He got up to address the house of Burgesses, the legislature in Virginia, at a meeting to determine how to respond to British military intervention in the colony. Relations between the colonists and the British have deteriorated in the last two years. Six months earlier, in September 1774, the first Congress of the United States had met in Philadelphia to discuss the subject for seven weeks.
The purpose of the Congress in Virginia was to consider the decision of the Congress of Philadelphia and formulate its own response. At the end of his speech, Patrick Henry said these words: “Is life so dear or is peace so sweet that it can be bought at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I don’t know what course others can take; but as for me, give me freedom or give me death! ”
Addressing “Almighty God,” Henry proclaimed the words we all learned in elementary school: “Give me freedom or give me death.”
Thirty-four years later, General John Stark, the most famous soldier of the Revolutionary War of New Hampshire, expressed a similar opinion: “Live freely or die: death is not the worst evil.” Stark’s words were not original. This was a popular term during the French Revolution.
There is no doubt that the fathers of our country were motivated by their desire for freedom. It is a concept that resonated deep in the hearts of Americans, but also many others around the world. Not only do Americans enjoy freedom, thousands of others from other countries come to our borders every year in search of possessing that same freedom.
It will be good for us to examine this concept of freedom. The dictionary definition of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak or think as you wish without hindrance or restriction.” Obviously, this freedom does not apply to anyone lower in the hierarchy except God. Therefore, we all learn to live with the restrictions of our freedom. We don’t jump in the car and drive without restrictions; we don’t buy without acceptable clothing (at least most of us); we follow countless rules for almost every activity. There is no complete freedom.
Since we cannot have complete freedom, we choose the freedoms that are important to us. Go back and read a quote from Patrick Henry from his famous speech. He defined freedom as the contrast between “chains and slavery.” He preferred “death” to living in chains and being a slave. Many would agree with that view. Notice he didn’t say, “Let me shop at Walmart in a birthday suit or give me death.”
“Most of us are like that. We want our freedom, but we don’t care about the freedom of others. ”
One of the ultimate ironies in history is that, when he died, Patrick Henry stipulated in his will that ownership of his 67 slaves should be divided between his wife and sons. Apparently, Patrick was willing to die for his freedom, but not so much for the freedom of others.
Most of us are like that. We want our freedom, but we don’t care about the freedom of others.
- We want the freedom to refuse baking cakes for a homosexual wedding, but we don’t want homosexuals to have the freedom to get married.
- We want the freedom to control our bodies and not take the vaccine, but we do not want pregnant women to control their bodies.
- We want freedom of religion and prayer in school, but we do not want a Muslim to have the freedom to lead prayers.
- We want to celebrate our freedom with flags and parades, but we do not want immigrants from other countries to cross our borders.
We do not stand for freedom; we have long since given that up. As long as we live in a community, in a civilized society, we cannot have complete freedom. Civilization requires rules, and rules restrict freedom. What we really want is to have our own way, to be able to decide how we want to work.
Civilized society makes rules and regulations to restrict and control freedom for the benefit of the whole, not necessarily of each individual. Nelson Mandela said, “Being free doesn’t just mean discarding your chains, but living in a way that respects and increases the freedom of others.” The greatest freedom we possess is the freedom to be part of our community, to live among others without suffering unjustly.
Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall said, “Can we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as an opportunity to do what is right.” If you have read anything from the writer Peter Marshall, you are aware that he was acquainted with the Apostle Paul. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul gave a list of his liberties — the right to eat and drink, to lead a faithful wife, to abstain from work, and to be supported by the church (1 Corinthians 9: 3-8). Although he was free to do and have these things, listen to what he said: “We have not exercised this right, but we endure all things so as not to disturb the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12).
He later stated more clearly: “For though I be free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all” (1 Corinthians 9:19). He was free, but he was not a slave to freedom.
I called this article “Slaves of Freedom” because it is the condition of many people. They are ruled and controlled by the quest for freedom. This is evident in the midst of a pandemic. People refuse the life-saving vaccine and mask because they are free to do so. They don’t do it because it’s in their favor. Millions have already died from the virus, but are not taking any precautions. Unless they are stupid, people know that it is not helpful to do nothing to avoid COVID. The deadly virus does not respect their freedom.
Recent research reveals that the virus is divided along political lines. Republican-leaning states have the most cases and deaths, and they also have the lowest vaccination rates and the highest resistance to wearing masks. It’s no secret that Republicans have been accused of doing nothing about the virus by claiming to claim their freedom.
“They say they’re free to do anything to stop the deadly virus, or if I may paraphrase Patrick Henry,‘ Give me freedom or give me a vaccination. “
What they are saying is that they are free to do nothing to stop the deadly virus, or if I may paraphrase Patrick Henry, “Give me freedom or give me a vaccine.”
The part I don’t understand is why people make medical decisions based on their policies. I understand that politics affects every area of life, but it doesn’t make sense. We have doctors to guide us on medical issues. Why would you allow your governor to give you medical advice?
To decide on the vaccine, contact the same person you would call if you had a heart attack, or your child broke your arm, or your father had a stroke. We all mess with YouTube or WebMD when we have a symptom of something, but when it’s a matter of life or death, we call our doctor. Did they miss the part about COVID being a matter of life or death? Ask the families of the 700,000 Americans who have died in the past year and a half.
Many are so much slaves to that notion preserving the freedom that they can’t even do something that is good for them. They make up excuses, but none of them have any weight. The claim that the government is using a vaccine to implant a tracking bug doesn’t make sense when you’re welded to a cell phone. The fear that the vaccine is untested is unfounded because hundreds of millions have already been vaccinated without serious problems.
However, the biggest problem is people who insist on their freedom regardless of the health of others. The freedom not to get vaccinated and to go without a mask puts others in danger. Let us not forget the words of Jesus himself: “This is my commandment to love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends ”(John 15: 12-13).
You are certainly not ready to lay down your life for a friend if you insist on the freedom not to wear a mask or to get vaccinated. Instead of serving Jesus, you are slaves to freedom.
Terry Austin he says that from the first day of his life he taught him to love the church. There he lived his passion in various ways as a pastor, church counselor, author, and critic. He is currently a permanent writer and publisher of books and is actively involved in house churches.
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