Friday, February 25, 2011

Freedom vs License

We hear a couple of words that are thrown around lightly, but do people really understand what those words mean? When the United States entered World War I, Woodrow Wilson had the goal of making the world safe for democracy. Yet, 20 years after World War I ended, not only were most of the European nations under the control of dictatorships, but an even more destructive war had begun. When the decision was made to enter Iraq, George W. Bush talked about bringing democracy to the people of Iraq. Iraq, while not Iran, has yet to stand on its own two feet, so we don't know if democracy will hold in that country. Also, there have been widespread revolts and protests in the Middle East against dictators or other forms of authoritarian governments. It remains to be seen if democracy will take hold in any of those countries.

But the words I would like to address are: freedom, and rights. We keep hearing them as buzzwords, instead of taking the time to think about their proper context. What does freedom mean? What are our rights? People believe freedom gives us the "right" to do whatever we want as long as it's not criminal. But, in my opinion, the word they should be using is: license. What is the difference between freedom and license? Freedom is the ability for us to do what we should; license is the ability to do what we want. But there's more to license than that definition. By the very examples of marriage licenses, driver licenses, it has the connotation of an authority approving certain actions.

What certain groups are trying to push (like abortion on demand and gay marriage) doesn't have anything to do with freedom, but license. They want approval of those actions. Freedom, on the other hand, is the ability to do things we need to do and what we ought to do. In my opinion, there is no freedom or right to engage in pornography, but today's society gives it license, approval. Real freedom comes not through what the government decides, but comes through our Lord, Jesus Christ. His death on the cross and resurrection gave us true freedom: freedom from sin, and the right to worship him in spirit and in truth.

Next time you hear the word freedom, ask yourself this question: is the word freedom being connected to activities we want to do, or that we need to do?

1 comment:

Susan Gilkey said...

John, I completely agreewith you.