with objections from organizations supporting Second Amendment rights such as the NRA and Gun Owners of America, the gun control advocates likened the organizations to the mass shooters themselves, claiming these groups facilitated the murder of innocent people.
Of course, these allegations were false, but as in the past, the left’s strategy proved effective. It wasn’t long before the NRA yielded and voiced its support for legislation regulating bump stocks, a firearm modification that was used by the Las Vegas shooter, no doubt hoping that the gesture would distance them from the comments aligning them with murderers.
In his speech, Senator Santorum expressed his belief that “The freedom of religion, the freedom of thought, the freedom of belief is the most important of all the freedoms.” He likened it to the trunk of a tree from which the other freedoms we enjoy as Americans grow. Our founding fathers knew that the constitution they drafted must protect the people’s ability to believe in and express their own opinions as the cornerstone of living in a free society. They believed in this concept so vehemently that they considered these rights almost sacred, ensuring that the government could not threaten these rights.
Our fundamental right to our own beliefs is being challenged by those who merely disagree with them. This cannot be allowed to continue. For those on the right and others who allow their religious beliefs to guide their morality, do not go silent when your opinions are cast down as bigoted or prejudiced. Stand up for your convictions and explain the origin of your morality.
To those on the left who frequently use this rhetoric to stifle opinions with which you do not agree, this practice must end. Listen to those with different beliefs than yourself and then feel free to engage them in discussion over your disagreements, whatever they may be. This process is always how America has worked and one of the things that has made the freedom found in America so unique.
Alexander Hamilton once said, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” Imagine what this celebrated founding father would think if he saw the widespread suppression of opinions in the United States today.
Jack Kitchin is a sophomore majoring in political science. His column runs biweekly.