freedom for… all?

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While holding my daughter on this July 4th morning, I turned to BBC’s news broadcast.  There on my television I saw a special on the homosexuality laws in neighboring Uganda.  Now I don’t claim to understand a great deal about these laws, but they seem to go something like this:

  • Any individual caught in a homosexual act will be imprisoned for life.
  • Any individual caught in an “aggravated” homosexual act will be sentenced to death.  [These seem to be forced or paid homosexual acts and the like.]
  • Any individual “aiding and abetting” homosexual behavior can get up to seven years in prison.  [This law seems quite vague.  Can a doctor prescribe medicine to a known homosexual, or is that considered contributing to his lifestyle?  What about a family member of a homosexual — is failure to hand a relative over to the police considered promoting that relative’s illegal lifestyle?]

Today is American Independence Day.  Now, listen closely…  I pledge my allegiance to God, and not to a nation.  I know the United States is far from perfect, and I’m not so naive to believe she’ll ever reach perfection.  Our leaders do a lot with which I disagree, and there are some decisions they’ve made of which I’m ashamed.  But I am so incredibly thankful that I am a citizen of a country that offers freedom to each and every citizen, a nation who values individual rights and honors personal choices, a republic that strives to treat all people equally regardless of gender, race, religious affiliation, or sexual preference.

I know this may not be a popular post among some.  But it is my belief that those who would disagree would seek to take away personal freedoms in an attempt to enact laws based on their own religious ideals.  I don’t believe the government should be in the business of legislating morality, but rather that it should seek to protect life and liberty in any and every situation in which another individual’s life and liberty is not at stake.

I don’t condone homosexuality, but neither do I approve of taking away that choice.  Just as I don’t encourage greed — but want to allow others the opportunity to seek happiness through big houses, expensive cars, and holding millions of dollars in the bank.  I don’t think they’ll find it, but they are certainly entitled to try.  I don’t want a law banning pianos from church buildings, sprinkling from baptism, the virgin Mary from prayers, or Allah from our nation.  Nor do I want a law that limits kissing to those of us who find females attractive.

As I held my daughter this morning and watched BBC news, I prayed that she will respect the choices of others and be gracious to them.  I prayed that she will always honor God and do what is right.  I prayed that she will be a light in a dark place, letting her good deeds prompt others to worship God.  And I prayed that she will never believe it honors God to coerce obedience to him by passing laws, legislating morality, and limiting the freedoms of others.

It is troubling to me that many, who would fight long and hard to prove God has given mankind freedom of choice, would then seek to not grant that same freedom to others.

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19 Comments

Filed under just thinking

19 responses to “freedom for… all?

  1. steve ker

    Well said, my friend. I’m truly thankful for the freedoms we have here in the USA, and even though I don’t agree with many of the actions and beliefs of some of my fellow Americans I won’t infringe on their right to their beliefs.

    • steve, long time no see. you know people occasionally get to my blog by way of searching for your name + the word investments. i guess you’re in investments? have a good one.

  2. I could not agree more! Thank God we live in a nation that allows for personal freedom. Like you, I make no claim that we are a perfect nation, but I hope we continue to be one that encourages freedom and personal responsibility. I love the freedom to choose or not choose and I would never want anyone to take that away from me based on a religious or moral ideology like you mentioned above.

  3. JMF

    Great post, and much needed in the Christian world. I’m always shocked at the vitriol I see Christians display to gays.

    Firstly, I have not a doubt that *many* gays are born with a proclivity to be that way. No, I’m not saying that makes the actions okay. But, I look at a hermaphrodite who, at birth, was selected to be the more pronounced gender by the parents/doctor, and they grow up a man on the outside and a woman on the inside.

    So, why is it so difficult to believe that a person could be born with male physical traits but with emotions far more in line with a woman? Basically, a hermaphrodite without the physical ambiguity.

    Secondly, we all have our fleshly desires that we cannot act upon. If I wanted to follow my flesh, I’d want to go to the local university and have sex with about 1000 girls. Does that mean God has cursed me with an evil desire? No more so than the gay that desires an inappropriate relationship.

