Quote Category: ‘Free Speech’
It’s a great blessing to live in America. It’s a great blessing to have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms which are ours today. I have seen people, thousands of them, who have lost the freedom which is ours, where they can no longer meet, as we meet here this morning, and express themselves as they see fit, where they no longer have freedom of movement, freedom to select their own jobs, their own educational opportunities, freedom to speak their minds, to write what they wish – freedom of enterprise. In many parts of the world today these rich blessings of freedom no longer exist.
Evoking images of the Mayflower pilgrims and of George Washington at Valley Forge, Hinckley said the United States was founded on “an unequivocal trust in the power of the Almighty to guide and defend us.”
Revered as a prophet by members of the Mormon Church, Hinckley decried the disappearance of family prayer and attempts to remove reference to deity from society.
At times seeming to suppress tears, Hinckley recalled his visits to the American military cemetery in France, where his brother is buried.
“As I have stood before the cross that marks his grave, I have thanked God for the cause for which he died, for the great and eternal concepts” of human dignity, liberty and freedom to worship, speak and assemble.
Those concepts were handed down by God to the framers of the U.S. Constitution, Hinckley said.
“I pray that America may always be worthy of [God’s] blessing. There is no place for arrogance among us. There is no place for conceit or egotism. As we look to God, we will grow in strength.”
Our Creator endowed each one of us with certain rights at birth, among which are the rights to life, liberty, speech, and conscience, to name a few. These are not just human rights; they are divine rights. When these rights are not permitted expression by a nation, that nation becomes inhibited in its progress and development, and its leaders are responsible before God for suffocating sacred rights.
This native endowment is what separates man from the animals. It causes men to want to be good and to seek higher aspirations. It creates in man a desire to better his life and his station in life.
[Political and economic rights] are the things we are inclined to take for granted as American citizens.
The rights as listed included the right to worship God in one’s own way, rights to free speech and a free press, the right to assemble and freely to speak our own minds without any fear whatever. There are many countries of this world where you cannot do that today.
The right to petition for grievances, the right to privacy in our homes, the right to trial by jury, and to know that we are innocent until we are proven guilty. The right to move freely at home and abroad, the right to own private property, the right to free elections and personal secret ballot. The right to work in callings and localities of our choice. The right to bargain with our employees and employers. The right to go into business, to compete, to make a profit. The right to bargain for goods and services in a free market. The right to contract about our affairs.
These are an impressive list of rights which lay at the very foundation of the American way of life and preserve the dignity of the individual. Our constitutional government desires to serve the people, and basic in our beliefs is our fundamental belief in God and in the eternal principle of free agency, the right of choice.
By inheritance we enjoy liberty vouchsafed by the Constitution to speak, to work, to study, to pray as we wish, so long as we do not deprive others of the same privileges.
Next to the divine authority of the Priesthood I believe that no principle of the Gospel is more endangered today than is that principle which gives us individual freedom…
It was that very principle that induced our Founding Fathers to declare their independence from the countries in Europe and to establish the Constitution, giving to each individual the right to worship, the right to build, the right to work, the right to think, to speak, to preach, so long as each gave to other individuals that same privilege.
A few hundred years afterward, came the Declaration of Independence, and then the Constitution of the United States, fundamental in which is the right of the individual to worship God, to speak as he feels, own his property, to take care of his family – his home, his castle.
A great deal has been said about the form of government, and the constitution under which we live. They have been the praise of all Americans, and perhaps of people living in other portions of the earth. We consider that we have been blessed as a nation in possessing the freedom and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. They have been a rich legacy from our fathers. We consider our form of government superior to any other on the earth. It guarantees to us “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And while the inhabitants of many other governments have been tyrannically bound up, and their minds controlled in certain channels, and they have been deprived of the right of liberty of speech and of many other rights valued by freemen, ours has guaranteed unto us all the liberty that can be enjoyed by man. Still, I have many times thought that we, as American Citizens, have not prized the gifts and blessings guaranteed to us by the Constitution of our country. For the last few years, especially, the Constitution at times, has been looked upon as a matter of the smallest consequence. In some respects, however, it has been a blessing to us as a people, and it is to the whole nation, as far as it is carried out. But in order to fully receive its blessings we have to honor its precepts.