Love at 3:30 in the Morning

God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.
-Desmond Tutu, retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

In the song, Being Green, Kermit the Frog laments his green coloration, expressing that green “blends in with so many ordinary things” and wishing to be some other color.

The song’s signature line “It’s not easy being green” is a phrase that has since appeared in many contexts in pop culture. The song is associated with questions of identity and individuality, also with themes such as self-love and celebration of diversity, especially in terms of race, which was at the forefront of social debate within American culture at the time of the song’s debut. I see the phrase as an expression of being an outsider, as being one who is “different.”

The sad thing about being an outsider is that it does not take very much to be an outsider. For instance, being the new student who enters a school after the term begins can make that person an outsider. Being a Protestant in a heavily Roman Catholic area can make the non-Catholic feel like an outsider. Further, being a person who is “different” – “being green” – can make that person an outsider. There are insiders and there are outsiders. I suspect that there are probably more outsiders than there are insiders. Frequently, the reason for this disproportion is that the insiders do not want the outsiders inside. Of course, it is natural for a person to want to be on the inside and not on the outside. However, it is the unhappy truth that most people will have the experience of being an outsider in one way or another sometime during their lifetime.

Tony Campolo, a well-known pastor, author, sociologist, public speaker and professor is a person knows from personal experience the truth of that statement. Here is his story.

It so happens that Campolo was wandering the streets of Honolulu at 3:30 in the morning looking for a place to have some breakfast, but everything was closed. Finally, he found a little “greasy spoon” diner still open. This place was up a side street in an area that would only be frequented by tourists if they had somehow stumbled into the area by mistake. It was small and dirty. In fact, it was so filthy Campolo would not even touch the menu! He sat on a stool and ordered coffee and a donut from Harry, the fat guy behind the counter.

As Campolo sat there munching his stale donut and drinking his luke-warm coffee, the door suddenly opened and much to both his surprise and to his discomfort, in marched several “outsiders” in the persons of provocatively-dressed and boisterous prostitutes! And – they sat down right beside Tony Campolo! Their talk was loud and crude and vulgar. Campolo felt completely out of place and was just about to make his getaway when he overheard the woman sitting beside him say, “Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m going to be thirty-nine.”

One of her friends responded rather nastily, “So what do you want from me, a birthday party? You want me to get you a cake and sing ‘Happy Birthday?’” The girl replied, “Aw, c’mon. Why are you so mean? I was just telling you, that’s all. Why do you have to put me down? I was just telling you it was my birthday. I don’t want anything from you. I mean, why should you give me a birthday party? I’ve never had a birthday party in my whole life. Why should I have one now?”

When Campolo heard that, he made a decision. He waited until the women left. Then he asked Harry, the fat guy behind the counter, “Do these women come in here every night?”
“The one right next to me, does she come every night?”
“Yeah. That’s Agnes. She comes in every night. Why d’ya wanna know?”
“Because I heard her say tomorrow is her birthday. What do you say you and I do something about that? What do you think about us – the two of us – throwing a birthday party for her – right here – tomorrow night?”
“That’s great! I like it!”

Then calling to his wife in the back room, Harry shouted, “Hey, Gert! Come out here! This guy Tony here has got a great idea. Tomorrow’s Agnes’s birthday. This guy wants us to go in with him and throw a birthday party for her – right here – tomorrow night.”

Gert came out all bright and smiling: “That’s wonderful, Harry! Agnes is one of those people who is really nice and kind to everyone. But nobody ever does anything nice and kind for her.”

“Look,” said Campolo, “If it’s okay with you, I’ll return tomorrow about 2:30 and decorate and even get a birthday cake!”

“No way,” said Harry. “Birthday cake is my thing. I’ll bake the cake.”

At 2:30 the next morning, Campolo was back with crepe-paper decorations and a cardboard sign reading “Happy Birthday!” in bright, bold letters. He decorated the diner from one end to the other. Somehow the word must have spread out on the street because at 3:15 every prostitute in Honolulu was in the place! There were wall-to-wall prostitutes – and Tony Campolo!