    What disturbs me, Brett, is the hostility that *many* Xstians feel towards these people! That scares me waaay more than the gay guy. It truly makes me wonder what latent fleshly desires that person is withholding.

    You know how you tend to have the least patience with someone that has a weakness that is the same as your weakness? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Strange.

    • Ike

      Those who warn homosexuals about the evil of their behavior actually love them more than all those who think there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, for we inform them of God’s perspective on homosexuality. When we say that homosexual relations are sinful, we are not imposing our opinion on others, but revealing what God thinks about homosexuality.

      • i have no problem with informing others of God’s perspective (or our best take on it), and believe we should — if we can do so with love and humility. but i don’t think traditionally the church has done well in incorporating the two, especially on this issue.

    • i’m with you, fife. the hostility towards homosexuals bothers me a great deal. i just can’t ever think of a time or place when Jesus would have reacted in that way.

  4. Ike

    If God has given man the freedom of choice…..what would man choose? I’m very grateful that He intervines somewhere in our freedom…. and saves us anyway.

    • there you go again, ike, spreading your calvinistic leanings amongst my “readership.” just kidding.

      i do believe that no man can come to God unless he’s drawn by God. but i also hold onto his option to walk away from that drawing. but that’s a whole other subject…

  5. hlcphotography

    Beautifully said…and I completely agree.

  6. I couldn’t agree more. What a great post – thank you!

  7. Linda M

    Hi James Brett,
    I think what we see in the Bible as an example of a city given over to homosexuality such as Sodom and Gomorah is an example of where this ‘act of sexual preference’ can take a person. I think the end result or the fruit of this ‘act’ is worthy of notice.

    In a particular example given in the Bible it was not safe for anyone who was not a homosexual to enter and stay overnight in the city. People of the city wanted to violate their visitors and force them into unwanted and forced sexual acts. In fact the Bible says the whole city was given over to this type of conduct as they surrounded the house of the host and demanded the man be handed over to them to do with him what they wanted. In the end a visiting woman was outrageously abused by the citizens of this city and died by the time the morning sun arose.

    I think this is an example of where sexual sin can eventually lead a person to. The rights of other individuals are overrun in this Bible example by a need for these people to act on a powerful fleshly passion and desire.

    • linda, i agree that sin necessarily leads to more sin and greater problems. and i’m not condoning homosexuality. i just don’t think there should be laws against it — unless (or until) it is actually infringing on others’ rights. nearly any sin taken to an extreme end can overrun the rights of other individuals. even that which is not sin can do so.

      so i say we make and enforce laws protecting everyone’s freedoms and rights, and don’t legislate morality or make laws based on slippery slopes.

  8. Linda M

    Hi James Brett,
    I would like to try to follow up to my previous comment that I submitted on this blog topic of ‘freedom’ to say that ‘freedom’ entails restraint and self-control on the part of society. Otherwise, we will have tyranny and chaos in our world. This almost has to include legislation and laws within society to provide a deterent to those people who would not use restraint with their ‘freedoms’.

    We see that in God’s Ten Commandments to his people. One of these commands was directed to our sexual conduct in society. ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ ‘thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife’.

    In 1 Peter it says ‘do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil desires’. ‘Live your lives as servants of God’. So I think freedom has to be within a context of good and proper behaviour. for those who are not willing to do this voluntarily then laws and legislation are introduced to provide boundaries for them.
    Any more thoughts about this idea?

    • i think i’d argue that God’s 10 commandments were written for the hebrews, not a democratic republic. so i’m not nearly as concerned with the people of God “enforcing” obedience within their churches — though we need to find a way to do so in love and humility.

      you said, “I think freedom has to be within a context of good and proper behavior.”

      i want to know who gets to decide what good and proper behavior is? the christians? the muslims? the jews? whoever can round up the most votes?

      and you said, “for those who are not willing to do this voluntarily then laws and legislation are introduced to provide boundaries for them.”

      i agree. we make laws providing a “boundary” of freedom until you are taking someone else’s freedom away.

  9. Pingback: a question concerning the nature of freedom | aliens and strangers

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