What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” (Romans 7:7, NIV 1984).
My Musings – “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.” (1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).
We would not have known what freedom really was if the law had not said, “No law prohibiting…or abridging.” Our forefathers knew. They fought a revolution to win it. Our Uncles and grandfathers knew. They stormed the beaches in Normandy and marched across Europe, North Africa and the South Pacific preserve it. The Jews and other other ethnic groups in Auschwitz, Buchenwald and other death camps knew. Six-plus million were victims of Hitler’s “final solution.”
Some today may doubt, but Eisenhower knew. “The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit [to Gotha] deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.'” (General & President, Dwight D. Eisenhower).
What about today? Do we really know what freedom is? There are those in third world, communist, and socialist (not all) countries that do not, because they have never really seen it. But I think, in America, and probably in many nations of the west, many (not all) do not really know what it is because they have never known anything else. They have no other experience to compare it with so it is taken for granted. Or they complain that they do not have it when their experiences in no way compare to those mentioned above that are denied it.
Now about my parenthetical “not all” above, as it realtes to America and the west. We have recently been reminded that not all of our citizens enjoy the blessings of liberty to the same extent. That the wounds and injustices of over 150 years ago have never fully been healed or set right. And the horrible crime that we witnessed within the last week or so has happened way too many times. While those living now bear no responsibilty for the actions of the past, we do bear the responsibilty for the continued inaction to redress this travesty that stains our nation’s soul.
My Advice – If our elected representatives fail to represent all the people, then it is time for them to be replaced so that there may genuinely be a “new birth of freedom” for all, not just the privileged. The Church as a whole, the local congregations, and the individuals that make these up, must truly “love our neighbor as yourself.” And who is our neighbor? You know the story. Not just those who walk, talk, believe, or sin the same way that we do (yes the Church is made up of sinners, redeemed but still sinners).
One final word, that is often overlooked in the first amendment — “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Let’s not restrain it, but at the same time let’s not abuse it. I am glad that for the most part, recent demonstrations have been peaceable. While there have been instances of both violent restraint by the authorities and violent abuse by demonstrators, the vast majority of the officials and demonstrators have respected the freedom those before us fought so valiantly to obtain and preseerve.