Freedom of Speech on Trial—Squashed at Supreme Court But Protected in Tennessee

Southern Evangelical Seminary President and Evangelical Leader Dr. Richard Land Says SCOTUS Justices Should Be Ashamed While Governor and Lawmakers in Tennessee Should Be Applauded

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Just yesterday, America remembered all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of our freedoms—including freedom of speech. And as the summer rolls on, the nation will mark those observances that celebrate the freedoms that are truly American.

But freedom of speech, in many cases, is on trial across the U.S. The most recent and most glaring example was right in front of the highest court in the land.

In his daily “Bringing Every Thought Captive” radio feature, Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land discussed the outrageous hypocrisy of the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied basic First Amendments rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly protections on the plaza in front of the Court itself.

“The U.S. Supreme Court Justices ought to be ashamed of themselves,” Land said. “They are to be the last line of defense in upholding the Constitution and its guaranteed constitutional liberties. And yet, the Supremes recently revealed their hypocrisy yet again, falling prey to the Washington, D.C., disease of ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

“The Court decided in Hodge v. Talkin that First Amendment rights don’t apply on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court building itself in our nation’s capital,” Land continued. “Harold Hodge was arrested for holding a protest sign on the public plaza in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building. Believe it or not, in spite of the First Amendment guarantees that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, the Supremes have held that it is ‘unlawful to parade, stand, or move in procession or assemblages in the Supreme Court building or grounds.’

“What did Mr. Hodge of Hodge v. Talkin do? On January 28, 2011, Mr. Hodge held up a 3-foot-by-2-foot-sign that read, ‘The U.S. government allows police to illegally murder and brutalize African-Americans and Hispanic people.’ For this Mr. Hodge was handcuffed and arrested, and the Supreme Court has now upheld his conviction. Although I disagree with everything Mr. Hodge said, I defend to the death his right to say it.”

On the opposite side of the coin, in Tennessee, lawmakers and Gov. Bill Haslam recently passed Senate Bill 1556, which allows licensed counselors to opt out of treating clients or patients whose goals “conflict with the sincerely held principles of the counselor.” The law, among other things, protects conservative Christian counselors from being compelled to treat members of the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender community who don’t want to change their lifestyles—lifestyles that may violate the deeply held religious convictions of such counselors. The bill allows counselors or therapists “who feel they cannot serve a client due to the counselor’s sincerely held religious principles to refer the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the counseling or therapy,” according to the Baptist Press.

Unfortunately,” Land said, “given the militancy of the LGBT community and its rabid attack dog lawyers, such laws will increasingly become necessary to protect Christians in the medical and professional fields from having their licenses to practice called into question merely for following the dictates of their own religiously informed consciences. I applaud the State Senate, the State House of Tennessee and the governor for making such a law possible and making it law in the state of Tennessee. Furthermore, I encourage everyone to contact their representatives, senators and governors and let them know they want a similar law in their state to protect our Evangelical Christian brothers and sisters who serve as counselors and therapists.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary recently announced its 23rd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 13-15. SES will welcome such top name speakers as Norman Geisler, Richard Howe, Richard Land, Josh and Sean McDowell, Hugh Ross, Jay Sekulow, Lee Strobel, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others. The theme of the 2016 conference, “The Defense Never Rests,” focuses on the ongoing charge to Christians to defend their beliefs rationally, intelligently and lovingly. For registration information, visit

SES explores ethical issues through its “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program; for more information, visit Southern Evangelical Seminary also recently unveiled a new apologetics blog at, where Land and other SES voices address the most pressing issues of the day.

SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.

Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on almost 400 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, airs on the NRB Network Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For details about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.

Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.

Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”

For more information on SES, visit its web site at or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit

For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Beth Harrison, 610-584-1096, ext. 104, [email protected], or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102, or

Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.





Weekly Bible Study

See the Vital Need for Apologetics-Focused Education

Engaging real-world issues for the sake of the Gospel

Download Your FREE eBook Today!

May we use this number to text you?
Marketing by

Sign up for Blog Updates