For Freedom

 

Scholl Monument in Munich
A monument to Hans and Sophie Scholl and the “White Rose” (“Weisse Rose”) anti-Hitler resistance group at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University  (Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

A couple of months ago I read a book by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benz titled Der deutsche Widerstand gegen Hitler (“The German Resistance against Hitler”) that recounted the heroic and often very costly story of those within Germany who opposed the Third Reich.  Many — some of them university students and other young people — died for their resistance to totalitarianism.

 

With such stories in mind, I can scarcely express my disdain for the coddled children of some of our colleges and universities.  I have in mind those who claim to need counselors and safe spaces to protect them from encountering ideas that might diverge from theirs.

 

See this, for example:

 

“Ahead of Ben Shapiro’s speech, UC Berkeley offers counseling services to students if they feel ‘threatened'” 

 

And, if you haven’t seen it already, please take a look at this astonishing 2:41-minute video, filmed on the campus of Yale University:

 

“Do Yalies Want To Kill Free Speech?”

 

There seems, among at least a few on the left, to be a serious quest to marginalize and delegitimize those who don’t toe the Party line, and to restrict freedom of speech.

 

Don’t forget these still-relatively recent stories:

 

“Lena Dunham and Google Demonstrate Why Our Free Speech Culture Is Slipping Away”

 

Voltaire is often mistakenly credited with a line that might actually belong to Emile Zola:  “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend till death your right to say it.”

 

It’s been cited so often that the sentiment may seem trite.  But it’s at the core of what the American republic was intended to be about.

 

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Some simply seem to love the State, and to disdain free, private action:

 

“Why the Liberal Media Scolded the Cajun Navy Instead of Thanking Them”

 

(Happily, private efforts to aid the victims of recent natural disasters continue, and not least among them are those sponsored and coordinated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  “Helping Hands and Convoy of Hope Team Up in South Texas.”  These are efforts in which you, too, can participate:  Donate here.)

 

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Unfortunately, however, freedom of religion and religious expression isn’t highly regarded in certain circles:

 

“Senator Franken Smears Alliance Defending Freedom with ‘Hate Group’ Label”

 

“Mike Lee Warns Democrats: Your Hostility To Religion Makes Average Americans Feel Despised By Their Leaders”

 

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A couple of quotations from and about the American Founding might be appropriate here:

 

“Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.”

[Samuel Adams, Speech at the State House, Philadelphia (August 1, 1776)]

 

“The establishment of Civil and Religious Liberty was the Motive which induced me to the Field[;] the object is attained[;] and it now remains to be my earnest wish & prayer, that the Citizens of the United States could make a wise and virtuous use of the blessings placed before them.”

[George Washington, Letter to the Reformed German Congregation of New York City (November 27, 1783)]

 

“Religion is unlike other human activities, or at least the [American] founders thought so. The proper relation between religion and government was a subject of great debate in the founding generation, and the [United States] Constitution includes two clauses that apply to religion and do not apply to anything else. This debate and these clauses presuppose that religion is in some way a special human activity, requiring special rules applicable only to it.”

[Douglas Laycock, professor of law, University of Virginia, quoted in Timothy Samuel Shah, Religious Freedom: Why Now? (2012)]

 

 

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