Welcome and TGIF RedStaters!  It’s Friday – circle up with the gang here at the Water Cooler and share what’s on your mind.  As for me:

America, the “Experts”, Gets Freedom Wrong.

America makes a BIG DEAL out of freedom (aka Liberty).  You would almost think it is a foundational principle.  Oh, that’s right… it kind of is…

Freedom cropped up early – in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence (emphasis mine):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

It was carried through in the US Constitution (emphasis mine):

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

And it was elaborated on at length in the Bill of Rights, such as here in the First Amendment (emphasis mine):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is a huge body of work and copious established case law regarding American Freedom, and yet, America is losing freedoms daily.  This is due to fundamental misunderstanding and misapplication of our freedoms.  In practice the backstory is worthless as in the end freedom is as freedom does.

What do I mean by this?  In contrast to our heritage of liberty, in practice:

And it goes on and on, with conscientious Americans constantly barraged with examples of the lowering bar and our eroding American Experiment.  Our current predicament of eroding freedoms certainly was not wholly unforeseen.

  • In a favorite and early example at the close of the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin shows prescience of the dangers to the Republic, if not the expected outcome.  When asked whether the now independent (from Britain) colonies would be a Monarchy or a Republic, Ben Franklin answered presciently (via Bartleby):

A republic, if you can keep it.

  • And of course, my favorite quote by John Adams (via Brainyquote)

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Where did America Go Wrong?

If we want to preserve (or regain, as the case already often prescribes) our freedoms, it would help to rewind and determine our basis for our freedom.  Rewinding back to the Preamble in the Declaration of Independence (emphasis mine):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Our Founders knew that our rights come from our Creator, and further, felt that it was important to document this, enshrining the fact in THE foundational document of what would become the United States.  Where would they have gotten their information?  The vast majority of them were “God fearing” (meaning submissive to God) Christians.  They would use the Bible as their source for this confidence.  And any exceptions that may not have been Christian?  God even showed how they would know the truth (Romans 2:15):

14 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, do by nature what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the Law, 15 since they show that the work of the Law is written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts either accusing or defending them. (emphasis mine)

And for Christians who would trust God’s inspired Word in the Bible – here are 100 verses of what the Bible has to say about Freedom, with some examples excerpted in these blockquotes:

Galatians 5:1 ESV / 1,002 helpful votes

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Hmm. Apparently freedom once won can be lost.

Galatians 5:13 ESV / 751 helpful votes

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Freedom is to be used to serve in love (conditional to preserving it?)

1 Peter 2:16 ESV / 748 helpful votes

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Again, freedom has a purpose beyond our own pleasure or convenience

2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV / 711 helpful votes

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

And where the Spirit of the Lord IS NOT – maybe freedom is not there…

John 8:32 ESV / 652 helpful votes

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Truth sets us free.

John 8:36 ESV / 518 helpful votes

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

So, if we really want America to be free, we need to remember and act:

  • The truth of Freedom is in the Bible – realities on the ground will need to be formed from people who know it, whether voters, legislators, judges, etc.
  • Remember that the freedom is from, and not independent of, God
  • Remember that freedom is to serve others in love, not serve ourselves
  • Remember that our Constitution (inclusive of the Bill of Rights) was made only for a religious and moral people, it is wholly inadequate to the governance of any other.  To the degree that we do not let the Spirit of God govern our behavior, government will have to fill the gap.

Regarding the President’s Calls to Gold Star Families

And tying back to the discussion on freedom, what it is and what it is for…

  • A US President could trouble himself to call the survivors of fallen American soldiers.  Or not.  Our current President has used his freedom to make that call.
  • A US House Representative could listen in or not.  She used her freedom to listen in.
  • A US House Representative could leave that call private, or politicize it.  She used her freedom to politicize the call.
  • Media players could frame this as a tacky call or as an honest attempt buy the President to comfort others, or as something that should have stayed private.  Most used their freedom to sow division.
  • A White House Chief of Staff could let a story persist or engage.  He used his freedom to engage and to point out the higher road.
  • And finally, another widow, who received a similar call back in April, could choose to stay silent, or to come to the defense of a man who had made the effort to comfort her and her family.  This widow used her freedom to come to the defense of a man who had done a good thing. From the Washington Examiner:

Widow releases Trumps Call

How will you use your freedoms…  while you have them…

Once again, while I would love to see engagement on these topics, the Water Cooler is always an open thread!  Enjoy your freedoms and your weekend RedStaters.  Peace.