One of the problems that has been one of existential importance in the life of the United States and its history is what can be determined to be a right, and what things we must pursue, but can never guarantee as a right to anyone. One of the largest divisive points in this country right now is whether or not there can be both a right of free speech alongside a right to not be offended.

Those who want this to be a right often use the words tolerance and acceptance in describing what is necessary to get to a world where this right is recognized. It is nearly always ironic in its application but I will explain what I say when I say that these two rights cannot coexist.

My name is Joshua Saunders, and as you will gather I am new here to and I am glad to be here. My family is unapologetic Christians that believe the Bible is the Word of God. This is not merely some religion I choose to follow. My faith defines me and without it I am not myself. My faith tells me that Jesus Christ is “The Way the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father (in heaven) but through me”. This means that I believe in a part of myself that is existential to my identity that if you do not agree with me on this point that you are doomed to eternal damnation. Most realize this about my faith, and will not hold that in and of itself against me in claiming to be offended. But this existential identity has consequences for my actions and words.

If I truly believe that this is the truth then I cannot sit idly by with this information. Think of it this way: You are pulled over to the side of the road trying to figure out a way to get around a sinkhole that has formed on a 65 MPH highway that is very deep. Its late at night, visibility is unclear and you see headlights. For me not to share my faith and tell you of the consequences I see for you if you do not share in the unbelievable grace of God who gave His only Son to us so we can not die but have everlasting life is like me standing on the side of the road staring at a car for five minutes taking no action to warn them of the sinkhole that I believe could kill the passengers in the car traveling at the rate of speed they would be traveling. It is almost spiritual criminal manslaughter.

But see to anyone not open to the sharing of the Gospel it is inherently very offensive. So therefore, there is no way to convince me with promises of tolerance and acceptance to not offend someone in this area of life. Thus in order to stop me from doing so you would have to compel me on pang of death, and if I am compelled to do so I still will not subsist in this ordeal you must not only deny me my right to free speech, but also to deny me my right to existence for exercising what is established as right of speech and religion. My very existence offends some that do not have tolerance for my viewpoint.

This principle can and will be extended to many subjects in life that are controversial. This is why I say that the purpose of the 1st amendment is not to protect just any speech. It is there to protect the most offensive of speech. If you know me in person, people by and large see me as a very tolerant guy. Just because I am tolerant does not mean that I do not speak out against lifestyles and choices I find dangerous or wrong in others.

I believe it is time for society as a whole to accept the reality of how life works. Accept that you will be offended. Accept that not everyone who offends you means you ill will. Accept that even those who offend you can also accept you for who you are as a whole and does not diminish their brotherly love for you. In fact, I would challenge that if a Christian does not offend a non-Christian at least one time in their life they cannot possibly love you.