Linda Downing

Freedom demands responsibility

Today marks 238 years since that time in 1776 when “a new nation conceived in liberty” was birthed. In 2014 unity is threatened by issues that would have befuddled the deepest thinkers among our Founding Fathers. Yet, think we must, or face losing our liberty. The freedom of a nation calls for fundamental principles of morality and responsibility.

For the United States of America, declaring independence from Britain began the pulling together of 13 rebel colonies. Previously, our property rights forced Native Americans to lose theirs. Our religious paranoia executed at least 20 people, mostly women, as witches, and condemned more to die in prison in the mass hysteria of the Salem witch trials. Long after Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal,” our selfish lifestyles brought the shame of slavery into our history, causing us to slaughter our fellow citizens in the Civil War blood bath some still insist on glorifying.

In attempting to bring others to our own ways of thinking, we must not degenerate to what we now call “bullying.” Peace at any price is equally undesirable. In the past our democratic ideals often involved the many of us forcing our ways on the few of us. That has flip-flopped in this century: The few dominate the many or, at least, make more noise.

Like it or not, issues involve morals derived from long-held beliefs. With a population of 316.13 million Americans in 2013 and an area covering 3.79 million square miles, getting a consensus on anything is difficult. Add to that the apathy reflected in the percentage of voters, not to mention the claim of amorality by so many of them, and it becomes almost impossible to determine what we really want as a nation.

We face issues that could spell the end of us. Ignoring them will not make them go away. It is much like debating the existence of God: If God is, our belief or unbelief does not change that presence. If God is, we cannot deny a sooner-or-later accountability.

Under Senate investigation Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon enjoying his celebrity status and the money accompanying it, admitted he has used “flowery” language to promote green coffee extract as a “magic weight loss cure.” A lot of us have been using flowery language to cover up and promote many things.

Our national debt stands at $17.9 trillion, yet we continue to borrow and call it an “investment” in our future. Since 1973, some 50 million babies have been legally aborted; we call it “pro-choice.” The Williams Institute review conducted in April 2011 found that about 3.8 percent of American adults identify themselves as part of the LGBT community. Their public obscenity events are ignored by the law in favor of the political correctness of “gay pride.” Proverbs 14:34 speaks plainly: “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” How we define “righteousness” and “sin” can make or break us. We can opt out of confrontation, declare ourselves amoral or outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply. We will still reap the fallout. This Independence Day is not only a good but also an imperative time for America’s citizens to explore the foundation and future of their beliefs. Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If we seek simple truth, we can find it together—side-by-side.

Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at