Friday, July 4, 2008

The Fourth of July, Freedom and Values

Today is America's Independence Day! What does American Independence mean to the average American? I'm not sure that many even give their freedom a second thought. Americans, for the most part, in my opinion, take their way of life for granted. But, when an antrocity happens, we band around the ideals of our country and remember why we are what we are.....FREE!

Our Founding Fathers understood that nature's God had granted the individual certain inalienable rights. These rights give us the freedoms that we value as Americans and are found in our Bill of Rights. Freedom to speak and publish our opinions gives the individual and groups the right to express openly and freely without fear of recourse from the government. Freedom of religion grants individuals the right to worship God according to their own consciences. Freedom of assembly means that we Americans can gather together to form societies that are free from government oversight. All of these freedoms assume individual responsibility.

Some freedoms are believed to go beyond the right of the individual and subvert a more stable union, such as the right to bear arms. But, in our free society, even the right to disagree on what right is "right" is encouraged. If our government assumes individual responsiblity then, what responsibilities should Americans have toward their government or society, in general? Are Americans becoming more irresponsible because of the freedoms we enjoy? Or are our freedoms breeding selfish individualism? Some believe so.

I would argue that our freedoms are not the main reason for our problems, but the break-down of the family. The family is the first community that the child is a member. The child is educated about many aspects of life within the family. If the family is consumed by material gains and stressed due to those goals, is it any wonder that the child enters adolescence without a rudder to steer his life? Every value that supports human flourishing and the government's order is taught upon the knees of the parents, from self- responsibly, citizenship, proper behavior, and attitudes toward life in general. The free society should reinforce those values in school and within local communities. And the Church should underwrite and support the family in those values.

Freedom, then is not the problem, but has been used to pursue unworthy goals at the expense of more important values.

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