This I Believe

Megan - Ponca City, Oklahoma
Entered on February 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect
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Freedom from Insults

“Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt”. When Abraham Lincoln announced that world renowned quote I wonder if he thought the world would still need to apply this quote to our daily lives. Clearly it still can be. Now that many countries have achieved free speech it seems to be taken advantage of every day. In Denmark, cartoons insulting Muslims were published. When a backlash in the Muslim community occurred as predicted, the cartoonist hid behind their “Freedom of Speech” laws. Freedom of Speech is a privilege that many countries don’t have. As an American, I am proud that we have this right, but when it is abused I am ashamed. In 1791 the First Amendments in The United States containing four freedoms: religion, speech, the press and the right to assemble, were constructed. Freedom of Speech was constructed to achieve better rights and to have even the meekest voices be heard, it was not constructed to attack other cultures. Closer to heart I hold a belief that many other people do as well. It is the belief that we are all equal. In 1963 Martin Luther King gave an amazing speech that everyone can recognize; the “I have a Dream Speech”. Many see that he was aiming just towards African Americans and Caucasian Americans but I believe that it was much bigger than that. That the speech was intended for other of different religions, cultures, and races. A student in class was parading around telling his story that he told another student they were going to hell because they were having doubts about God, hurts me personally. It doesn’t hurt me because any student was directing it to I. It hurt because if one is having doubts about their god then they should be encouraged in a healthy manner rather then being told they are going to hell. I was raised Catholic and still am today however I stray away from many narrow minded Catholics that believe that anyone else who isn’t Catholic is going to hell. Other religions are interesting and just as intricate as any other. I was raised to respect people for who they are no matter if they are of a different religion, culture, or race. Lastly I believe profusely that individually and as a whole nation we should watch what we say so we don’t deliberately offend others simply because we do not hold similar beliefs.