And then at 3:30 on the dot, the door swung open and in came Agnes and her friends. Campolo had everybody ready on cue as they screamed, “Happy Birthday!” Agnes was stunned, flabbergasted, and shaken all at the same time. Her mouth fell open and her legs buckled. She sat down on a bar stool. Agnes became misty-eyed. But then when the birthday cake came out, she lost it completely and openly cried. Harry gruffly mumbled to her, “Blow out the candles, Agnes! Come on! Blow out the candles! If you don’t blow out the candles, I’m gonna hafta blow out the candles.” He did, finally.
“Cut the cake, Agnes. Yo, Agnes! We all want some cake.”
Agnes wailed, “Is this really my birthday cake?”

Agnes said she wanted to take the cake home! “Okay. It’s your party.” She carried the cake like it was a Ming Dynasty vase and walked slowly toward the door. Everyone just stood there motionless, and then she left.

When the door closed, there was a stunned silence in the diner. Not knowing what else to do, Campolo broke the silence by saying, “What do you say we say a prayer for Agnes?” Looking back on it now, Campolo says that it seemed more than strange for a sociologist to be leading a prayer meeting with a bunch of prostitutes in a diner in Honolulu at 3:30 in the morning, but it just felt like the right thing for him to do. And so Campolo and the assemblage of these “ladies of the evening,” ahem, these “working girls” had a birthday prayer for Agnes.

When everyone had left, Harry leaned over the counter and said to Campolo, “Hey, Tony! You never told me you were a preacher! What kind of church do you belong to?”

Well, it was one of those moments when just the right words came and Campolo said, “I belong to a church that throws birthday parties for whores at 3:30 in the morning.” Harry waited a long moment as if mulling this statement over in his mind, and then finally sneered: “No you don’t. There ain’t no church like that. If there was, I’d join it. I really would!”

Harry was right, you know. We all would join a church or a synagogue or a mosque or a temple like that. I think compassion is the fundamental religious experience and unless compassion is there, you have nothing.

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, the noted Spanish existentialist philosopher was correct when he wrote “Warmth, warmth, more warmth! For we are dying of cold, and not darkness.” We die when love, acceptance and warmth, so necessary for life, are missing.

We exhibit that love of which Unamuno spoke whenever and wherever we respond to the needs of those who do not belong, of those who do not seem to fit in, of those who are the outsiders in society, of those who are “green.” We see that response in the compassionate hospice volunteer at the bedside of a person dying of AIDS; in those unsung heroes who help at a soup kitchen, at that help-up mission, at that AA meeting, at that homeless shelter, in that responsive colleague comforting a homosexual friend who has just broken up with his partner of many years, and, of course, with Jesus, nailed to a cross, inviting the thief on a similar cross to be in heaven with him. We will even find that same spirit at a dirty “greasy spoon” diner in Honolulu at 3:30 in the morning in the persons of Tony, Harry, and Gert throwing a thirty-ninth birthday party for Agnes, a prostitute.


Beyond Stupidity

The fence on the border separating the United States and Mexico

The fence on the border separating the United States and Mexico

Recently, I was watching the evening news on the television and saw a segment devoted to the current humanitarian crisis on our southern border. One of the clips shown on the program was of Republican Representative from the First Congressional District in Texas, Louis Buller Gohmert, who asserted that the crisis of women and children refugees seeking asylum in the United States was so serious that it puts “our continued existence at risk.” Gohmert said these words during a speech on the House floor as he renewed his call for Border States to invoke their rights under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, and to declare war against a “mass invasion” of refugees. In case you are not up on such matters, the 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Gohmert explained, “Our continued existence is at risk with what’s going on at the southern border.” He went on to say that the Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security was complicit because it had “actually assisted the criminal conspiracy in achieving its illegal goals” by not enforcing the law.

