IN THE DEBATE of fundamental rights and freedoms and the authority of the state to enforce certain actions to achieve stated goals, some persons have waved the flag of legislation to justify over-riding of personal liberty of conscience. History is full of the evidences when both civil and church authorities have enacted laws to force their wills on the people under the justification of the “common good”. It is a common psychological practice to instil fear through threats of confiscation of property, imprisonment and death to cower the people.
Disagreement should never be equated to rebellion!
Society seeks to quiet its own conscience by making of good law-abiding citizens, criminals and misfits in order to silence their voices of dissent.
“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (deprive of reason).”
The Jewish leaders in order to make their case to discredit and destroy Jesus Christ stigmatized him as having “a demon and is mad.” [John 10: 20].
Jesus’ own family became convinced of this rhetoric that they went to rescue him for they said, “He is out of his mind” [Mark 3: 20-21]. Years later, as the apostle Paul made a spirited defence of his innocence before two civil rulers, Governor Festus shouts him down, “Paul, you are beside yourself!
Much learning is driving you mad!” [Acts 26: 24] This is society’s line of argument: those who differ in opinion are not normal, and should be treated as such! They are a threat to the society, and should be eliminated by any means possible!
The irony of this whole debate is that persons are not willing to concede to others the same liberty they claim for themselves.
They have freely chosen a certain course of action, but they now feel it an enlightened, “God-given” right to choose for others.
The struggle for freedom of thought and action is not new. It has been waged on all fronts down through the ages: the actors change and their costumes undergo some modifications but the aim is the same: inflict punishment to achieve their goal of control of the mind. And, “brilliancy of style is not necessarily an index of pure, elevated thought. ……. The people need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.”
[The Great Controversy, pp.566/67].
More often than not society makes laws to cover for its own fears, inadequacies and insecurities and not necessarily for the good of the people. Therefore, “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind”, and so let him take! [Romans 14:5] Are we not all reasonable men?
Accordingly then, let us not hide under the cloak of legislation to achieve our own agendas: conformity and the silencing of dissent!
* [Greek saying quoted in “Daniel, a model for young men” 1854 by Rev.
William Anderson Scott 1813-1885. Wikipedia.