Would you consider yourself free in an environment where you’re told: “You can think, feel or believe anything you want, just keep it to yourself.” Don’t talk about those things, don’t share with others how you feel, you can’t write about it to anybody. And you certainly can’t tell others who think differently that your beliefs have changed your life.
Those are the conditions in parts of the world, like Saudi Arabia. They claim that there is freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but if your beliefs are not in line with Allah, Mohammed and Islam, they must stay forever private. You cannot even meet with others who believe the same and worship. And you dare not share it with others on the pain of imprisonment and death.
Do you call that freedom?
It’s certainly not the American view of freedom. According to our Declaration of Independence, we believe that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights — rights that are a part of the fabric of what it means to be humans, rights that cannot be separated from us.
Then, to make things perfectly clear, the Bill of Rights was written to enumerate these unalienable rights. In the message for this Liberty Celebration, we focus in on the First Amendment. (For those listening to the audio message, you may wish to also read the Preaching Notes. I skipped one third of what was written. In that missing third, I explained how the First Amendment has been twisted to prevent the free expression of religion and how we got so far from the Original Intent of the writers.)