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Millions of people will be celebrating the Fourth of July this week with all kinds of revelries. One thing the American Constitution affords is the freedom to act like a fool. From my sarcastic vantage point, most people abuse this freedom quite regularly.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage once asked me when she caught me doing something rather foolish, "Are you acting like a fool?"

I gave her one of my blank stares and she thought for a moment and answered her own question. "No, I can see you're not acting. Nobody is that good of an actor."

I was not quite sure how to take it but I took it like a man. As an American citizen, I have the freedom to "take it like a man" anything my wife gives me. And, conversely, she has the freedom to give it to me. I will not say she abuses this freedom but she certainly exercises it to the fullest extent of the law. And she sure is not acting.

Just when you think people have exhausted the art of acting like a fool somebody does something that qualifies them for an Oscar.

Perhaps the one extreme example I can think of right now is buying fireworks. In Florida, where I live, it is legal to sell fireworks but it is illegal to put those fireworks off. When you buy any fireworks, you have to sign a paper saying you will use these out-of-state or you will use these for agricultural work. In my residential area, there must be a lot of agriculture work going on especially this time of the year.

I suppose farmers do have a use for fireworks but I wonder why they wait until around the Fourth of July to use them.

I have read the Constitution of the United States and nowhere can I find it stating that Americans have the freedom to disregard the law. I suppose "stupid" is a highly protected right in our American culture, which is the only way to explain many people.

Then, of course, some people even defy this explanation.

On a broader scale, there is a pronounced abuse of freedom in the area of what people call "free love," which is an oxymoron. Any love worth an "I do," is rather costly. Anything that is free is usually worth that. Just as there is no free lunch, there is no free love. But I know what they mean. "Free love" has nothing whatsoever to do with romance but everything to do with lust.

When people talk about "free love," they are not talking about appreciation and admiration, they are talking about sex. To be honest, what they are talking about is simply free sex without any consequence. Those who believe this are seriously intellectually challenged.

For example, if sex outside of marriage between two consenting adults is so wonderful why does over 20% of the American public have some sort of an STD? If free sex is without consequence, as many people say, why do people get diseases from it?

If sex outside of marriage is so good, why are 40% of children in America growing up without a father? Procreation is not one of those “certain unalienable Rights” mentioned in the Constitution, but fatherhood is.

Another oxymoron is "Pro-Choice." This simply means that everybody has the right to choose what has already been chosen for them. When I think of choice I think of a variety of options presented to me and then giving me the freedom of making my own choice. This would make sense, which is why it is not applicable in this situation. I have made a point to look into this and it is very difficult to find anybody outlining the consequences to a young girl from an abortion. According to these so-called experts, an abortion solves all of their problems. In reality, an abortion only compounds problems and those problems will last a lifetime. Some choice.

Then, I cannot forget this, but this is an election year when we will be electing a president of the United States. Everybody talks about the freedom of choice in this area of politics. But in reality, there is no such thing as freedom of choice. My only freedom is to choose from a list of people that have been chosen by somebody else. I am not free to go and vote for anybody I want to. If that were true, I would be tempted to vote for Mr. Ed. After all, horse sense is better than no sense.

In our country there is very little to fear that somebody from the outside will come and take away our freedoms. The real problem is that we will lose our freedom simply by abusing our freedom. Freedom is not a license to do as you please which leads to the worst kind of tyranny possible. Freedom is the right to do that, which is right and beneficial within the context of community. Whenever an act of freedom is outside of the context of community it results in bondage.

Those who do not believe that sin leads to bondage only reveal the bondage they are in themselves. True freedom begins with Christ.

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1 KJV).

Lady freedom stands pensively wringing her hands in anguish.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com

Copyright, Rev. James L. Snyder
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