The Green Ribbon Campaign
Green Ribbon for Responsibility in Free Speech
for Responsibility in Free Speech

The campaign for Responsibility in Free Speech is sponsored by Zondervan Publishing House.

Zondervan Press Release on the Campaign for Responsiblity in Free Speech Campaign - 6/6/96

Zondervan Sponsors Green Ribbon Responsibility In Free Speech Internet Campaign

Grand Rapids, Mich. - In an effort to protect the right of free speech and to encourage the responsible exercise of that right, Zondervan Publishing House (ZPH) is launching an international awareness campaign on the Internet ( using a green ribbon as its symbol.

"As a leading publisher, we recognize that freedom of speech is a vital human right," says Michael Hoffman, Webmaster, ZPH. "We also understand the power of words and believe that they should be expressed carefully and meaningfully. That's why we have initiated this campaign."

ZPH has created a horizontal green ribbon icon and is encouraging managers of World Wide Web sites to place this on their own Internet Home Pages to demonstrate their support for the campaign. Free green ribbon lapel buttons are also available from ZPH ( "In heraldry, green is the color of youth and hope," says Hoffman, "so it is appropriate to use it as the symbol for this campaign."

What follows is the campaign introduction as found at

"Good citizens know they're accountable for their actions (someone has said, "My right to swing my arm ends when my fist hits your nose"). There are those, however, who tend to forget that they also are held accountable for their words. That's how laws against libel and slander are sustained. Just as in life rules, limitations, and boundaries guard against physical anarchy (e.g., traffic laws, social graces), so to limitations exist to guard against verbal incivility.

"Words have a power all their own. At Zondervan Publishing House, we publish life-changing words. Author Tim Stafford, in his book That's Not What I Meant!," says, 'Words can hurt. Words can heal. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that we pay attention to our words.'

"The advent of the Internet has seen a staggering growth in the potential for the freedom of speech and expression to people throughout the world. Sadly, in some quarters, this same freedom is being abused and used irresponsibly as a smoke screen to communicate in a vulgar, profane, violent, and insulting manner.

"Dr. Alan Keyes, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, says in his book, Our Character, Our Future, 'Freedom requires that at the end of the day, we accept the constraint that is required...." A posting on a personal Web site contends, 'True freedom must be guarded from being confused with unrestrained licentiousness. If we have no absolute moral code, then we will quickly move toward certain destruction of ourselves and our nation.'

"If you agree that the true right of free speech is accurately carried out when self-restraint is responsibly exercised, please display the Green Ribbon for Responsibility in Free Speech on your Web site. Thank you."

Celebrating 65 years of publishing excellence, Zondervan Publishing House is a division of HarperCollinsPublishers. ZPH serves ministries, mass merchandisers, and retail facilities internationally, including more than 8,000 chain and independent Christian and general bookstores in the U.S. ZPH publishes bestselling Bibles, books, software, audio, video, multimedia, calendars, journals, and gift products. ZPH has been awarded more Gold Medallion Awards for excellence in publishing than any other publisher. All ten positions on the top-ten Bestselling Bibles List have been simultaneously held by ZPH-published Bibles, an unprecedented achievement. ZPH is also the recipient of the Business of the Year award from The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan. ZPH's international division, Vida Publishers, is the leader in the publishing and distribution of Bibles and Christian books in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. ZPH is on the Internet at

Zondervan Publishing House