The head of a well-known association of Christian communicators warned this week that faith-based broadcasters are seeing their freedoms challenged in the modern era, specifically when it comes to their handling of issues related to sexuality and Islam.
Jerry A. Johnson, president and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters, a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators, told the audience on Monday, during his State of the Association speech in Orlando, Florida, that some broadcasters in other countries are already facing pushback and penalties for addressing these issues.
Johnson, who was speaking at the start of his organization’s annual NRB International Christian Media Convention, implored the audience to work diligently to protect the First Amendment, and to rely upon his organization to ensure that free speech abounds.
“[D]on’t be fooled if you think it could never happen in America. The quickest way to lose the freedom of speech is not to use the freedom of speech. Use it or lose it,” he said. “We can and we must make and we will make NRB to the First Amendment what the NRA (National Rifle Association) is to the Second Amendment.”
It was an intriguing clarion call, considering that the National Religious Broadcasters organization was created in the 1940s to push back against restrictions that evangelical broadcasters faced at that time. A unique entity, the National Religious Broadcasters not only defends free speech, but also touts the Bible as “truth,” working to advance its cause in society.
Decades after its founding, the organization’s mission and charter remain clear and consistent, with Johnson sending a resounding warning sign against any government effort that would seek to squash free speech.
“If you’re in the government and you’re trying to take away the freedom of speech or religion or the press, NRB is a fight club and you better get used to it,” Johnson proclaimed.
The National Religious Broadcasters Board of Directors also adopted a series of resolutions this week, defending Christian-owned businesses that have been under fire following the legalization of gay marriage.
The organization urged the U.S. government to “faithfully preserve, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that all citizens are free to speak and free to exercise the tenets of their faith in daily life.”
Other resolutions were adopted as well, including a call for NRB members to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and for Israel more broadly, while also pushing back against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Prayer was also urged for Christians facing ongoing violence in the Middle East.
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