Much sin has been committed in the name of liberty, and the church has far too often been an accomplice and supporter of those who live this way.
We have cheered our nation on in its struggle for national and personal freedom, while more often than not, what is meant by “freedom” is “freedom from accountability.” People do not want to answer to anybody, least of all to God. They want guidance from nothing but their own conscience and desires so they can be free to make their own decisions and do what they want, regardless of the consequences to other people.
People seek the “freedom” to leave their marriages, abandon their children, operate their business for profit and greed, eat as much as they want, spend their time how they want, and treat other people with disdain and neglect. The excuse of “personal freedom” often results in decadence, selfishness, greed, gluttony, self-centeredness, sexual-immorality, misuse of money, mistreatment of others, and a wide variety of other sins of the flesh (see The Myth of a Christian Religion, p. 85).
And many Christian churches (thankfully, not all) are happy to grant people such “freedoms” as long as the people give a cut of their money to the church and fill the pews for an hour on Sunday morning.
Such liberty is not freedom, but is a license to barbaric living. Such freedom devours and demands. It enslaves. It forces others to comply with our desires against their will. In exerting our own freedom we restrict and remove freedom from others (The Subversion of Christianity, p. 166).
Sometimes we go so far as to kill those whom we view as threats to our selfish freedom, even going so far as to make public calls from the pulpits in our country to call for the obliteration and destruction of whole groups of people in other parts of the world because we view them as a threat to our way of life.
Jerry Falwell once said, “You’ve got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I’m for the president to chase them all over the world. If it takes ten years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord.”
Over the centuries, the striving for liberty and freedom has become a religion unto itself, surpassing and overcoming most of the values and principles of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
Like all religions, this religion has its own distinctive, theologized, revisionist history (for instance, the “manifest destiny” doctrine whereby God destined Europeans to conquer the land). It has its own distinctive message of salvation (political freedom), its own “set apart” people group (America and its allies), its own creed (“we hold these truths to be self-evident”), its own distinctive enemies (all who resist freedom and who are against America), its own distinctive symbol (the flag), its own distinctive god (the national deity we are “under,” who favors our cause and helps us win our battles). This nationalistic religion co-opts Christian rhetoric, but it in fact has nothing to do with real Christianity, for it has nothing to do with the kingdom of God (see The Myth of a Christian Nation, p. 150).
Responding to the siren call of freedom with liberty and justice for all, much of the American church has abandoned our loyalty to the example and teachings of Jesus, and fell head-over-heels in love with the goddess Liberty. And despite her name, she has proven to be a cruel mistress, especially when her power is threatened.