For my money, when it comes to our current cultural moment—that crowning moment of Western Civilization when a United States Presidential administration orders that a teenage boy be allowed to shower with the schoolgirls because on that particular day he’s singing the old Shania Twain song with a little extra umf: Man, I feel like a woman—no one understands, analyzes, knows the hidden plays, and articulates the strategies better than Doug Wilson, a pastor in Idaho. I’m both not hesitant at all and a little hesitant to say this. I’m not hesitant at all because it is true. I’m a little hesitant because a few good folks, allergic to hard truths and plain talk as they are, break out in hives every time Wilson writes the word sodomy, and though I’m working hard at ruining my reputation, I still care a little. If you think it is nonsensical and a violation of the law of noncontradiction to be both hesitant and not hesitant at the same time, congratulations! You are among the few in America who can still be reasoned with.
As such, I want to recommend to you The Free Speech Apocalypse, Wilson’s new documentary. The film is fundamentally a cultural commentary on the intolerance movement among American liberals, exposing its contradictions, strategies, and hilarity. And by hilarity I mean it’s so lame it’s kind of funny. The organizing narrative thread centers on a series of lectures entitled Sexual By Design, given by Wilson a few years ago at Indiana University. Let’s just say that a lot of the students who showed up were less than thrilled with Wilson’s beliefs regarding human sexuality. And if they had been content to just be less than thrilled, the event could not have been used for a movie. Instead, they employed the power moves of the Left to try to shout him down and shut him up; Wilson needed 20 police officers to ensure his safety…for giving a lecture…on a public university campus. That’s why the film is called The Free Speech Apocalypse. The First Amendment is crashing hard.
Here are four reasons you should watch the film:
- To know what is happening and what is coming. The fact of Donald Trump’s viability as a presidential candidate is evidence of a collective frustration with political correctness and speech sensitivity. Yet, I’m still not sure most of us realize the extent to which free speech is under threat and how the Left is maneuvering to castrate public discourse in America. Nowhere is this more evident than our universities, where coddled students now require trigger warnings, safe spaces, and counseling any time someone poses an idea that doesn’t give them warm fuzzies. Just this week, Yale students lost their collective wits when a university official wrote an email suggesting that students were capable of handling controversial Halloween costumes like adults. Demands for apologies and resignations ensued. These same students will occupy places of cultural and political influence in the future. We need to be aware and prepared for what’s coming.
- To see the hidden strategies. When playing defense in football, it’s good to know that not every time the quarterback looks like he’s handing the ball to the running back is it an actual handoff. Sometimes he runs a bootleg and throws downfield to the tight end for a touchdown. The point is that we need to be aware of what our opponents are actually doing. This film exposes several tactics including: raw power by victimhood, demands for apologies as a means to gain power, and shouting in order to silence. No arguments, just rage and hurt feelings.
- To be, quite literally, encouraged. The crying need of the hour is for those who love Jesus and the good, the beautiful, and the true to be full of courage. This film calls believers to courage. We do not have to surrender the dictionary. We are free to recognize the liberal worldview as bankrupt and lame. We do not need their permission to think, speak, or even to disobey their own unlawful laws. We should have the courage to insist on that fact that truth is fixed and words have meanings. We need the courage to resist their demands for apologies.
- To see the great Gospel need of our day. What we see in this film is Romans 1 type of stuff. We are seeing inventors of evil. We are seeing those that not only practice evil, but give approval to those that do (and incidentally, they are demanding that we give approval to what they do, which is kind of their whole point). These kinkosexual revolutionaries are deep into the suppression of the knowledge of God. This kind only goes out by prayer. Viewing this film has the potential to tempt you toward anger. Rather, we should look with pity and love at the enslaved. Do we still need to fight? Absolutely. But let us remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood—even if the flesh and blood is dancing half-naked with a rainbow boa necklace in a gay pride parade—but against principalities and powers and the Devil himself. Culture and politics are downstream from religion. So we must fight the battle primarily in people’s hearts with the Word of Christ, the Gospel. The battle is spiritual so let us use spiritual means. Of course, let us not also forget that when the New Testament speaks of people being filled with the Spirit—which would make that person spiritual—the event that follows is usually that person proclaiming Christ boldly and casting down idols with words that would land you in sensitivity training and an on-air apology today. So this is not unrelated to the film’s central premise. Still, we should keep in mind that repentance and faith are gifts from God. Let us pray accordingly.
If I had to name one criticism of the film it would be that regular readers of Wilson’s blog would not necessarily encounter any new ideas. He’s written most of this stuff already. Still, the ideas are helpful and wise enough to hear again, in living color, with lots of extra scenes and commentary from a few others. For those that are not regular readers, after they get done saying I’ve never thought of it like that before, but that’s brilliant, I think they’ll stop by Blog and Mablog a bit more often.
I’ll end this review with my favorite quote from the movie. “If you’ve ever exercised your First Amendment right of free speech, thank a Christian. We invented it.”