Freedom Requires Boundaries

The Ukarumpa Fence

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.
— first Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

We celebrate freedom in the USA on the 4th of July. We celebrate freedom from the tyranny of a distant monarch who dictated what the official religion was, and persecuted those who differed slightly in their beliefs and practices in the worship of God. We celebrate freedom expressed in our constitution’s Bill of Rights.

But freedom is not free. It is very costly to maintain and defend. It also requires boundaries. There must be limits on my freedom if you are to also enjoy the same freedom I enjoy, and vice versa. I am free to speak and write, and so are you, but we are not free to deceive, seriously endanger, or kill people with our words. Words can be powerful forces for good in showing love and compassion. Words can also harm people, incite riots, start wars, and cause the fall of mankind. The first recorded sin in the Holy Bible consists totally of words. The serpent lied to Eve and told her that God was trying to withhold good from her and her husband rather than keep them away from an evil danger. The next sin, of course, was when the woman and man acted on those words and disobeyed God, resulting in a shorter lifespan for all mankind. That was long ago, but consider how words can harm in the present. False testimony in court could condemn an innocent person to prison or even death. An illegal or unwise command in the military could do grievous lethal harm. Of course, even the much more common and less severe taunting of a verbal bully is not the sort of thing we defend freedom of speech for.

So what is it about freedom of religion and freedom of speech that so many have died to defend?

  • Honest free speech and a free and honest press is the best defense against an abusive government, especially in a democracy.
  • Honest debate in the public arena helps people to resolve differences and come to peaceful solutions to problems.
  • We desire freedom to worship God in the way that we believe most pleases Him.
  • We want everyone in our country (and really, the world) to have these same rights for them to be effective.

So why must there be limits on free speech and freedom of religion? It is simple, really. There is more than one person in the universe. We live with other people in families, communities, and nations. Your freedom of speech ends where mine begins and vice versa. I should not compel you to say anything you don’t actually believe and vice versa. For example, you cannot compel me to proclaim that Mohammed is God’s prophet or kill me if I don’t. That may be exactly what your religion demands you do to me, but that would rob me of my freedom to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Father God and to only proclaim what I believe is true. Likewise, I refuse to try to force anyone to believe in Jesus Christ, but I will do my level best to tell the Truth as I understand it, fully believing that God is well able to reward those who follow Him and reserves serious wrath and torment for those who keep rejecting Him and His love. It must be out of love.

You cannot compel me to say that a homosexual union is the same as a real marriage between one man and one woman. I will not say so on a cake, on a marriage license, in expression of my talents as a photographer, in my art, in print, or verbally. I believe that is contrary to God’s law. Likewise, I cannot compel my homosexual friends to confess that they are deceived and that God really meant what He said in the Holy Bible in any of those forums. This is the sort of freedom we have. To the extent that you violate the boundaries, you lose freedom yourself as well as taking it from others.

I have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. And I do. There is a higher law that is not in conflict with the U. S. Constitution. It is God’s law. Check it out. See the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12:

Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

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