Independence DayV1

Is this really freedom?

I love America. I really do. That’s why I joined the US Navy right out of high school – a career path that totally flabbergasted my parents and my family. It wasn’t that they were against it; they simply never realized it was something I would choose.

After all, my (step) dad had been in the US Army and my grandfather was a US Navy Veteran. Although neither one of them spoke much about their time in the service, I knew they were both proud to have served their country.

Even though I was discharged early due to a pre-enlistment injury, I too was proud to have served my country. That is, until recent years.

But this is no longer the America I fought for.

Our freedoms are eroding right before our eyes and the crazy thing is, so many people don’t even see it! I don’t know if they simply have their heads buried in the sand or if it frightens them so much, they choose to turn a blind eye.

What I do know is that some of them proclaim it’s their “Christian duty” to fight against a handful of these freedoms. I also know that many of those same people won’t bat an eye when other freedoms are eradicated down the line.

Because they believe they are in the right. They believe their god would want these same things to happen. That their god condemns these behaviors and ideals.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

Nelson Mandela

And yet, it is their god who says that we must care for the sick, help the downtrodden, love our neighbors – even – and especially – those with whom we disagree. Christians are not admonished to love only the people who believe like them, who live like them, who look like them, but to love everyone.

Regardless of their faith. Regardless of their economic status. Regardless of the color of their skin. Regardless of their personal choices.

This does not give Christians the right to force their beliefs on others. And those who are rejoicing that others’ freedom of choice has been taken away by recent Supreme Court decisions are the least Christ-like people on earth.

It is for this very reason that the United States was founded on the principle of separation of church and state. Because our founding fathers understood the necessity of no one group being able to foist their beliefs on an entire population.

Crack open your history book and remember that this one of the main reasons our founding fathers wanted independence from Great Britain.

For those who are truly following the path of Christ, you know that you can be both pro-choice for others and anti-abortion for yourself. And you know that taking away another’s freedom is not only hypocrisy but judgment, which god reserves alone.

Like Emma Lazarus said, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”

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