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America: Land of the Free?
Are we free? Or just freer?
I am no student of the U.S. Constitution. I am not a lawyer or a politician. I am no longer in the U.S. military. I am not an expert on anything theological. I know that there is no such thing as a free lunch and there is always fine print on a Buy One Get One Free offer. I make no claims to be a purveyor of freedom, but when we are talking about truths we hold self-evident, shouldn’t free mean, “without stipulation?”
The Foundation of America
Yes, I realize there is an argument for the “framer’s intent” regarding the Constitution. And yes, I understand that laws are meant to protect the majority from the minority. I also can empathize with the religious desire to help all the lost souls be found.
I once held a strict belief that all America’s problems were rooted in a mass movement away from Jesus. I once held firmly to the idea that laws were correctly enacted in the best interest of the greater good. I also thought that an infringement on my freedoms was acceptable as long as it was in my best interest.
My interpretation of history has always been that America was founded on the idea of freedom. The foundation of America was based on ideas surrounding freedom of speech, of religion, freedom to bear arms and the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.
However, two incidences in the last couple years have forced me to question these previously held beliefs. Numerous encounters with close-minded individuals have forced me to question my interpretation of history, my definition of freedom and the very foundation that America was built on.
Did the framers of the Constitution really mean freedom to worship God as we choose? Or did they mean we are free to worship the God they choose?
Did the framers of the Constitution really intend to allow us to speak freely? Or did they mean we could speak out against England, in agreement with them?
Read it for Yourself
- Index Page - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net
USConstitution.net offers the text of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, a FAQ, glossary, comment/question area, and links to other resources
Warren Jeffs and the FDLS
Warren Jeffs is currently sitting in jail because the religion he chose is illegal. His expression of faith is based on communal living with multiple wives. He is a polygamist. I am not saying all roads lead to Heaven, and I am not saying polygamy and/or incest is acceptable. What I am questioning is, why this man, an American, is not allowed to worship God as he chooses?
Warren Jeffs in the news
Dale and Leilani Neumann
Dale and Leilani Neumann are both currently in jail because the religion they chose allowed for the death of their child. Their expression of faith is based on the idea that God heals when God deems it appropriate. They are Pentecostal Christrians. I am not saying that human sacrifice is acceptable and I am not saying that a child should be allowed to suffer needlessly. What I am questioning is why this family, two Americans, are not allowed to worship God as they choose?
Who are we to say that it was not in God’s plan for this child to die young? Who are we to say that this family wouldn’t grow into amazing people through their loss? Who am I to say their beliefs are wrong?
Beliefs cannot be right or wrong – they are just like opinions – they are not fact. They are open to interpretation, analysis and growth. When we are open to others’ beliefs and opinions, we allow ourselves to gain perspective, increase compassion, and grow spiritually.
It Happened AGAIN
Again, I tell you, I am a Bible-reading Christ follower. I have very strict guidelines I choose to live my life by. I am not interested in offering freedom of speech to Larry Flynt or freedom of assembly to the Ku Klux Klan or freedom of religion to members of the Order of the Solar Temple or freedom to pursue happiness to cannibals.
But yet, I have to then wonder – is America really free?