The annual Poehler Lecture was given by Professor Thomas Hanson. He has served Concordia for more than 30 years in different roles. He spoke on March 13th about the kind of free speech we have that is outlined in the first amendment. His speech was titled “Labels and the Death of Free Speech: What does this Mean?” He wanted to explore how the labels we place on each other are detrimental to communication.
Prof. Hanson stated that “We like that we have a first amendment that allows for freedom of speech; we also have the freedom of expression within our faith.” This freedom is directly because of the freedom we have as a Christian. In Martin Luther’s treatise “Freedom of a Christian,” he writes that we have freedom because of Christ. Christ has taken everyone’s sins to the cross and He has given His perfection to everyone. This perfected inner person allows the outer person to do good works and have the freedom of expression.
The concept of free speech has become a bit confusing to me in this modern age. This age has emphasized the importance of not offending anyone. This has caused me to withdraw from some conversations because I am scared to offend people or say the wrong things. I find myself applying labels to people whom I do not know because I have not talked to them. The gift that I have received from Christ has allowed me to challenge my previous misconceptions. Christ has made me pure by taking my sins to the cross with Him. The Poehler lecture has challenged me to talk to people before making a label about them.