Why Christians Need to Quit Whining about Freedom of Religion


Rockwell, Freedom of Worship 1943.jpg

 

Freedom. Good word. Who doesn’t love “freedom” … at least in the abstract?

Conceptually, “freedom” flourishes as an abstraction. After all, who’s for “captivity,” “confinement” or “oppression?” Freedom wins by not being those crappy, hard-to-swallow concepts that have to do with limiting people’s choices.

However, for all practical purposes, freedom in American cultural life feels adolescent. It means something like: “Nobody gets to tell me what do do.”

Properly understood, freedom is the path out of bondage. “Free at last! Free at last!”

Indeed, Jesus’ MO in pursuit of justice is release of the captives — those imprisoned by the forces of a system that too often punishes the powerless.

People oppressed because they were born the wrong color or the wrong gender, because they originated from countries we look down on or from parents lacking the good sense to be middle-class, people oppressed because they don’t share the same mental or physical capacities as everyone else, or because they happen to love the wrong people … all look longingly to freedom as the handmaiden of justice. For those who’ve felt the heavy boot of subjugation on their necks, freedom from that boot is the goal.

 

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