• Foundations of Truth

Think Before You Speak



Proverbs 16:23 says, “The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.” This proverb reminds all of us that we ought to think with humility before we speak. This wisdom becomes especially important for public figures whose words weigh heavily on the public consciousness. To be called “out of touch” is a quintessential insult. Unfortunately, it is an accusation that could be leveled at any one of us.


Given this information, it is unsurprising that Prince Harry ignited a firestorm on both sides of the pond when he said:


“I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers, I don’t want to start going down the First Amendment route because that’s a huge subject and one which I don’t understand because I’ve only been here a short time. But, you can find a loophole in anything. You can capitalize or exploit what’s not said rather than uphold what is said. I believe we live in an age now where you've got certain elements of the media redefining to us what privacy means. There's a massive conflict of interest.” [1]


This comment incited negative responses across the board, from Republican Representative Dan Crenshaw to Brexit leader Nigel Farage. Their general consensus was summed up by the words of Farage: “For Prince Harry to condemn the USA's First Amendment shows he has lost the plot. Soon he will not be wanted on either side of the pond.”


Most of us see the irony in Harry using the freedom of speech to criticize the First Amendment that protects it. Sadly, he does not. How could he? He comes from a country that has banned the “hate speech” that United States courts have refused to prohibit under the First Amendment. [2]


In contrast to the United States, the United Kingdom has passed laws like Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986 (POA), which makes it illegal to use “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior that causes, or is likely to cause, another person harassment, alarm or distress.” [3]


Given Harry’s role as a member of the British monarchy, insensitive comments like this are seen as a social sin because they are perceived as the result of a lack of self-awareness. Consider Galatians 6:3, which says, “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” What many found especially galling about Harry’s comment was the fact that he felt it was an issue on which he could legitimately comment.


We can all learn from this incident by keeping in mind that we should not speak thoughtlessly or from a position of ignorance, especially when we occupy positions of public scrutiny.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Emily Kirpatrick, “Prince Harry Called the First Amendment “Bonkers” and Gave Some Talking Heads an Excuse to Relitigate the Revolutionary War,” Vanity Fair (May 17, 2021), https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/05/prince-harry-armchair-expert-podcast-first-amendment-bonkers-conservative-reactions

[2] “Matal v. Tam,” Oyez (n.d.), https://www.oyez.org/cases/2016/15-1293

[3] “Hate speech vs. free speech: the UK laws,” Newsweek (February 12, 2020), https://www.theweek.co.uk/97552/hate-speech-vs-free-speech-the-uk-laws#:~:text=Under%20Article%2010%20of%20the,necessary%20in%20a%20democratic%20society%E2%80%9D


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