Friday, April 17, 2009

The Real Threat to Liberty

I was reading through facebook entries from friends this morning and came across an article in which the author confronted the increasing instances of bullying towards young men who don't fit the archetype of "The All-American Boy". These young men are often not especially athletic, and sometimes gravitate towards more artistic and expressive disciplines in their life pursuits. In contemporary teen society, these youths are often harassed, their sexuality questioned and they are many times the recipients of such harsh verbal abuse that they are driven to despair, even to the point of suicide. What amazed the author who offered the observations was that these occurrences are happening in an era where people are supposedly more tolerant of individual expression and where opportunities to participate and be all one can be according to one's dreams and aspirations abound more than at any other time in US history. As I read the observations of the author, certain glaring omissions could not be ignored - there was no call for an alignment with moral absolutes and no appeal to personal responsibility and restraint.

How can we expect teens to display civility and self-control in their public relationships when we don't call them to restraint and responsibility in their most precious and intimate ones? What makes us think that indoctrinating teens to equate responsibility and commitment to others with using condoms during intercourse is going to make them behave as responsible and considerate citizens in the hallways in a far less intimate situation? Why would someone refrain from violence against someone they don't even care for in school, when they are encouraged to use violence as a means of convenience to dispense with their very own posterity who has been produced by the most intimate human act possible?

When we fail to go beyond political correctness and refuse to teach basic morality or even mere courtesy based on our collective responsibility to God and to one another, we are inviting anarchy and chaos. The increasing lawlessness we see is a result of the increasing disdain we have for the One Who gave the law and the ones for whom the law was given - humankind. It is only after Moses' interaction with God and his reception of and commitment to the law that he was then able to announce the timeless charge displayed on one of the greatest symbols of American freedom, the U.S. Liberty Bell which states, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" Leviticus 25:10.

There is a great danger associated with this increase of lawlessness and our failure to teach respect for and adherance to it. That danger is a willingness to welcome the restoration of order by extreme means at the expense of liberty. Let's not be surprised if as time passes and we fail to make a course correction, we find ourselves inheriting more and more discord. If things get bad enough, we run the risk of begging for peace and order at any cost, even if it means sacrificing our own liberty to secure it. "Just give us peace" will be our motto, "even if we have to pay the devil to get it." An exaggeration? I hope so. My greater hope is that we will put our current freedom to work and get our hands and knees dirty by paying loving attention to our children. We must do the hard and unrelenting work of walking alongside them and sacrificing some of our own conveniences and self-centered pursuits through investng our time in them. We can make great strides towards this end by daily teaching our children to diffeentiate between right and wrong and by enabling them to understand what it means to be good citizens, who are morally guided, personally disciplined and socially responsible so that the freedoms we count as precious and say that we cherish will not perish from the earth. It's a big job that requires much time and effort - true - but it promises dividends much greater and substantial than a dwindling 401K. Until next time...


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