Freedom and liberty, the clarion calls of those who typically abuse the very things they claim to defend. The news is awash with yet another American mass shooting. President Obama makes his 15th statement about shootings since he took office. He once again makes a plea for tighter gun controls. The usual suspects reply with their standard cry. In the name of freedom, people continue to be killed all the day long.
It is a gross act of sin to use the cause of freedom to persist with a situation that continuously and repeatedly leads to death. Just as the those on the right would (rightly) have no truck with arguments that rely on freedom to continue the systematic destruction of children in utero, the call for tighter gun controls are no less unimpressed with arguments from freedom while people are being repeatedly killed. While human beings are dying, using freedom and liberty as the basis for letting it continue is nothing short of iniquitous.
This side of the pond, where we have never quite had the same national obsession with personal armaments, may seem easy. The Dunblane massacre in 1996 was the impetus to introduce two firearms Acts which effectively banned the private ownership of handguns. However, even prior to the mid-90s, it was not exactly the norm to own a gun. Nevertheless, this same approach to freedom exists as much here as it does in the US. Our approach to abortion rights is often based on this same spurious reasoning and our recent national debate on the ‘right to die’ also leaned heavily on such arguments. Though it may not be gun control, we are not immune from the questionable application of freedom despite the obvious, dangerous and highly troubling effects on the people.
As Christians, we don’t always stand apart from this specious reasoning either. Yes, we may oppose abortion and euthanasia, we may be pro-gun controls, yet this same tendency can exist in Christian circles too. It is called antinomianism. There can be an insistence upon freedom despite the fact that, in the name of the freedom we proclaim, people are lost. In the name of freedom in Christ, gross acts of sin are justified because “we’re free”. Freedom once again becomes a call from those who, frankly, want to abuse the freedom that is theirs in Christ. By
abusing freedom this way, many who think they are safe remain lost in their sin. Christ did not win our freedom so that we may carry on as before. Our freedom in Christ is not a freedom to ignore his commands and continue in our sin. We have been freed from sin in Christ. To carry on sinning, and to use this hard won freedom as the basis to do so, is the most offensive way to treat Jesus.
Freedom is a most important civil liberty that must be defended. It is a most important Christian concept that must be defended theologically. However, using freedom as a basis to defend/reject law that was intended to protect the individual, is nothing short of perverse. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking civil liberty or Christian liberty, freedom is not there to the detriment of the life of the people. Anyone arguing otherwise has neither stared down the barrel of a gun nor come to terms with the doctrine of Hell.