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Calling Freedom Oppression and Oppression Freedom

Yesterday was a defining day for America, one that fully illustrates the growing rift over rights and values in our nation. While millions of Americans supported Chic-Fil-A and their stance in favor of traditional marriage and the nucleic family, millions of Americans were up in arms over one man’s freedom of speech. Militantly pro-homosexual marriage organizations were quick to cry foul, and to paint proponents of traditional marriage as bigoted, hateful and intolerant. Nevertheless, at the same time these activists were denouncing proponents of traditional marriage as oppressive, their supporters, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, were seeking to deny building permits to a private company. So, in the name of “tolerance and equality,” these paragons of progressivism promoted hate and intolerance in an effort to bully those with whom they disagree. In the name of defending rights, these organizations sought to deny an American business owner, Dan Cathy of Chic-Fil-A, his unalienable rights of freedom of religion and speech.

If anyone harbored doubt that First Amendment rights of religion and speech, which form the foundation of American freedom, are under attack, then the past several weeks should’ve dispelled it. Though such an assault has been more public lately, it is not new. Today, I came across a list of organizations that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has become an attack dog against religious liberty, branded as “18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda” all the way back in 2010. This listing of organizations effectively labeled 18 of the nation’s foremost faith-based organizations, ranging from the Family Research Council in Washington, DC to Coral Ridge Ministries in Florida, hate groups fighting to preserve injustice. As a result, we now have “social justice” organizations completing perverting the concept of equal justice under law to sit down and shut up individuals and organizations with which they disagree. This is a dangerous game, even for those involved in playing it.

Throughout human history, societies that have undermined any concept of absolutes have become despotic, destructive and tyrannical. The precedent cultural trend to the collapse of the rule of law is an outright assault against religious convictions, particularly the convictions of Christianity. There is, perhaps, no greater historical illustration of the inherent tyranny of unrestrained government than the “reign of terror” during the French Revolution. The French revolutionaries sought to purge France of any semblance of Christianity. To accomplish this feat, they effectively nationalized the church and installed secularism as the official state religion, confiscated church property for use by the government and killed priests and church officials who dared stand against the overreaches of the state. The attitude of this evil era was encapsulated best by one of its own leaders, Denis Diderot, who infamously stated “men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

Such a sentiment emphasizes freedom from religion, not freedom of religion. Any society that sets up man as the ultimate authority in the Universe is destined for despotism. Even the deistic philosopher Spinoza, himself a bit of a relativist, rightly recognized that man builds a society on his conception of God. Following this logic, the late Chuck Colson reasoned that “the rise of atheism in the twentieth century thus provided unlimited license for tyrants. If there is no morally binding standard above the state, it becomes god and human beings mere beasts of bureaucratic burden.”

Is it any coincidence, then, that twenty-first century America is starting to look eerily like eighteenth century France? Are there not those who believe that absolute standards ought to be abandoned in favor of man’s conception of the right? Are there not those who believe that government, not God, is the source of man’s rights? Indeed, the answer to both of these questions is yes, and the consequences will be terrifying. Our economy, our culture, our very freedoms will fade with the faith of our fathers. As Ronald Reagan stated during his presidency, “if America ever forgets that it is one nation under God, then it will be a nation gone under.”

Let it be said of our generation that we answered the call to preserve freedom for the next generation. Let it be said of us that we kept the faith and, as a result, our liberty. For, if we do not, freedom will be destroyed by those who call freedom oppression, and oppression freedom. After all, the book of Isaiah warns “woe to those who call evil good and good evil, and this same concept is at play in modern American politics.

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