The Price of Freedom

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?

Peace SignChe Guevara
Korean War Memorial

(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 "Holy" CrusaidesThe 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!”

Iraq War

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.

WWII JewsYet 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, Iwo JimaThe a-bomb happened.

A-BombWas 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.

Martin Luther King Jr. 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?

Tiananmen TankThis 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.

Iranian FreedomThe 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?

The Passion of the ChristOur 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.

Freedom In ChristThink 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.

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6 thoughts on “The Price of Freedom

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  1. It was a good article Chris. I liked the way that you tied our greatest freedom (spiritual freedom and freedom from sin) back to the sacrifice of our Savior, at the cost of his life blood.

    One small mistake you made though, was when you said that America got involved in WWII to “save the Jews and to free Europe from tyranny”. The attack on Pearl Harbor was what really caused America to go to war. Also, no one knew about the concentration camps at that time. As the Ally troops advanced and took over Germany they were absolutely shocked to discover the concentration camps and see the atrocities that had been taking place all along.

    Anyway, keep up the good work on your blog postings.

  2. Thanks Luke. And good point about the Jews. I remember now how that all fit together, a lot was happening under Hitler that took a while to come to light.
    And Pearl Harbor was the reason, at least the straw that broke the camel’s back, that America entered the war. They were onlookers, but they were constantly pressured to enter the war. It was Pearl Harbor that forced them into the war.
    Thanks for the insight tho!

  3. Good question.
    I am not sure how to answer that question because I was not born and raised in America. My love for this country is limited because of this. I would go to war if necessary with America. Maybe with Bolivia as well. As for the Iraq war, I support it because it was necessary–maybe not with Iraq, but with “Terrorism” for what happened at 9/11. But it is like fighting a war blind-folder, we cannot see the attacker, and the people who get killed are many times innocent. There are many innocent victims in every war, but this one is even more-so.
    I will die for freedom. Yes.
    Yet, ironically, my freedom can never be taken away, as a Christian. The Bible says it has freed us through it’s truth and Christ has paid the price to set us free. We cannot be captive or enslaved. That is why Paul and Silas could sing in prison. That is why the Christians in China today can preach the Gospel in their cells and sing together. Because they are free.
    I will fight for freedom, but I will never be without it. So the reason why I will fight for freedom is to give it to someone else, so he can have what I already do.
    Would you die for your freedom? Would you go to war with Mexico? And to others, would you die for your native country? Would you die for freedom in general?

  4. I don´t think I would.

    Captivity was, and maybe is, sometimes God’s will and disciplinary action for a nation.

    In the book of Judges God brought a stronger nation over Israel when they departed from his path.

    The nations today in general and the ones I love: Mexico, USA, Bolivia and Israel are not following the Lord. I would not be surprised if their enjoyed God-given “liberty” for many years would be taken away.

    Besides, I chicken out :-)

  5. You are right to say that the countries you love and that I love no longer are following Christ. What nation is? It is only by God’s grace that we have this sense of peace, but “this too shall pass”.
    I have a sense that the world we know is going to deteriorate so bad in the next 10 years that if we saw it today we would not recognize it.
    But is this a bad thing? Hmm…I am actually excited about the future, sure Entropy will take its toll in many ways, but that means that the need for true Christians will be very prevalent.
    Are you ready? Cause I don’t think you would chicken out of that…

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