NASHVILLE, Tennessee (NRB) – Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R.-Tenn.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke of the vital role NRB plays in the fight for religious freedom in America when they addressed the NRB 2020 Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, February 28.
Blackburn said as a policymaker she has realized free speech and religious liberty are closely linked.
“When we choose to speak out on matters of faith, we end up having to defend not only our beliefs … you have to defend your right to express your beliefs,” she said. “That is where we find ourselves in the year 2020. It seems to be an impossible predicament.”
The platform – the internet – that was supposed to “bring us all together so that we would be constantly having one nationwide townhall” is the same platform that has “created this culture of hostility,” Blackburn said.
For NRB members, the stakes are higher, she said, because “you’re not talking about puppies. … You are talking about consequential issues in our lives, in our faith. You’re talking about the issues of abortion and sexuality, child protection, the dangers of human trafficking. You’re talking about religious freedom. You’re talking about right and wrong.”
“This is why you get attacked. Offering these traditional viewpoints is never going to fail to draw arguments from the progressive media sphere,” Blackburn said.
One of the main threats today is “when someone hears an opinion that you’re expressing, and they use their power to get online or get on air and not just debate. What do they want to do? They want to shut you down,” the senator said.
Everyone should have the right to control the content they see or hear, but secular society has been closing the gap between “I’m muting this person, I’m tuning them out,” and, “I am going to prevent this person from saying what they have to say,” Blackburn said.
“I will many times say, ‘I don’t agree with what you’re saying, but let me assure you I’m going to defend to the death your right to express that opinion even though I think you are really, really wrong.’ That is what we call free speech,” she said to applause.
Censorship has become so pervasive today because “the left is so good at making limits sound reasonable,” Blackburn said. “They cite, ‘Well, it’s for mental health,’ ‘Well, it’s for public safety,’ or, ‘We need to do this for civility.’
“They use this as a justification to come into churches, to come into your broadcast, to come into computers, and to come into our minds to try to get us to think ‘correctly.’ They’re becoming the thought police.”
Blackburn told NRB Convention attendees, “I am ever so grateful that you all encourage your audience every single day to know the truth, not to live in a world of situational ethics and not to say truth is whatever is convenient for me today.”
Huckabee, host of Huckabee on TBN, said he believes there has never been a more important time for there to be an NRB.
“We’re living in a day where the polarity of cultures and the clash is so intense that if we do not stand and fight hard for the basic constitutional liberties of religious freedom, we not only will lose them, but the future generations will lose any understanding or knowledge of what this country was about,” Huckabee said during his session immediately following Blackburn’s.
“The NRB serves a vital, incredibly important role not only in communicating who we as believers are but who we as Americans are because you are not going to get it from the legacy networks …. They’re not going to get that. It’s propaganda.”
Part of NRB’s mission, he said, is “to tell the uniquely American story of individual freedom, individual responsibility, and the fact that we are not a collectivist society.”
Huckabee offered three correctives to save civilization: faith based on Scripture, re-engaging the notion of family, and freedom.
“One of the reasons that our culture and society, our civilization itself, is in trouble is because we’re raising a whole generation of younger people who believe that the world revolves around what they think, what they feel, what they believe, and not what the facts of the Word of God are,” Huckabee said.
“This as much as anything is a message that I believe NRB has a unique responsibility to help broadcast to the world and to make sure that we don’t lose that fundamental idea that there are some things that may seem right but in the end they are death,” he said.
“We cannot have a generation that lives as it was in the time of the Judges where everyone did what was right in his own eyes, and yet that’s the culture that young people are being raised in and sadly even in what have been and otherwise would be Bible-believing, evangelical churches,” Huckabee said.
Regarding family, Huckabee said its purpose is “so that we can train our replacements.”
“It’s not to selfishly live our lives so that we have such a great time and we get to do the things we want to do,” he said. “It’s living our lives so that we can impart the wisdom of God’s standards to the next generation and train them to be our replacements. Hopefully, they’ll do a better job than we did.”
In 1960, 72 percent of adults were married, Huckabee said. Today, less than half are – indicating marriage has lost its importance in the public square.
“This is a vital role I think NRB and its members can play to simply give the message that dads really do matter. Sixty-one percent of African American kids are living in a home without a father. You don’t think that has an impact on the social strata of our culture? Well, it does, and not a good one,” Huckabee said.
As for freedom, he said “the kind of political freedom we have in this country – which is a gift from God Himself that we have it … and the free enterprise system has given us a level of prosperity that has never been known in all of human history.”
By Erin Roach