You have the right to say, think and feel whatever you want. That’s the benefit of living in a so-called free society. That freedom has its limits however…

When what you say, think and feel starts to directly affect other people in a negative way then you are interfering with the “freedoms” of others.

It can feel like a paradox to wish for acceptance of your own beliefs and preferences only to run into conflict when those beliefs can affect how you treat other people.

You have to give respect in order to gain it for yourself, even if doing so contradict with your core beliefs.

*Some Christians have a saying, “love the sinner–hate the sin” . This is a healthy approach to freedom of speech. One that can help prevent the violation of another’s right to be who they are… As long as it doesn’t harm or trample over the rights of others.

*Some Muslims feel that their way of life and the laws they follow trump all else… And others. You are not respecting their rights by not assimilating or changing the way you do things in order to appease their doctrine. This is an unhealthy approach to freedom of speech that borders on authoritarianism. A warped view that the only way is your way.

You can just pick up a history book to see how flawed that reasoning has been. And how we continue to make the same mistakes. Over and over and over again.

Freedom of speech is about the right to voice your opinions. Freely. Even if they are not popular or understood. With exceptions.

If you grew up in a good home then you probably remember being taught that if you couldn’t say anything nice about someone, then not to say anything at all. Great old testament style, no nonsense advice. You can have your opinions but refrain from purposely being hostile towards another.

It serves no purpose but to inflict harm.

You can express your opinions in a constructive manner that invites comment, thought and if delivered well enough… Change. Positive changes.

People just have to “care” enough to try.

*Usage of the word “some” signifies that I’m referencing only a fraction of the whole. It is not meant to make a general reference as no one can or should ever group an entire race, ideology or preference into a single conclusion about it. But just having to make this statement shows how difficult it can be to NOT end up offending someone.

Freedom of speech therefore, is a powerful tool of expression and communication everyone should use wisely… But don’t.

Or won’t.

It’s so much easier just to say whatever with no filter and expect people to still respect your right to say it… Regardless of its impact.