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Tuesday 7 March 2023


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Not only is free speech/free expression an anti-civilisational policy, which has destroyed decency in the public square, it is impractical and places society in great dangers. Especially when it comes to the powerful lying. We should have laws against lying because of this danger: Romans 13:5-10 -

"5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (KJV)."

"Thou shalt not bear false witness". Thou shalt not lie. This command applied to everyone from the man on the street to the king of the land. It was a command for everyone.

The historical Baptist position on Romans 13 is that governments are to enforce laws consistent with the second tablet of the law. With recent revelations that a chief English politician used deception to stoke up fear during the pandemic, can you now see the utility and importance of speech laws? Especially for public officials working in their official capacity. It should be illegal for them to lie, and free speech "principles" be damned. I think in some contexts it already is, but this needs to be expanded. Politicians make a mockery of the truth.

I saw an article a few months back where a politician joked that if you punished politicians for lying, there'd be no politicians. Maybe. Or maybe they'd be forced to aim up. Surely, wicked men would still find a way to work around this law. Finding ways to navigate around laws is a human specialty. But such gross deception from political leaders will continue to increase if they are not punished by the law.

Men are creatures heavily influenced by incentives. If the incentives to tell the truth were stronger than those to lie, many leaders would be dissuaded from lying in many cases. Not all cases, for sure, the human propensity to flaunt either God-given or man-ordained laws is too strong. But it would have some effect. The Romans had a version of anti-lying laws, in some eras anyone who accused someone of a crime, was to face the full punishment for that crime if the person they accused turned out to be innocent. A truly just law, designed to limit false accusation.

This shows that you don't need to be a Christian nation to have such laws. We can point to pagan societies - as this was in pre-Christian Rome - that we can observe were far wiser in their speech laws than the modern Christian influenced West. And especially wiser than any Christian advocating free speech as a must.

The tongue is a restless evil, it needs strong restraints. Relying on wicked men to be self-restrained is the height of naivety at best, foolishness though really.

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