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FIRST-PERSON: Our ominous ‘freedom’

OCALA, Fla. (BP) — It’s been 40 years since I left the island of Cuba seeking freedom of expression, a freedom I did not have in my own country.

In the United States, we found a refuge where — more than achieving the American dream based on material benefits — I found a country where I had the freedom to express myself freely and practice my Christian faith without restraint.

It was here in the United States, which I proudly call “my country,” where I learned that freedom is a right that everyone has been guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution since 1791. It protects five basic freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom to petition the government.

These civil liberties are the cornerstone of our democracy, and most of the Founding Fathers believed that the safeguards written into the First Amendment would protect the rights of the nation’s citizens.

However, just over 200 years after this declaration, I believe this freedom has become an excessive “licentiousness” in which we have given free rein to our lust in the name of “freedom.”

On June 26, 2015, for example, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling declaring that the Constitution guarantees to same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Pornography, meanwhile, is rampant and the recreational use of marijuana is legal in an increasing number of states.

This makes me recall the words of the prophet Isaiah when he said, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light to darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

I agree with the principle that my freedom goes as far as where the freedom of the other person begins, but unfortunately the concept of true freedom has been lost in our country. If same-sex marriage is legal despite being biologically unnatural, I wonder if polygamy that is biologically natural will be legalized next in the near future.

As I thought about this, I returned to the rudiments of my faith when I first learned that, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Our nation is living a false freedom, becoming a slave to sin and the transgression of this world, even though many have ample reason to know that it is Christ who makes us truly free. In Him, Jesus said, “… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

    About the Author

  • Robert Lopez

    Robert Lopez is the Hispanic pastor with Highlands Baptist Church in Ocala, Fla., and co-founder of the Church2Church fellowship of Hispanic Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention.

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