Freedom and Responsibility

We in the US celebrate Independence Day today in commemoration of the adopting and signing the Declaration of Independence of the British colonies in part of North America from British rule.

This advice fits as well for all the international readers of this blog as for citizens and sojourners here: take some time to slowly and carefully read the actual Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the US, and the Federalist Papers.

Digest these words from the Declaration–We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

For me “all men” means, well, all men. Also for me (as endowed later in the Constitution), all men means all humans. Yes, even women. And I am shocked and dismayed that after all these years of the movements of the mid-60s for civil rights and rights for women we still have not reached the goal. Actually, not even for all white men, either.

It seems to be a birthright of Americans to talk loudly about freedoms. It has always been my role to point out (not original with me, just read what the founders had to say!) the importance responsibility plays as the companion of freedom bringing it to its full flourishing. Seth Godin wrote today on responsibility–Demand responsibility.

I’d like to add one other idea I picked up from Andy Stanley this morning during my brisk walks around our ponds. Integrity. We have so many leaders at all levels of society lacking integrity. And that includes only the ones we hear about. Integrity belongs alongside responsibility as requirements for true freedom.

Which begs the question–where am I on the scale of responsibility and integrity? And you?

And if you’re American–celebrate well and safely. Today you can eat that hot dog and potato salad and apple pie without nutritional guilt! 😉

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