No one is quite sure who originally said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” but it is quite true and very applicable in America today.
Our “right” to remain silent stems from the free will given us by our Creator, God. The question at hand these days is when we should choose to exercise that particular right. Often times, as is quoted in the book of Proverbs on multiple occasions, holding our tongue is a wise and prudent action which prevents us from speaking hurtful words in anger. Remaining silent also provides us with the benefit of using proportionally the senses God provided for us (if we have TWO ears and ONE mouth, we should listen twice as much as we speak).
However, there are also times when we need to exercise our “right” of free speech. In Mark 16:15, Jesus commands us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” In the past week, I have read two articles which are indicative of the growing religious bigotry against Christians in America – a country founded on the principle of religious freedoms.
The first event occurred in a school in western New York State where a long-time teacher was given a written reprimand by the school district and told to remove all biblical references (including a poster with a quote from President Reagan) from her classroom. The teacher served as the adviser to the school’s Bible Club. In the same school, another teacher was openly displaying and promoting “Gay Rights” posters and events and encouraging students to attend and celebrate their “freedom.” No action was taken against the second teacher.
The second event involved a long-time substitute teacher in a New Jersey school who was fired because he gave a student a Bible. The teacher, Mr. Walter Tutka, was waiting at the classroom door for his students to file in, when he saw one boy lagging behind and cheerfully said to him, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” Several times over the next few weeks the boy mentioned the quote and asked Mr. Tutka where that quote came from. Mr. Tutka told him it came from the Bible, but he could not remember the precise verse and would need to look it up. Then, one day at lunch, the boy approached Mr. Tutka and asked again about the origin of the quote and Mr. Tutka pulled out his pocket New Testament, found it and showed it to the boy. As their conversation continued, the boy mentioned he didn’t have a Bible so Mr. Tutka offered his pocket New Testament to the boy. For this action, he was fired.
Scripture clearly tells us that Christians will suffer for our faith in this world. The New Testament is replete with examples of Believers being persecuted for their faith. But, Scripture also tells us that we are to be bold in our faith and stay true to its teachings. Jesus sternly warned us in Mark 8:38, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Then Paul, in his letter to the Romans said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
I ask only that you ponder this question, “Should I exercise my right to remain silent?”