On the morning of Nov. 15, my husband called me on his way to work as he always does. That morning he had passed something he had never seen. At the intersection of U.S. 129 and Jesse Jewell Parkway was a man preaching, Bible in hand with a headset connected to a speaker.
I jumped up, and we (our Kayla) got in her car. We had to see this for ourselves. My husband said the man had on a sport coat, and with the speaker setup, it was obvious he was not homeless.
As we approached the intersection, we didn’t see him. Then, on the sidewalk was the man, clean-shaven, sport coat, Bible in hand. Yes, he was wearing a microphone headset connected to a speaker. I grabbed my camera and took a couple of pictures. I turned and looked at Kayla and said, “I’ll be right back.”
I was compelled to thank him for, all by himself, utilizing two of his constitutional rights. First, his right to freedom of religion; that was obvious. Second, and what I feel is most relevant, his right to freedom of speech. I shook his hand and told him I appreciated that he had the courage to stand out there and stand up for his beliefs and rights.
A few years ago, my husband and I had to do the same thing. We had to stand up for ourselves against a major bank. I had people contact me from several different states, as far as Texas, asking my advice as what to do to help themselves. My answer was very simple: Use your voice, make some noise and if you are right, get your local media involved. That’s what we did.
I feel so strongly that we as individuals, small and large groups as American citizens, need to use our voices. Stand up for ourselves, each other, against what we don’t want and for what we want. I am not talking radically where you get labeled crazy and then no one listens. I mean maturely, appropriately, orderly and intelligently.
What we saw was almost inspirational, not only from the religious standpoint. We were inspired by his personal courage to use his voice in such a public way.
We left to get him a cup of coffee. When we got back, he was walking toward the new bridge. We stopped him, gave him his coffee, and as he was thanking us, he said he was headed to another intersection.
It made me think: Do I use my voice enough? Do you? Do we as people who have that right, do we use our right to freedom of speech enough?