Should freedom of speech be an important issue for evangelicals?
Guilherme De Carvalho: Freedom of speech is an absolute priority. It is necessary for the free preaching of the gospel. But the fact is that freedom of speech is under threat, not only because of abuse, mainly by right-wing extremists, but also by militant opposition from authoritarian left-wing movements interested in censoring criticism.
The church’s greatest contribution to the common good is the gospel, and fundamental civil liberties are necessary for the free spread of the Word of God. There are, of course, people who consider it selfish to make these freedoms a political priority. But they forget that, historically, social rights have only developed in the West on the basis of fundamental freedoms. In light of history and logic, our priority should be to first protect individual rights before moving on to protecting social rights.
Iza Vicente: Freedom of speech should indeed be an important issue for evangelicals. We need to defend it, but we also need to understand that this freedom has limits. Balancing freedom and discourses is challenging for everyone, including evangelicals.
Ziel Machado: Freedom of speech is an important value for any democratic society, and therefore, it is important for evangelicals and nonevangelicals.
Democracy is always unstable, always subject to risk. It demands participation, but conscious participation. To support this system of government, evangelicals need to educate themselves for democratic life.
Jacira Monteiro: Freedom of speech is indeed important for Christians. Those who care about the well-being of their neighbors should be concerned about the fact that everyone can express themselves freely.
However, every Christian knows that freedom of speech must be used responsibly and with love for others. Any freedom of speech that is used irresponsibly generates sin. Because we live in society, everything we do spills over onto others. Therefore, we must always be open to dialogue, not demonizing others who think differently from us, and make room for plurality to flourish. Responsible freedom of speech is important for Christians.
Ricardo Barbosa: Freedom of speech is an important issue for everyone, not just for evangelicals. We don’t need to agree with everything or everyone, but it is important that everyone has the space to express their thoughts, ideas, and values without, however, wanting to impose them. Freedom of speech combined with prioritizing the common good and good arguments are the best raw materials for building a mature society.
The problem is that there are many ways to limit this kind of freedom. Public authorities can put restrictions on speech, but so can we through contempt, intolerance, and the inability to recognize the simple fact that we are different. We need to preserve values such as respect, tolerance, and diversity.