You have the right to remain silent

I read an article from the Washington Post that basically says two thirds of Americans are staying silent out of fear.  Not fear of the government, but fear of harassment on social media, and I assume fear of losing friends.  The “exhausted majority” stays quiet on gay and lesbian issues, immigration, and race/racism.  As a pastor, this is always on my mind.  I think about it when I blog, when I preach on Sunday mornings, and when I bring the Word through devotions on Wednesday nights.  One time in the past two weeks I was so bothered by something that I wanted to speak out about, that I sent a text to a trusted friend because I dare not speak in the open about it.  My friend wrote back, “You are wise not to share publicly.  I have to slap my own hands often.”  I would have had a clear conscience, but it would have accomplished nothing.  My wife Diane is also a very good sounding board.

Take the Elizabeth Warren “Native American” issue in the news today.  Snopes says,

“…it is true that while Warren was at U. Penn. Law School she put herself on the “Minority Law Teacher” list (as Native American) in the faculty directory of the Association of American Law Schools, and that Harvard Law School at one time promoted Warren as a Native American faculty member. But specific evidence that she gained her position at Harvard (at least in part) through her claims to Native American heritage is lacking. “

I have an idea for a great blog post on this, but I dare not go down that road.  The fact that I even bring it up quoting Snopes is risky enough.  I would never express an opinion about it through a blog post!

I always ask myself, “Is this a mountain I am willing to die on?”  (I do not even know if that is offensive.)  I have certainly made mistakes in the past.  Sometimes I have written or spoken about things I wish I had not.  There have been times I have been too “in your face” with Jesus only to drive people away.  But I think for the most part, I have not erred on the side of being too outspoken, but being too afraid to speak.  And in a society where our right to free speech is protected, if I find it difficult to proclaim Jesus and His teachings in the public square… well, I pray mightily for my brothers and sisters in lands where they can be killed for doing so.

Lord, forgive me for those times I speak when I should remain silent, and those times I remain silent when I should speak.

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