Happy 4th of July!!! Happy Independence day!! AMAZING blessing of freedom from oppression, freedom for new opportunities, freedom to worship how, where, and what we may, freedom to CHOOSE!!!!! Wow, GLORIOUS FREEDOM!!!!!
But it was a rainy, gray day here reminding me that the sunshine and joy and exhilarating opportunity of freedom can be threatened by storm clouds that gather.
Here are some thoughts on freedom that have deeply touched me and my family recently. (The quotes are from Jeffrey R. Holland’s remarks given at an interfaith conference held at Chapman University. I really wanted to share them with you today.
– Abigail Adams (and the author of her book ‘Witness to a Revolution’) was hugely influential in my life at a time I needed her so much. Since reading her story she has been a great hero to me. I am deeply convinced that this statement by her husband is keenly brilliant and true: (John Adams made this legendary statement to the officers of the Massachusetts militia in 1798): “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[xv]
-We have our own modern day commentary on this subject from Clayton Christensen, a distinguished professor at the Harvard Business School and perhaps the most sought after consultant in the business world today. He said:
“I learned the importance of this question (concerning the moral and religious conscious of our people being connected with our free, democratic government) in a conversation 12 years ago with a Marxist economist from China who was nearing the end of a fellowship in Boston, where he had come to study two topics that were foreign to him: democracy and capitalism. I asked my friend if he had learned here anything on these topics that was surprising or unexpected. His response was immediate. . . . ‘I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy and capitalism.’ . . . He continued, In your past, most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week. These are institutions that people respected. When you were there, from your youngest years, you were taught that you should voluntarily obey the law; that you should respect other people’s property, and not steal it. You were taught never to lie. Americans followed these rules because they had come to believe that even if the police didn’t catch them when they broke a law, God would catch them. Democracy works because most people most of the time voluntarily obey your laws.”
– Our beloved George Washington said: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable. . . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”[xiv]
It seems to me our freedom is the fruit of our righteous choices and our right and good choices (the ones that lead to more freedom and prosperity and happiness together) are a result of our morality and our morality is a direct result of our religiosity, our coming to know God, His laws, and that we must answer to Him.
I personally feel our freedom is threatened because of growing immorality and decreasing religiosity in America. I, with many friends and lots of family, was devastated that the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of just plain immorality. I feel great compassion for those that feel same-gender attraction but I feel it’s not any better to act on that and call it marriage than I feel it’s a good decision to act on drug addiction, alcohol abuse (my grandpa was killed by a drunk driver), stealing, cheating on your spouse or any other number of vices that ruin happiness, steal lives, and result in just plain sorrow, lost opportunities and ‘no good’. There are many other freedoms that are threatened even now as they are brought to the table… for only a moral people, called upon to responsibly keep the rules of prosperity, can enjoy true freedom. We bind ourselves.
A commentary by the gifted Michael Novak:
“Clearly, the family is the seedbed of economic skills, money habits, attitudes toward work, and the arts of financial independence. The family is a stronger agency of educational success than the school. The family is a stronger teacher of the religious imagination than the church. Political and social planning in a wise social order begin with the axiom: What strengthens the family strengthens society. Highly paid, mobile, and restless professionals may disdain the family (having been nurtured by its strengths), but those whom other agencies desert have only one institution in which to find essential nourishment.
“The role of a father, a mother, and of children with respect to them, is the absolutely critical center of social force. Even when poverty and disorientation strike, as over the generations they so often do, it is family strength that most defends individuals against alienation, lassitude, or despair. The world around the family is fundamentally unjust.”
Our family would hope our people and government would do ALL they can to SUPPORT and STRENGTHEN RELIGION and FAMILIES in this nation so that it may REMAIN TRULY GREAT, something NOBLE, VICTORIOUS and TRUE, creating real and lasting happiness and peace now and in the future!! God Bless America!!!!!