Our nation was established on the principle that all men are equal and endowed with the fundamental right of freedom of choice. This is expressed in the Declaration if Independence as well as the Bill of Rights. That is what Freedom is all about, the freedom to choose what is in ones best interests as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another. It is the foundation upon which our forefathers established this nation free of the oppressions such as imposed on them by the British crown.
In reality the freedoms the colonialists had or did not have were not all that oppressive relative to the times but these were idealists who wanted something much better for the colonies and were willing to fight and if necessary die for it.
The founding fathers wanted to form a nation that was the antipathies of British rule at that time. They felt the Crown wanted more control over the colonials denying them many freedoms of choice as well as unfair taxes. They were willing to risked it all as expressed in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Their Safety and Happiness were the most precious things to them and I think to us. We all want to feel physically, emotionally, and financially secure. We all want to be free to choose the paths in life that will make us intrinsically happy. We need to feel like there is purpose in life, something to look forward to, the expectation that what we do now will be meaningful and rewarding in the future and bring us true happiness. These things really haven’t fundamentally changed over the ages.
It has been almost 240 years since the founding of this nation and many have forgot the wisdom and vision by which this nation was founded: the inalienable right to security in life, the liberty to determine one’s destiny, and the freedom to pursue one’s dreams of happiness. Each of these criterion [Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness] require the freedom of choices.
The Declaration of Independence was intended more to rally people to fight for a new nation than for the British Crown to whom it was addressed. It was the germinating seed that served as the genetic blueprint expressed in the Constitution and the Bill or Rights. The Declaration of Independence gives us a vision of what our founding fathers wanted for this new nation.
The right of free choice is central to the many freedoms we enjoy or should be enjoying. We in the United States are proud of being a country founded on the principles of Freedom. Yet there are many in the nation, especially conservative moralists, who want to place restrictions on the free choice of others. They want to take away a woman’s right to choose to have or not have a abortion. They want to deny LGBT individuals the choice of which sex they can marry. They want to limit individuals the choice of what recreational substance can legally be enjoyed. They want to deny certain illegal aliens who have live here most of their lives the choice of whether to become U.S. Citizens. They want to deny a suffering person’s right to choose to die or not die with dignity at a time of their choosing. They want to take away certain choices from everyone by imposing their form of morality into our laws. Thus we can only lay claim to being somewhat of a Free country.
Many people have immigrated to this land in the hopes of escaping from their oppressive governments who wanted to impose their form of morality, laws, or religion upon all their people. The Pilgrims were among the earliest such immigrants. They came to escape religious tyranny from the British Crown in England. We commemorate their thankfulness for their new found freedom more than 300 years later annually with Thanksgivings Day. Yet even this traditional annual family event fails to serve as a reminder that one of the principles by which this country was founded was freedom from religious tyranny. Religious Freedom and its associated moral constraints is fundamental to the meaning of our independence from British Rule and the acquisition of free Choice. We are a nation of Choices. Restricting choices which do not infringe upon other people’s rights is or should be unconstitutional.
Freedom and Choice are synonymous. You cannot have one without the other. Oppression, control, autocracy, and restrictions are the antithesis of Freedom and Choice. Religious morality cannot be used to restrict the freedom of other citizens to their preferences otherwise it prohibits Americans from their inalienable rights of free choice. Some people who shout loudest that this is a Free Country are among the strongest supporters of restricting the freedom of others. In a way they are like the British Crown who was also the head of the Church of England who impose moral and religious restrictions that limited the freedom of religious choice of the Pilgrims. These people cannot see as the King of England could not see the injustice being done to those who believed differently. They claim to be righteous do to a higher calling and do not seem to believe the God gave man the choice to do right or do wrong as part of original sin.
Limits to Choice should be limited primarily to cases where the general dignity and welfare of citizens are in peril. Otherwise Freedom of Choice must be preserved as intended by the vision and legacy of our founding fathers which are such an integral part of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is the very foundation of our claim of a Free and Just nation.