July 4th is almost here, so pretty soon we will see Independence Day celebrations with fireworks, BBQs and parades in towns all across the country. On that day, the country celebrates our nations “birth” and the ratification of our founding document, the United States Constitution, declaring we would no longer be subjects of the British Monarchy.
July 4th 1776—
The early Americans had fist-hand experience with a government that controlled all aspects of their lives, including how they could worship God. We know that the founders of America placed an incredible amount of importance on the liberty of each citizen, and a system that placed control of the government and military in the hands of the people. These principles were so important that those Americans put their lives on the line and fought a war of independence against the most powerful nation at that time.
My how much has changed in almost 250 years since the early patriots signed that document. Federalism or a decentralized form of government is long gone. States have abdicated authority to the federal government and its increase in size and scope of authority that is unrecognizable to what the founders had in mind.
One fool proof strategy that governments use to seize more power and limit the rights of the individuals is to do it based on ‘safety and security,' in other words for the people's on well being. Every day we hear about how our country has a “gun violence” problem. Failing to define what they mean by gun violence, the implication is that all guns are bad, and that gun owners are also stained.
Freedom's and the Constitution—
So it's no surprise that the Second Amendment, which protects the individual right to own and possess a firearm, is the focus of so many government officials. Recently, the Tulsa Police Chief Wendall Franklin gave an interview to KWGS Radio News reporter Max Bryan, in which he addressed ‘gun violence' and said some things that seem controversial to many people.
Here is the transcription of just one portion of that interview. You can find it in its entirety here.
Reporter Max Bryan: “So you've also criticized a lack of regulation of untraceable ghost guns and straw purchasing. Recently you indicated you would support regulating the purchasing of high-powered weapons like AR-15s. Is there anything you can add to that list today?”
Chief Wendall Franklin: “Ultimately, I'm a Second Amendment guy. I own guns of course. But I'm okay giving up some of that freedom, right? We had to give up some of that freedom after 9/11. I'm okay with waiting three days, five days, or whatever to get my firearm if I go out and purchase another firearm. So I'm okay with a pause to allow for weapons to be purchased and allow the government and the gun companies to look at the background and do a thorough check before that gun goes to someone.”
Many people, some who agree and others who disagree, have given their comments on Franklin's words. Many of these critiques are quite good, so I won't pile on with the same, although I quite agree with those who say his answer isn't in line with being a ‘”Second Amendment guy,” whatever he means by that.
Chief Franklin, and John Adams—
I want to look at Franklin's comments with Independence Day around the corner and with the bigger picture in mind. For me, it's not just about refusing to give up ‘some of that freedom' for safety. In my opinion, this isn't even primarily about the Second Amendment, because the same people who tell you it's okay to give up a “little freedom” when talking about guns, wants to curtail what your First Amendment rights as well, and determine what is acceptable speech. This is about freedom and morality.
In 1798, John Adams, one of the framers and signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the Second President of the United States, said:
“While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”—John Adams
John Adams, a man who was not a religious man, understood that morality was an inseparable part of freedom from an oppressive government. When people don't follow moral principles, they do whatever is right in their own eyes. Because people are fundamentally prone to sinful behavior, left to our own ideas of right and wrong, we inevitably become selfish, lustful, and full of pride.
The natural man follows morality as God sees it or follows his natural desires. In the case of the latter, a government must make and more laws to protect people from each other. In my opinion, we are a wicked and violent society, so much so that people are willing to give up freedom for safety. But this concept will fail as it did in every government before. Because instead of turning from sin to God, for true peace, they would rather give freedom away for a promised peace that never comes.
What I'll do On Independence Day—
So this Independence Day, I'll eat BBQ with friends, watch some fireworks, listen to some bluegrass music at the park in town and celebrate the blessing of being born in this country which provides incredible freedoms. But I'll also remember where true freedom comes from, and that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. The word of God says in Romans 8:1-2 that God's condemnation no longer rests on those who are born again in Christ Jesus. That they are free from the law of sin and death.
Now that is a freedom and promised joy that no government can give.