America: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave?

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Patrick Henry delivering his speech with the well known words, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

As Americans we hold to the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Year after year especially around holidays like Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day (I refuse to call it “Turkey day”), we are told we stand as a nation for liberty and justice for all, that we broke away from England to fight for liberty. We are inspired by the words of men like Patrick Henry who said, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” and who can forget the closing words of one of Samuel Adams speeches, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom – go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” Does this not inspire? Does this not make us proud to be Americans? To be the only nation in the world that has such foundation that best gives man the means to be happy and free?

As a nation, we hate such things as slavery. We think all men are created equal. We will berate anyone who dares cast chains upon us or who presumes to cast them on our fellow man. Our soldiers are called “freedom fighters” that protect the freedoms we hold so dear. This is our legacy. We are so zealous, we want to spread this freedom all across the world in the name of democracy and equality.

However, with Samuel Adams I would hold that “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.” But this is now altogether controversial. Many individuals are sure to quip that they believe liberty can be attained without religion, or even further, that religion is the source of all evil in the world. Well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens would certainly agree with this if the title of his book “God is not great: religion poisons everything” is any indication. Even more, one might wonder why Adams thought liberty could only be attained through religion, and specifically the Christian religion. In fact, libertarians are quick to point out that Christianity restricts man in many areas. For example, the Christian thinks that it is not the right of a woman to kill her baby through abortion (This is, after all, restricting her “choice”!).  And such things as homosexuality, adultery and bestiality should be illegal. How then can Christians be lovers of freedom when they put restrictions upon man?

Freedom loving Atheist

Those who oppose Christianity appear to have the high ground. How can we say we are for man’s life, liberty and happiness when we cast upon man the chains of law? After all, if Christianity condones slavery, perhaps we are better off with the freedom loving atheism so prevalent in our culture.

It is my opinion that Christianity is the champion of liberty and that all things else lead to slavery. The best way to show this may be to show that the average American is for slavery. Now you think I’m insane (you wouldn’t be the first). Yet a brief examination, for brief it must be, of the nature of liberty may avert your ill opinion of me, or perhaps it will increase it.

True liberty is only found under law, and to be clear, only in God’s law. Although indeed it is popular to see laws as binding men from their natural freedom, law is actually the only foundation for liberty. To use the abortion example once again, the “liberty” of the mother is the tyranny to the child in her womb. To further elucidate this point, consider also private property. A thief may think that you are restricting his liberty to take things by law, and indeed you would be. Yet, if he were permitted to do so, are you now free? Has he not taken away your liberty to own things and be prosperous? You see, there is no such thing as absolute liberty. If I think it a freedom to plunder you, you no longer have the freedom to not be impoverished through your work and thrift. Liberty is only found in God’s law.

But if you recall just a moment ago, I said most Americans are for slavery. Let me compile a brief list of things we  stand for as a nation that takes away the liberty, that is true liberty under God’s law, of its people:

  • Property tax  = taking away of the liberty to actually own your own property
  • Prison system = subjecting some prisoners to work for the state when they owe a debt to the people they wronged. (Note: in fact, the prison system is ipso facto slavery. The problem is that it is free work for the wrong people.)
  • No death penalty for murderers = taking away your freedom to live in a safe place.
  • Compulsory minimum wage laws = taking away the freedom to determine the wages the worker deserves.
  • Compulsory licensing for trades = taking away the liberty for workers to work without permission from the state.
  • Compulsory healthcare = taking away the liberty to freely buy products(!)
  • Taxes for public education = taking away the liberty to better invest your money in the school of your choice.

Man’s laws have a way of enslaving you, and more disturbing, they are always masked in a way that feigns in protecting your liberties Yet God’s laws provide the only true liberty. It is no accident that Noah Webster made this comment about liberty in this country: “If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.” Ask yourself if you are a free individual. Before you answer, ask yourself what it means to be free. The Apostle Paul wrote this in Romans 6:17-23:

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (18)  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (19)  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. (20)  For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (21)  What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (22)  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (23)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

– Jesse Murch

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