“You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve YOUR freedom.
I hope you will make a good use of it.”
“Act as if every day were the last of your life, and each action the last you perform.”
St. Alphonsus Liguori
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
We often give up our freedom because freedom means doing things for
ourselves, which is a great bother.
We stop working for ourselves and work for someone else who will take care of us.
We stop ruling ourselves because it is easier and even safer to have someone else rule us.
We stop thinking for ourselves because we find it simpler to have someone else think for us.
Then we wake up one morning and find that we are slaves to institutions that are
far out of our control.
from Knight of the Holy Ghost
I wonder if one day, in the not so near future, it won’t be considered, not only bad form,
but actually an unpardonable sin, to celebrate our own 4th of July—
that of the marking of the beginning of what was to become a great nation?
We seem to be on a hell-bent precarious and most dangerous path of self-righteous indignation
against what made us who we are today…be that a good making or now what many perceive to be
a bad making.
This week, the giant sporting goods maker, Nike has had to pull it’s new Betsy Ross sneaker–
before it even hit the shelves in anticipation of a patriotic 4th—
all because of a now-former football player who has deemed that our flag, our anthem,
and our very country is each a symbol of racism.
This coming from a young man who was raised by white parents in a life of middle-class privilege…
and yet he speaks knowingly of what it is that represents an oppressive past as if he
had lived that experience.
The city council in Charlottesville, Va has voted to no longer recognize the birthday of her
favorite son, Thomas Jefferson, due to his having owned slaves.
Lest we forget that he reportedly fell in love with one of those slaves…
and wrote of his desire to better the lives of enslaved people.
Statues have been removed, emblems taken down, mottos erased and pasts now painstakingly silenced…
all because people are imposing the 21st-century mindset on the mindset of those who lived
hundreds of years prior—those who lived the life they knew and not one of our modern hindsight.
Yet our goal is to expunge our past, at any and all cost- so help us…
(remember, we must not say ‘so help us God’ because that too is no longer acceptable)
Yet erased or not, our past will remain our past.
And the fact is that we are no longer those people.
We have become a better people…that is, until now.
Our current obsession seems to rest in a long ago and thankfully long abolished
use of human beings as free laborers at the hands of
both benevolent and cruel men.
The marketing of men and women bought and sold by other men and women.
Slavery sadly came as part of new world discoveries as old world ways depended on the
strong backs of men, both free and not free, to build a new world.
Slaves had been in the Carribean hundreds of years prior to the establishment of our colonies,
working on the sugarcane plantations for the Spanish.
The British, French and Dutch each soon followed suit.
As we know that Africans sold their kinsmen to both the white men of Europe as well as to the
brown men of the Middle East.
Slavery sadly was not, nor is it, something new.
Today we actually see a new form of slavery taking place…the market of human beings
for that of sex trafficking.
And so we must ask ourselves in this ongoing debate over reparations, are we willing to pay the
countless families, who have lost loved ones as sex slaves?
Those individuals who now must use their bodies in most profane ways at the
expense of others?
This as voices now demand that we pay the families of former black slaves.
Yet how do we determine who was slave and who was owner?
What of the Jews who escaped to the US following WWII?
Those who had either survived the death camps or simply the remaining families
who had lost loved ones, do we or does Germany owe them?
What of those who worked as slaves for the Nazi regime and those who simply were killed?
Should the Germans now pay the families of those who were lost in the gas chambers?
And what of the countless Russians in gulags…those from the days of Communist regimes?
What of the countless numbers of Chinese and Koreans who are imprisoned for
simply expressing free speech.
Who pays their families?
The list is endless.
And it is in the endlessness in which the absurdity is found.
As America begins to wade through the tit for tat of minutia…
fighting over what and who we once were while trying to rewrite it all…
we have actually lost who and what we are—and that is a people who overcome hardships
toil and sorrow while picking ourselves up and having moved forward…all
in order to build a better tomorrow.
Tragically we are now so busy attempting to erase our past, that we’ve forgotten
the very real future that needs us.
Patriotism was once part and parcel of calling oneself an American.
We grew from what was to what might be…
And yet it now appears we are desperately trying to fall backward as we now associate
patriotism with that of racism.
All of which simply makes us slaves to our past.
Yet in all of this, be we free man or slave… there is but one truth that remains…
that in Jesus Christ, the global family of Christian believers,
there is neither slave nor slave owner…
but only freedom for all men and women.
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?
Those things result in death!
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God,
the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.