Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. -Thomas Paine
I recently read a post by another activist here in Maine that brought out a point to this anti-Christian gay-rights fervor that is sweeping our nation, which was something I had never really given much thought to. Genie Jennings asked, “Why would anyone want to force anyone else to attend or approve of their day of celebration if they don’t approve or want to attend?” The quotation marks are there to provide some sense of syntax but those words are more of a paraphrase then a direct quote. I was surprised, first, because this is an issue she doesn’t generally get involved with or speak about, and secondly, the direct simple question provided one of those “stop and think about that” moments.
I have worked with Genie on several different issues and she is always very thoughtful. She consistently provides unique perspective, so the insight was not the surprise. I just had one of those very selfish “whydidn’tIthinkofthat” intraflections…I think I made that word up.
When I was in college, there were certain events that required all students and staff from the school to be in attendance. All of us knew this. This was a very strict school and we had signed an advisement when we enrolled that clearly stated that there would be required attendance at certain events. Still, it didn’t prevent many of us from making wry and cynical remarks about having to engage in “mandatory fun”.
The reason for this rule, as it was explained to me, was to promote a feeling of unity and togetherness within the campus community. What it really did, in my observations, was create two groups of people at the “mandatory fun” banquet: those who wanted to be there and those who couldn’t wait to get out of there. Quite frankly, it was a relief to those who were enjoying the banquet when the others had fulfilled their “mandatory fun” quotas and bailed out of there, taking their killjoy attitudes with them.
So, again, why would you want anyone associated with your party, your celebration, your wedding that doesn’t want to be there? Why would you want flowers or a cake provided or delivered by a business under duress, with an “I don’t believe in what your doing, it violates my faith, but if I don’t do this the government is going to take away my business, take all my life savings, destroy everything I have, and force me to take reeducation classes” look on their face with the fury of the persecuted and aggrieved simmering just below the surface. Is this truly a moment of celebration or a moment to inflict punishment on those who will not willingly affirm your expression, so then they must be forced?
The “new freedom” is beginning its conquest of the American tradition and it’s starting with the basic foundation of that tradition: marriage. The “new freedom”, the freedom to sex, demands that all other freedoms affirm its sovereignty with their allegiance. If the Freedom of Speech speaks against it: Speech is silenced. If the Freedom of Religion preaches against it: Faith is punished. If the Freedom of the Press reports against it: Reports are crushed. If Commerce disagrees with it: Commerce is blocked.
Once again I ask do we value sex above all other freedoms? Is it more important to affirm lifestyle choices than maintain our personal freedoms? And how did we get here?
As many of you noted, I recently went on a snowshoe hike with my two boys not long ago. This was my introduction to The Summit Project. The hikes are what they call a living memorial, as hikers carry memorial stones up mountains in honor of Maine’s fallen heroes. Hikers then write testimonials of their experiences leading up to and during the hike to honor the fallen.
I will be sharing one testimonial each week on Wednesday from The Summit Project. It’s important to emphasize that none of these hikers and testimonials have any affiliation or are endorsing The Maine Conservative Voice in any way. It is my hope that once a week we take a brief respite from the ideological battles and honor those who have given their all so we can do what we do. So please be looking for Warrior Wednesday and share it with your friends as a way to honor Maine’s bravest.
“Give me your huddled masses” This famous quote from the Statue of Liberty was intended to be a description of the very heart and core of the American belief. The “huddled masses” came to this Nation for the freedom to express their beliefs without fear of reprisal from their government.
For hundreds of years this was the standard by which the United States stood, but things have changed. Political leaders of today are now advising religious leaders that they are free to hold their views but not free to publicly express them. This is not the freedom that drew the masses across the ocean to the fertile shores of the New World.
If the measure of religious freedom were simply to hold a personal belief with no allowance for outward expression, there would have been no need for the many peoples of faith to flee their lands and come to the New World. These people were not persecuted for their quiet inner beliefs, but for the way they publicly expressed their faith: The way they dressed, the tenets of their faith, their style of worship, and their defiance or non-adherence to government sanctioned churches.
These persecutions drove them to a new world where they could worship with a freedom to express their faith. Later, our Founding Fathers constructed our Constitution with the intent to preserve that freedom. Much of the freedoms we once enjoyed stemmed from this desire to protect Religious Freedom.
Yet now, as our society is increasingly permeated with the influence of hedonism, a new freedom has emerged that cannot function in an amicable relationship to all other freedoms. The emergence of sexual freedom has signaled a death knell to the Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion, and Assembly if those freedoms do not comply with the edicts and whims of the Freedom to Sex. While the American people are struggling to find the Freedom to Sex in the Constitution, our government has fully complied with its demands.
With the rise of sexual expression, the marriage tradition, specifically in its Christian form, is viewed as a hindrance to its free expression. For now, Christianity has been the target of choice for persecutions because of its “archaic” moral codes and perceived intolerance to the “new freedom”. Once government has sufficiently squelched the voice of Christians, drunk with its new power, be assured it will search for other voices of dissidents to squash.
We have become a nation defined by our sexual acts. Heterosexual, homosexual, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual are all terms referring to a sexual act defined by the individuals or victims engaged in the act, but now, we have become individuals defined by the sexual act. The balance has shifted.
History is again repeating itself as the self-indulgent rail against the impervious nature of religion. The relativists cannot comprehend why faith, for the most part, remains unflinching in its morality, even in the face of a populace disdain. The moralist’s stance in an immoral culture is viewed as an obstruction to the “new freedom”.
For people of faith, sex is one facet in a happy life. For the hedonist, sex is way of life. The God-fearing view sex as a private and sacred relation within their marriage and have no need or desire for public affirmation. This infuriates the hedonist who finds his value and satisfaction in fleeting moments of pleasure and must constantly seek popular affirmation to find his worth.
The recent events surrounding the defense of religious expression in Indiana, and now Arkansas, bring into sharp contrast the competing freedoms in our Country. People of faith want to continue to express their faith as they have done for centuries in the United States. Those defined by their sexuality crave affirmation for the public expression of their sex acts. Any criticism, rebuke, belief, or disparagement that challenges their sexuality is viewed as a threat to their freedom to sex, the “new freedom”, and must be silenced. Sadly, it seems we have made a choice in our Nation that free expression of sex is more valuable than all other expression of freedoms especially faith.