Friday, September 21, 2007

American Freedom

This week our family went to Williamsburg, Virginia with Classical Conversations, the company for which my wife works. (They provide home school curriculum and tutoring.) We took a day to visit historic Williamsburg. I was amazed.

Now I had been to Williamsburg when I was probably 10 years old, but I remember little from that visit. I was amazed this week because the founding of our country is so fascinating and inspiring, yet I learned so little about it in school.

The Founding Fathers longed for something beyond religious tolerance. They fought for religious liberty. Tolerance was granted in that era to those who did not participate in the state-sponsored religion. Such citizens could be tolerated if they would jump through certain hoops created by government regulation. But the colonists wanted real freedom of faith.

Taxation and representation were also important factors in the revolt, of course. But the British abuses in these areas offended the colonists’ sense of freedom – freedom that comes from God.

Listening to the rhetoric of today’s society, I had come to wonder if it was right for the colonists to revolt. What could be worth starting a war? Now I understand better what was happening. They did not want a war, but they knew they must have freedom. Patrick Henry’s cry – “Give me liberty or give me death” – fell upon many cautious, hesitant ears. But the growing abuses and coercion of the British government became too much, and the colonists stood up and took arms.

We can’t afford to forget the lessons of our country’s founding.