"Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations (or even individuals) as determined by a censor." Hmmm - I've always thought that was an interesting word and concept. I have heard it most of my life - normally in connection with the government or another authority deciding what could be made public and what couldn't. A good example is certain literature. During World War 2, many nations censored our literature and a few countries still do. Freedom of speech is something people born in this country take for granted - especially when it comes to stating our opinion on something that isn't popular with the majority of people. It was during the late 50's and through-out the 60's that young people decided they were going to exercise their freedom of speech and do away with censorship. Some good and bad things came out of that but if you were being molded during that time period as I was, it is very hard at times to accept the concept of censorship.
Looking back in history - a book I have taken for granted my entire life was censored as far as it's being accessible to the "common man" for so many years. That book is the Bible. There are still some places where it is still censored which would come as a surprise to many people who are not only aware of but can not even comprehend such a thing.
Other cases of censorship may come as a result of someone choosing not to report something to the general public as it might cause more more harm than good. For example a reporter may learn of something that might make him a superstar in his profession but when the information would cause an individual harm or anxiety, that reporter may choose to censor himself and not print the information as he may have desired to do.
In the first century, many Christians were put to death for carrying out the commission given to all Christians to continue preaching about Christ even though that work had been censored by the authorities of that day. Many are facing physical persecution and imprisonment even today for doing the very same thing in several countries.
So censorship can come in two forms - one imposed by another authority or one that is self-imposed because of a request or because it is deemed the information is more harmful than good. Freedom to share our opinions on issues and/or people, institutions, movies, plays, sports, whether to pull for Chevy or Ford in NASCAR - is something that comes as easy to us as breathing. When someone asks us to censor ourselves and what we write or talk about; it takes a few minutes to assimilate that request. Assimilate means to take in and utilize as nourishment : absorb into the system b : to take into the mind and thoroughly comprehend dissect that request.
As a minister, we try to listen and think before we speak and choose our words as wisely as we possibly can. That isn't censorship - it is putting the importance of the life-saving message before our freedom to be able to speak it. That doesn't mean it isn't hard to not speak freely of something that is very important to you - but you have to work on self-control and use your words wisely and for the good of others and not just yourself.
I will have to say once more how much I do appreciate freedom of speech - especially with those who love us and accept us for exactly who we are and what our needs are.
Tune in next time for more ramblings of an old lady.....