The great American patriot Sir Patrick Henry once averred, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”
Incidentally, the motto or theme of the great state of New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die!”
The words by Patrick Henry and the official motto of New Hampshire both reflect a sober reality: A Free people must always fight to remain free.
It is interesting to note that today the First Amendment to the United States constitution is under assault as never before.
The great Theologian and Sociologist Dr. Peter Berger once wrote that in his estimation the First Amendment which recognizes that Americans have the rights or freedoms of (1.) Religious Expression; (2.) Freedom of Speech; (3.) Freedom of the Press; and (4.) Freedom of Peaceable Assembly is the most important of all of our constitutional amendments.
Because the four aforementioned freedoms are some of the chief weapons of making sure that Government at all levels – Federal, State, and Local does not absorb all of the life of its citizenry under a coercive umbrella.
I use the term “coercive umbrella” because to quote both Washington and Jefferson Governmental power implies both force and coercion and Government power is a beast.
Americans have no problem submitting to governmental authority as long it appears to be fair and impartial.
However, in recent times, many Americans feel that the game is rigged or stacked against them.
Here are a few examples:
- An IRS that specifically targets conservative leaning groups.
- A highly politicized Justice Department which reminds many Americans of what took place when Richard Nixon was President and when John Mitchell was the Attorney General.
President Nixon was known to have an “enemies list”; one wonders if President Obama is similarly disposed.
- An administration which seems to recognize terrorism and tyranny against every group except for “Orthodox Christians.”
- Orthodox Christians wonder both silently and at times aloud why there is no Administration outrage against both the slaughter and murder of Christians in Egypt and in Kenya.
President Obama’s administration referred to the killing of more than 20 Coptic Egyptian Christians as “murdered citizens” (a politically correct and incorrect term).
These examples are bad in themselves, but to top things off, Orthodox Christians along with their friends who embrace a worldview based on our “Judeo-Christian heritage” find that their political leaders no longer feel that the “Freedom of Religion” is worth defending.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law a bill known as The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (commonly abbreviated as RFRA).
The (RFRA) law passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming bi-partisan support.
As a matter of fact, none other than United States Senator Chuck Schumer – Mr. Liberal and perhaps the next Democratic Minority Leader of the Senate – co-sponsored this bill.
Years later the Supreme Court noted in one of their rulings that the federal (RFRA) law could not be universally applied to the individual 50 states.
Over the last 20 years, no less than 21 states have passed their own versions of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA).
However, the states of Indiana and Arkansas found their respective (RFRA) laws under fierce attack by a certain segment of the militant Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community that stated that the two (RFRA) laws in Indiana and Arkansas could have the effect of discriminating against the rights of Gays and Lesbians.
At this present moment, there is no organized Conspiracy in this nation against the (LGBT) community to deny them of their civil rights in any way similar or comparable to the campaign that took place from 1619 to 1865 to deny Native-American Indians and Black Americans their rights and liberties.
(The controversial writer Dr. Cornell West states in his book “Race Matters” that Black Americans did not receive full citizenship until the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Women did not receive full enfranchisement until 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.
No one is calling someone who happens to be Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual or Transgender “three-fifths of a person.”)
Most mainstream American Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians and Conservative Jews – along with their faithful Islamic friends seek no harm nor do they seek to deny basic civil rights and liberties to their (LGBT) friends and neighbors.
Much of the scurrilous criticism of (RFRA) laws is nothing more than a “red herring.”
Unfortunately, some militant Gay and Lesbian groups have gone from their original goals of inclusion and equality within the American mainstream to now attempting to force “All Americans” to embrace a complete redefinition of the traditional American two-parent family of a male father and a female mother.
The key and existential question of the moment is this: Will the majority of Americans who believe in traditional moral values idly sit back and allow their freedoms and liberties to be sabotaged?
President John Adams stated that “We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.”
Ever since 1957 and 1962 the Supreme Court – along with the inferior Federal Appellate and District courts has been “experimenting and redefining our religious liberties” in an effort to cleanse and purge the public sphere of any discourse revolving around our Judeo-Christian heritage.
The question must be asked once more: “How long will people of religious faith and good will sit back and allow their liberties to be experimented with?”
Finally, it might be worth mentioning the full context of Sir Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” quote.
Mr. Henry stated in full that “”Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Those are sober words for a time that demands both clear thinking and decisive action.