My Turn: America's evolving liberty
By Glenn Hudson
Is America really the land of the free? Does the Bill of Rights mean anything? Are all men truly created equal? Or is that just a noble ideal that some Americans cannot grasp? Consider three examples.
First, it was announced May 10, that former President George Bush did not consult with his advisors on his decision to go to war with Iraq. Then, the same day President Barack Obama announced he was publicly supporting same-sex marriage. Finally, in the days that followed, Charles Worley, pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church, in Maiden, preached a sermon of hate towards the gay and lesbian community from the pulpit, even going so far as to suggest they be put in an electrified fence to live out their lives until they die without reproducing offspring.
These incidents may seem on the surface to have nothing to do with one another. But as a libertarian and a secular humanist, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. I support the liberty of each individual on this planet.
Neither George Bush, Barack Obama or Charles Worley are perfect individuals. None of us are perfect. But you have to have some ideals that you use as a basis for the decisions you make. How many people had to die for Bush to accomplish his goals? We’ll never know. Because there was no mission accomplished.
I’m not saying President Obama is the perfect solution. I’m also not saying that pastor Worley is an evil man. I would even like to make clear that I don’t believe George Bush’s mistakes make him a bad person. None of us have all, or even some, of the answers. Although we like to think we do.
The main principle in play here is that each person on this planet is unique and special. Our political, cultural and religious differences are a result of evolutionary changes caused by the pressure and competition over resources, food, shelter, protection and the need to find a suitable mate. All other species on this planet have the same challenges. Yet what makes homo sapiens different is our ability to reason and appreciate our position in the universe on a level that, so far, we do not believe any other living organism can grasp.
As in any evolutionary process, there will be those individuals which will favor keeping things the same rather than having change move forward. These individuals are fighting a game against time that they cannot win, either alone or as a group. By looking backwards you are choosing to remain comfortable with the notion of a stability that does not exist. Everything is moving forward. You are simply looking backward. And you are a dead end.
But those that look forward will see what will become. And just as we are living now in a world that is better for us in so many ways, the future will see greater gains as we extend the benefits we have manufactured for ourselves to the other species of this planet for the greater good.
For some of you this may seem like an imaginary future heaven. For me it seems much more realistic and inevitable than some other popular notions of heaven. Will I be around to see it? Yes. Every day that I help make it possible I glimpse it in myself. I see it in others around me. I see it in the eyes of wildlife. It flows around us and through us like an ocean. It is our humanity.
Because of this principle I support the liberty of each individual not only in the United States, but all over this planet. The human condition will always feature turmoil and strife and violence, I suppose. But having a full appreciation for human life, and all living things, can guide us quite easily.
Sending people to war to die on false pretenses is against liberty. Standing up for something that is clearly a normal part of the human condition supports the very foundations of all our liberty. But preaching hate for any group of individuals, regardless of who those people may be, is just completely backwards in the grand scheme of things.
Welcome to the new renaissance. It is arriving whether you like it or not.
Glenn Hudson lives in Salisbury.
“My Turn” columns should be between 500 and 700 words. E-mail submissions are preferred. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with “My Turn” in the subject line. Include name, address, phone number and a digital photo of yourself if possible.