You’ve seen the bumper-stickers and the parades against war. We want freedom, but we want it for free. Yet can freedom ever be free?
(The fact that Che is a hero of “Freedom” is more than ironic. I will save his story for another post, and will do my best to uncover the true Che. Especially since he was famously killed just outside of my town in Bolivia)
No doubt you have seen these signs before, and the contradiction often leaves us wondering what the truth is. Is freedom free, or should we “make love, not war”?
The liberals in America are right for condemning the American government and its Christian history. Many of our wars and “Christian” battles were done in the name of freedom but in the end it was only greed and ambition that drove it.
The Crusades are a perfect example of this.
Go 1,000 years ahead. Is the “War on Terror” simply a money-making scheme?
Let’s address that. I don’t agree with some of the tactics used over in Iraq, but it was a necessary war. Put any single politician in America in the hot-seat on Sept. 11, 2001. Have it whispered in his ear, “Sir, a plane has just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. We think this is a terrorist act.” No politician could simply sit down and say it would be fixed on its own or that it could be resolved peacefully. You can’t pull a Gandhi there.
Yet it has been well documented that Iraq was probably not the originator of the attack. But someone had to take the blame, it is the way society works. A war, maybe not to this extent, was needed. Every man has an agenda, and a set of opinions different from others around him. President Bush happened to be in the hot-seat and Iraq was a prime target, for many reasons:
1. There was unfinished business after his father’s Gulf War.
2. Saddam Hussein was still alive and he was uncontrollable. He was a feared and hated dictator and the world was calling for his head at the time.
3. Iraq owned a large percentage of the world’s oil supply and America could not access it.
Most of you look at 3 and say “How selfish!”
There is a simple rule that has lasted throughout the history of mankind when it applies to warfare. It is a common-sense rule that has applied to every single country and war in history (with the lone exception of Israel in its last 50 years, but that is another topic):
To the victor goes the spoils.
Very simple, but it has always held true. A nation will only attack another nation if one or two of these rules are true:
1. Your country/group/culture is under attack.
2. There is something to gain out of victory.
The United States of America did not attack Iraq to bring “peace”. You would be blind to think so. The United States has never done that–not in Iraq, not in Vietnam, not in Korea, not in Germany, and not in Japan. It should be noted that by the United States spearheading WWII, it became the modern world’s first super-power.
Why would a country spend trillions of dollars on a war half-way across the world and gain nothing in return? It is preposterous. War was necessary, but it was not going to be sought after unless something was given in return.
I am moving off the topic now, though. I don’t want to ask whether or not the war or any war was necessary. I don’t want to ask if war is fair and just. But I do need to be clear on one point. Freedom is not free. It never has been and never will be.
More exactly the price of freedom is blood.
Freedom is something that is constantly being controlled by the government and by the culture and by the spiritual world. Freedom takes years, blood, sweat, and tears to gain. It only takes seconds to destroy. The history of Africa is testament to this. Freedom took great effort to obtain in countries like Sudan and Angola, and dictators destroyed that in a matter of days.
America is the great exception, largely due to the fact that our Constitution is so structurally strong and balanced. No one man can gain enough power. I would venture to say that Hugo Chavez can wield more power at his whim than President Barak Obama. Because of this America has freedom in most facets of society whereas Venezuela has virtually no freedom in any part of its society.
Yet what brought us freedom in America? History shows that the suffering of conservative British Christians in England drove them to the “New World”. And before long war was upon them, and for likely one of the purest and strongest causes in our modern history–freedom from government.
Blood was shed for this and many free men died wishing to become a body in the mud before a puppet for a king.
Less than two-hundred years later America was at it again. In the 1940’s, America grew united as one, and fought for a greater cause. To save the Jews and to free Europe from tyranny.
Yet at what cost? At the price of millions of American soldiers. At the price of millions of dead innocent women and children and elders. In the name of Freedom, The a-bomb happened.
Was it worth it? If it was the price of world-wide freedom, yes. Most will agree on this–WWII was worth it. Why was the Korean War not worth it? Why was the Vietnam War or the Iraq War worth it? Or are they?
After WWII got burned into the fibers of history, Martin Luther King Jr. came into the scene, unwillingly. Yet the burden came upon him for his people, and his vision pushed him to dream–dream in all colors.
I hear you, you are telling me: “See, Martin Luther King Jr. brought freedom without war and without bloodshed.”
You forgot one thing–it was his shooting that ignited the revolution. It was his blood, then his words, that awoke the American people.
Blood is always necessary to buy true freedom. Yet what about this exception?
This man did not die. Yet he was spurred on by the death that his people had already suffered. This was one more cannon-shot against the massive USSR’s wall. More and more kept coming until this wall finally fell, peacefully yes, in 1989. But the price had already been paid, the perseverance and hope of the Russian and German people kept them fighting until they won the war.
Sadly a politician cannot simply go in and convince the nations to make peace. Obama cannot walk into Iran and tell them to give the people the peace they want. Politics cannot cross this barrier.
The future will not always follow this rule, if you read Revelation you will see this. But all of our history does follow this rule. Peace comes through bloodshed.
There is an old and powerful hymn that will thoroughly rock the socks off of non-Christians and new Christians written by W. Cowper in the 1700’s:
There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
The words of this hymn are some of the most violent and shocking words ever put into a song. Yet the truths in this sentence hold more power than the average book written.
As Christians, we have been given freedom as well. Yet at what cost?
Our freedom did come by blood, by the blood of Emmanuel’s veins. Yet preachers will stay away from talking about this, and concentrate on love, and stick to the applications. Yet everything we have as Christians–all the blessings we have been given, are ours through the cross of Christ.
The Apostle Paul echoed this idea in Galatians 6:14,
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
This is the Gospel, this is our Good News, that God died for us to bring us Freedom from Hell and eternal life with God.
Think of it this way: our freedom could only have been bought through Christ’s blood. That was the only form of payment of accepted before a holy God. Let us thank God for the the blessings that we have, and thank him that our debt is gone. Wars will come and go, death is at the doorstep of all of us, and pain is constantly in our life. Yet our freedom is our hope, our hope that after the life we know is gone, that there is something more. Our hope and faith that our condemnation to hell is gone and our freedom through Emmanuel’s veins is secure.