‘Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave! – Francis Scott Key, The Star-Spangled Banner (1814)
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress with representatives from the 13 original colonies declared independence from Great Britain. Ultimately our Citizen Soldiers faced and defeated the super power of the day securing our freedom from an oppressive non-representative government. It was their blood, spirit and determination that protected the American birthright of freedom – a God-given birthright to all humankind.
I have written about freedom often: Spirit of Freedom, Our Foundation is the Spirit of Freedom, About God and Freedom, Freedom or Communism, While Freedom Slips Away, Hiding Behind Freedom, and others from time past. Sometimes we take freedom for granted because it is ingrained. It is the American way of life.
These essays have basic themes. There is the fundamental principle on which our country was founded. That is God-given freedom – endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. Freedom does not originate with men therefore men cannot take it from us. However, through ignorance and apathy we can forfeit it. Just because we were blessed to be born American, does not guarantee our freedom. Generations before us sacrificed for our freedom and we owe it to them and future Americans to remain freedom’s guardians.
We have experienced gradual erosion by allowing government to intrude in our lives and individual liberty and give or take away what should be personal decisions. We’ve allowed it to happen so incrementally that many of our younger generations do not realize freedom is leaching away – gradually shrinking while government grows. In too many cases, we have seen our freedoms weaponized and with the aid of ideological courts turned against individuals and institutions. On college campuses we have repeatedly witnessed the assaults on free speech.
Sir Winston Churchill addressed the problem we see today with free speech quite well:
“Some people’s idea of [free speech] is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage. (From a speech, October 13, 1943.)
When we get right down to it, all we have is freedom. We may lose material possessions. We may lose a job. We may lose friends and even loved ones. If everything else we hold dear is gone, we still have our freedom and the Creator who gave it to us. As long as we hold on to that all other things are possible and we will overcome any adversity.
Kris Kristofferson in his song Bobby McGee summed up freedom like this:
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’, but it’s free.
If everything else is lost all you have left is freedom and the Creator that gave it to you. God gave us freedom He will not take it away.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14-27 (NIV)
Hold on to that as we celebrate the independence of the world’s exceptional nation. It is exceptional because it is the only nation in the history of nations founded on the fundamental principle of God-given freedom and individual liberty.
© 2017 J. D. Pendry