Summary: Real freedom comes from God.

Last Sunday night after all that we did with church I went home with my only intention being to vedg out in front of the television. I was tired. I didn’t want to have to do anything or think about anything. I know that may of you felt the same way. While it was a wonderful day, it was also exhausting.

I sat down and started surfing through the channels. At one point the only thing I could find to watch was "60 Minutes." One of the features they did was on a group that calls themselves the Earth Liberation Front. The Eart Liberation Front or E.L.F. is a group that has made it their mission to clean up the planet and environment of all that does it damage. On the surface it sounds like a noble effort. After all, who could ever argue with an organization that wanted to clean up the world around them and make it a better place? THat is how the E.L.F. would like for us to see them.

While cleaning up the environment may be heir goal, the ends don’t justify the means. This organization goes about achieving this so called noble through a reign of terror and destruction. They live with an attitude of burning whatever they feel is destroying the earth and the environment. A ski resort near Steamboat Springs Colorado was, as they saw it, trespassing on the wild, unsettled areas around the town. Their solution? Burn down the ski lodge and all its surrounding buildings. Plants and manufacturing facilities that produce products that the E.L.F. believes to be harmful to the environment refuse to cease production? No problem. The E.L.F. just burns it down.

Wherever there are those that produce products or do other things that don’t agree with the Earth Liberation Front and its agenda, burning and destrcution could very well follow. The membership is unknown. The F.B.I. calls them a terrorist group. I think they are probably at least close to being right. Those who support them and are sympathetic to their cause, at best see their actions as extreme but necessary to stop the damage to the planet.

This week we celebrate and commemorate the greatest day of political freedom the world has ever known. It is a day we remember our independence and even more. It is a day that we, as Americans think about freedom and what it means for us. We remember what so many have done to allow us to make decisions about where we want to worship and what we want to say and so many other things we call freedoms. It truly is a great day of celebration for our country.

I think what one of the problems for us in this country today and maybe to some degree it has always been a problem is in what some people deem to be freedom. Freedom for far too many means that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. Freedom of speech, for them means, I can say whatever I want, both in writing and in actual speech because it is my right, my freedom. It doesn’t matter if I hurt someone else. It doesn’t matter if I destroy someone else’s property. The only thing that matters is my freedom. It is a very shortsighted attitude that many have.

The same kind of attitude is present with other things we call freedom too. We have taken, and I say we because as a society we have let it happen, freedom of religion and let it become freedom from religion. We have let it completely slip from our memories and maybe even our history books that the founding fathers were, as a group, very religious, spiritual men. God meant something to them and they intended the Constitution to reflect that line of thinking. We have allowed our society to get away from that.

It seems to me that we have taken this idea of freedom and turned it into license. Freedom means license to do whatever we want, whenever we want. The only problem with that kind of attitude is, it removes the importance of the rights of others from the equation. Thomas Jefferson, I believe it was, once said something to the effect of, your freedom stops where my nose begins. In other words, we are free to swing our arms wildly in the air, we can throw our fists around, until the point where it does harm to someone else. Their rights and freedoms are just as important as any of ours.

The Earth Liberation Front has every right by the Constitution to protest the use of Styrofoam cups because they see them as bad for the environment. They can buy advertising time on television and radio. They can buy ad space in newspapers, magazines, and billboards in an effort to get American consumers to quit buying and using styrofoam cups. They can stand outside the plant that produces these cups and demonstrate against the manufacturing of the cups. They can go to Capitol Hill and protest in an effort to get the laws changed. They can even protest, again peacefully, at any place that uses the cups. They have no right, however, to burn down the plant for manufacturing the cups or the buildings of others where the cups are used.

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