David Hegg | Protecting Our Freedoms

David Hegg
David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. "Ethically Speaking" runs Saturdays in The Signal.

By David Hegg

As you read this, Memorial Day is just around the corner. I’m sure most of us will enjoy the day off and gather with friends and family for hot dogs, corn on the cob, and all the other joys of being together. 

Others will still be on the job, protecting us and keeping the peace, or serving us in stores and shops as we rush to take advantage of the sales. And some will make their way to our city’s Memorial Day celebration and take time to place American flags on the graves of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in battle, giving their lives to protect ours and the freedoms we enjoy.  

But this year, I’m asking you to take some time to reflect on the state of those freedoms, regardless of what else you do.  

When the Colonies severed themselves from King George’s will in 1776, a mighty experiment began. For the first time, the world would see a democratic republic where authority did not flow top-down but bottom-up. That is, the will of the ruler would now be subject to the will of the ruled. Around the globe, the idea that government would be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” was mocked and soundly ridiculed by … you guessed it, those who ruled the nations. 

And, for many years, we proved the naysayers wrong. We grew from an experiment given no chance of working into the most prosperous, powerful and helpful nation the world has ever known, and our governmental paradigm became the foundation of democratic republics worldwide.  

But at some point, the incremental erosion of our freedoms began, and today, we see its effect. Little by little, and often in huge ways, our freedoms as citizens are being overturned. Governmental mandates have encroached on our everyday lives as those elected to serve us have decided to use fear and pseudoscience to demand our lives fit into their desires for power. 

COVID-19 turned out to be an experiment in manufacturing an emergency to gain power. But today, governmental powers have settled on a new way to enter our lives, homes and well-being. It was once referred to as “global warming” until accurate scientific data proved that the warming and cooling of our planet has been going on for millennia. So they changed their terminology to “climate change,” but that was too benign, so now we are supposed to be frightened by “climate crises.”  

Before going further, just know that I am a true believer in caring for and protecting the created world. Why? Because it is God’s creation, meant to display his artistry, goodness and love. Consequently, I dispose of my oil properly, carefully set apart my organics, recycle faithfully, and applaud the fact that our skies are now blue instead of smog-white most of the time like they were during my college days in the 1970s.  

But, as COVID-19 proved, our modern-day King George wannabes will never waste a crisis, even if they created it. Regulations and laws are being implemented to remove gas stoves, gas-powered cars, and many other staples of our everyday lives. What gives them the right to do so? 

What gives them the right to start billing our electricity based on our income, not on consumption? What gives the insurance commissioner the right to mangle the home insurance industry so that good folks lose insurance on their homes? 

The answer is found in the idea that we, the people, have given them power! We have not exercised our power, and into the vacuum, all the little King Georges have snuck back on the throne.  

Statistics tell the horrible story that only a tiny fraction of the electorate vote. Too many of us have come to believe that our votes don’t count. And guess what? It is true that if you don’t cast a ballot, your viewpoint won’t count.  

Moreover, my clan — people of faith — have often withdrawn from politics. I hear some of them piously say, “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’” And, while it is true that the material from which the Kingdom of God is built is not of this world, the Kingdom of God is indeed for this world! And if you ever pray the Lord’s Prayer saying, “may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” without actually engaging in making that a reality, then you’re playing with a closed mind and closed Bible.  

We are full-on into the election season, and even as we look around, we realize our freedoms are slowly being eroded. To mix my metaphors, can you feel the water around you slowly getting warmer and warmer? Well, it’s time to jump out of the pot and into studying the issues, listening to candidates, and understanding who is for freedoms that are moral and not based on personal comfort and convenience. Then, be vocal in supporting those issues and candidates you believe will keep our community and our country on the freedom trail.  

As we celebrate Memorial Day, remember and be thankful for the many who thought our freedoms were worth defending. And then, get busy living to uphold those very freedoms they died to protect. 

Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays. 

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