Freedom requires we offer something in defense

Published 3:40 pm Monday, July 11, 2011

By REV. DARRYL WOOD / Guest Columnist

In the later years of his life, my father undertook a daily ritual. He flew an American flag outside the house. When asked why he took up this habit, he responded, “Because a lot of people died to give me the right.”

What he didn’t say was that he, too, fought to defend that freedom during World War II as a tank commander in Europe.

Possibly no American appreciates freedom more than a combat veteran. Every American, however, should value it. Receipt of freedom requires that you offer something in defense of it. Perhaps the perspective of Christian citizens toward freedom sets a proper tone for the defense of all liberty. Paul said, “You were called to freedom; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

-Guard Freedom Actively. Political freedom remains a fantasy for many in this world. Government in some countries exists not to protect citizens but to take advantage of them. A free nation, then, cannot be taken for granted.

How can you guard freedom? Express gratitude to those who serve in our military. Guard liberty by supporting dedicated, unselfish elected public officials. uUse Freedom Responsibly. Freedom comes with a “catch.” It never releases you to trample on the rights of others. Responsible citizens respect and obey the laws of the land.

-Champion the Purpose of Freedom. The Declaration of Independence set forth a unique concept. Government exists to release people from fear and promote their well being. This purpose arose out of the experience of American colonists with an arrogant king who ignored their needs.

July 4, 1973, found me in Israel on an archaeological excavation. We Americans on the site felt sorry for ourselves. At the end of the day, we whined about missing out on celebrations at home that included watermelon, homemade ice cream and fireworks.

An Israeli archaeologist, also an army colonel, overheard us. He chastised the group. “The Jewish people went for centuries without a homeland,” he said, “because our forefathers forgot the importance of protecting freedom. Now we have to build a nation from scratch.”

The Rev. Darryl Wood is pastor of the First Baptist Church Vincent. You may contact him at