Winning the Battle for Freedom of Speech
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’ And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.” (Mark 16:15, 20 NASB). This is part of what we call the Great Commission. The other passage, of course, is found at the end of Matthew 28. Every born again believer is commissioned by the Lord to tell others about Jesus. Holy Spirit often compels us to share our faith with others. Especially when we are newly saved, it is natural to want the whole world to know the One who has set us free from our sin.
College campuses are usually places where speech of all kinds is welcome. In fact, young students tend to be so prolific in their need to verbalize youthful opinions that most campuses have “free speech” zones and platforms where they are able to do just that. In the Jesus People Movement of the 60s and 70s, thousands of young people came to Christ on our campuses. As Holy Spirit begins to be poured out again on our youth, we can be assured the same phonomenum will occur. God will awaken the curiosity of a generation to the miracle-working, humanity-loving person called Jesus. With this in mind, can you imagine young believers not being able to share faith in Christ on college campuses in the United States of America? In today’s world, you probably can.
Chike Uzuegbunam (Dutch: Pronounced CHEE-kay Ood-zoog-BOO-num) found his voice shut down in 2013 by Georgia Gwinnett College.1 His parents had immigrated from Nigeria and raised their family trumpeting the freedoms of this wonderful country. To Chike, this appeared to be the case, until the day he received Jesus as his Savior and Lord and wanted to tell everyone about Him. Remember how excited you were when you were first saved?
Well, in the country he loved so much, Chike surprisingly found that his First Amendment right – “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech” – was limited. First, campus police stopped him and told him he had to speak from the free speech platform. He obtained the proper permits and scheduled a time to speak from there. Chike even indicated the exact content of his message and told them what literature he might be handing out as asked for on the application. However, as he began to share from the platform, two police officers stopped him again and told him someone had complained about his message.They said he could not share his faith in Christ at all. Sadly, he had no recourse with the school. He found he had to talk about Jesus more privately.2
Consider the content others were allowed to share from that “free speech zone.” Marxist-Leninist beliefs were okay; talking about loving whatever gender you wanted to was fine; but talking about Jesus was not. If we bow to establishments and let these moments go, soon free speech for Christians will be shut down everywhere. Satan would love that to be the case.
So, not only for himself, but for all believers, Chike knew he had to fight this limitation of his right to speak freely in public as a follower of Christ. He had to testify. He said, “I felt like I was treated unfairly. From the moment I was saved, all I ever wanted to do was share the gospel—the good news about Jesus Christ—with other people. But they stopped me. I just wanted to love people and share the greatest news in the world with them.”3
Chike decided to take Georgia Gwinnett College to court for violating his right to freedom of speech. When he did so, the college changed their policies and asked the court to dismiss the case. Because Chike had graduated, the court agreed the case was moot. But he did not stop. He appealed because, “I just wanted to make sure my college and other public institutions know they are legally bound to honor the Constitution.”4
Chike was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. One of its attorneys said, “Sadly, an overwhelming number of colleges and universities have unconstitutional policies in place. They do almost exactly what Georgia Gwinnett did. The Center for Academic Freedom has had over 400 victories against public colleges and universities. Universities are supposed to be about the free exchange of ideas as they help raise the next generation of leaders. Students should be able to speak freely on their campuses. If the government [or another public entity] has no consequences for violating our constitutional rights, then what’s the point of having those rights in the first place?”5
ADF took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last week, in an overwhelming 8-1 decision, Chike won! He won for every student in America’s public schools. Students will now be able to share Christ freely, without persecution and undue limitation by authorities, on their campuses. Like David, Chike is serving the purposes of God in his generation.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, ‘The just and upright shall live by faith.’”
(Romans 1:16-17 AMP)
Pray with me:
Father, thank You for this courageous young man who fought for his freedom to share the gospel of Jesus Christ on his college campus. Thank You for saving him and putting a fire in him. Lord, You led the framers of the Bill of Rights to write the first amendment. You knew we would need those rights. We won’t give them up. Help us find the boldness Chike had to stand firm like a modern-day David against Goliath.
Lord, we are confident you’re about to move mightily on the campuses of America – and other nations, as well. A young generation satan has tried to destroy physically through abortion and spiritually through anti-christ idealogies is destined for a glorious outpouring of Your love and grace. Bring it, Lord! And do so with incredible power and intensity. Let it be a Jesus People Movement, just as occurred in the 60s and 70s, but may this one come with many times more power and results. Overwhelm those in their teens, 20s, and 30s with Your love and power, Lord. Let it be like nothing the world has ever seen!
We release the power of Holy Spirit in us to the campuses, bars, apartments, concerts – and everywhere they’re found. We release signs, wonders, and miracles to get their attention and convince them of the gospel. Send laborers to them. Send angels to them. We know You can do this, we know You want to, and we know You will. Thank you. In Christ’s name. Amen
God is coming to rescue the Millennials and Generation Z with history’s greatest revival EVER!