“Land of the Free”

By Alex Rodriguez

While reviewing my son’s history assignment a few days ago, I read the following statement penned by President Herbert Hoover. “My country owes me nothing. It gave me, as it gives every boy and girl, a chance. It gave me schooling, independence of action, opportunity for service and honor. In no other land could a boy from a country village, without inheritance or influential friends, look forward with unbounded hope.”

About the Author

Alex Rodriguez is the Director of Evangelism and Field Services for the Voice of Prophecy.

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Do you agree? Is this truly the land of the free? I agree that hard work and dedication tend to pay off. Notwithstanding, this issue of freedom strikes a chord with me. Firstly, as demonstrated by the following poem entitled “Our Flag” (which I read in my daughters 4th grade poetry book), our freedom came with a price, should not be taken lightly, and must be protected.

You may call it an old piece of bunting;
You may call it an old tattered rag;
But thousands have died for its honor
And shed their best blood for the flag.

You may call it an old piece of bunting;
You may call it an old tattered rag;
But Freedom has made it majestic,
And Time has ennobled Our Flag.

Secondly, how free are we really? At one point in our proud U.S. history, many would have said that our freedoms were practically indissoluble. However, post 911 reactions and legislation condemn this type of thinking. Quickly, we witnessed our freedoms recede in the aftermath of terrorism. Every time I go through airport security, I’m reminded how much things have changed. Do you remember when you could walk your loved ones right to the gate? It’s not the same world we used to live in! A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law accompanied my children on a flight back to her place. I walked them to the security line where I was promptly told I could not accompany the kids to the gate if I didn’t have a ticket. I did not expect to get through security and was just there so that they would not give my mother-in-law a hard time since she is not the parent. Nevertheless, while I understood and even appreciated the security measures, a part of me was a bit ticked that I couldn’t comfort my kids at the gate like I could have back in the day.

Today, my wife and I flew out of Denver to join our kids. Once again, we went through the security lines. But today was a special day. TSA had a k9 sniffing everyone and their bags while they waited in line. Being an old law enforcement guy, I was not bothered by this in the least. We snaked our way through the maze and finally arrived at the scanners/detectors. To our surprise, the attendant told us that we did not have to remove our shoes or take our computers out of the bags because the k9 had already sniffed us. We were delighted! In fact, my wife said, “This is great. They should do this all the time–I have no problems with this at all!”

Honestly, I agree. There’s nothing more annoying than having to nearly undress at the airport just to take a flight. The k9 saved us from that today and it was a relief. And yet, as I think about this event, I’m struck with how accepting I’ve become to the entire security process–the body scanner, pat downs, metal detectors, k9 searches, or having to throw things out or mail them to myself at a high cost because the item is not allowed through security (did that today). This has become routine and I have come to accept it in the name of safety. But is safety more important than freedom? At what point does the good of the whole justify the loss of freedom? Today, it’s such things as airport security, communications monitoring, and gun control. We balk at some of these but go along with them–after all, we need a safe country. But what about tomorrow? What’s the next measure or piece of legislation that will chip away at the basic freedoms this country was founded on? Already we see freedom of speech and freedom of religion under attack. What’s next? Do we allow our fears to outweigh the constitution?

I’m not sure these questions have an easy answer or solution and I’m not going to pretend to know what’s best. The fact is we live in a wicked world where Satan is playing havoc with lives. Sin is the root cause of the trouble we’re in and only an eradication of it will fix the problem. Scripture clearly indicates that the path to Christ is narrow while the road to destruction is wide and many will go to perdition. Based on this reality, we know there’s not much hope for an end to violence until Jesus returns. Thus, we can expect a worsening of the state of things and with that, a tightening of security resulting in the demise of freedom.

But, I’m not really wanting to talk politics in this post. What I really wish to point out is Revelation 13. In this chapter, John tells us there will be a day when forced worship will be pressed on the entire world. Life will be tightly controlled including commerce–if you’re not on the right side, buying will not be an option. Those who do not comply will be killed. When I was young, I could not fathom how, in this great United States with all the protections and freedoms that we are afforded, Revelation 13 could ever take place. Not anymore! Over the past few years I’ve come to understand that our freedoms can (and likely will) disappear overnight. In fact, it seems we are well on our way to creating a climate ripe for the end time prophecies of Revelation to be fulfilled. And what is the Christian to do in these trying times? Watch, pray, study, and prepare your hearts. Don’t be caught unawares. Secondly, preach the Gospel. It is clear that Jesus is coming soon and the message must go out to all the world. Finally, live with spiritual boldness knowing that you have nothing to fear for God is with you. Everything that is happening around us has been prophesied in scripture. There’s nothing new! As scripture aptly points out, God does nothing without revealing it to us first. Know and take comfort that God is in control of this world and He is working things out so that evil will soon be extinguished for eternity.  And what about freedom?  If we walk with Jesus, we are free.