- As God's gift, our freedom is not license to behave in anyway we choose. It is the ability to make choices with the understanding that what we choose has real consequences. We may be free to choose to act for good or for evil, but our's is not a freedom from consequence. Our choices will have consequences for good or evil.
For those who embrace a biblical understanding of creation, the difference between freedom and license echoes down the corridors of time in two voices, first heard in the Garden of Eden.
The first voice — the voice of evil disguised as freedom — whispers: just do it, it won't make a difference. The second voice, the voice of God, states plainly: make your choices but make them carefully because you make all the difference. Deuteronomy 30:19 says "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
The voice of evil, posing as freedom, tells us that we are free to ignore the difference between life and death, and between blessing and cursing. But when you are told that your choices are without consequences you are not told that you are free, you are told that you are meaningless.
It is this freedom that is at the basis of the rule of law in America. Our system of government respects our freedom to make choices, to accept the consequences and to maximize the potential that God has placed within us. The purpose of our system of justice is not to crush that freedom or to override that freedom but to respect it, to nurture it and through it, to unleash the potential of every human being.
Terrorists have a different understanding of choices. Because they fear that people with freedom will reject their ideas, terrorists seek to deny us our freedom. They distrust personal choice because they have abandoned every value except their own lust for power. In a universe of choices — a marketplace of ideas — their way offers us nothing.
Our fight against terrorism, then, is a defense of our freedom in the most profound sense: It is the defense of our right to make moral choices — to seek fellowship with God that is chosen, not commanded. This freedom is respected and nurtured in our society of laws. It is respected in our right to choose how or if we worship God. It is nurtured in our fundamental belief of equality before the law. By attacking us, terrorists attack not just the system of government that supports this freedom, but freedom itself.
Labels: John Ashcroft, our Freedoms' Defenders, Sealing the fate of freedom's enemies, World War IV
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