Really, Congressman? Our “continued existence” is at risk? From whom? Oh, I see, refugee women and children. Now, let me get this straight. All that it is going to take to bring this country to its proverbial knees is fifty-two hundred CHILDREN? It has been a pretty good run since 1776, but wait, here comes little Maria or Juan with a piece of paper in his or her pocket that has an address or a phone number on it, and there goes America! WOW! That’s incredible. Slow your roll, Louie. They’re children. They’re not a bunch of diseased invaders looking to rape white women. They’re children, for God’s sake.

And it’s not just that, mind you. This whole border crisis is a plot by the Obama administration, of course, to bring America down. Everyone knows that. You thought it was going to be some secret Muslimism taking over, or some secret born-in-Kenya and not even Hawaii ploy. But no. No one was prepared for the real plot, the one in which a bunch of children show up at our border and – well, you can guess the rest. We’re finished! We can’t possibly handle this crisis without a flotilla of naval warships, without calling up the Texas National Guard, without a moat with alligators in it, and/or without a fence stretching across the entire border between Mexico and the United States. Without those things, we’re done as a country. They’re persona non grata. If we can’t keep these little diseased-ridden interlopers out of here, we’ll have to give them blankets and milk and graham crackers and what have you – and that’s money that should be going to some gigantic fat cat’s twenty-third consecutive tax cut. So, board up the house, Lucy and cancel the cable guy, Charlie, America is toast!

Are people who think like this. . .just plain stupid? And it would be bad enough if people like Representative Gohmert were alone, but this is the common theme of protests not only in Texas, but also in California, Arizona, Maryland, and in Pennsylvania. It is this notion that if we allow these children to not die at the border or if we do not somehow just beam these children back into Mexico and call it Mexico’s problem, then we are all doomed.

The new racist viciousness directed at these children is not only remarkable, but also frightening.

Protesters at Murrieta, Californis

Protesters at Murrieta, Californis

For instance, there is the charge that these children are diseased. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has begun raising fears of importing disease-ridden children in a recent interview. Corbett opined that before any children are sent to Pennsylvania, the federal government should “make sure … that they’ve had all their immunizations and so forth because we have a strong concern about that.” Corbett added, “Measles is one [disease] that comes to mind very quickly” as a concern.

Where does one begin on this one? First, the World Health Organization reports that in most Central and South American countries, immunization rates against measles and other childhood communicable diseases are actually on a par with, or even better than immunization rates in the United States. Mexico and Nicaragua, for example, have immunization rates of 99 percent – well above the 92 percent rate in the United States. Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Colombia, Peru – all do at least as well as the United States at inoculating their children against measles. In fact, Texas does a worse job of inoculating children than does Guatemala.

And the funny part about measles – the one disease Governor Corbett mentioned by name – is that among those diseases that we probably need to worry, measles is the one about which we need to worry the least. “There hasn’t been an endemic infection of measles anywhere in the Americas since 2002,” says Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, who also works on biosecurity and emerging infectious disease problems. Measles and other communicable childhood diseases are problems in some parts of the world – namely in portions of Africa and Asia. When measles has cropped up in Western Hemisphere during the past decade-plus, it has come from those places, rather than south of the border.

And then recently, Representative Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: “Some of the child refugees streaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote. “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles.”

It is no wonder, with rhetoric like this, that bigots are gathering in their thousands to tell refugee children that they are not welcome in their neighborhood. After all, they are nothing but a bunch of little terrorists, future rapists, drug users, and thieves.

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios says that these children carry diseases and should be treated like lepers (never mind that we don’t even treat lepers like lepers anymore): “I think of biblical times, the lepers were separated — right or wrong — they were separated. It was understood that leprosy was so contagious. So there’s nothing wrong with wanting to separate your children. We used to quarantine people when they had diseases.We’re such a healthy people that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be diseased and die from those diseases in huge numbers,” she said, “but we’re going to learn, I think, again.”

Yes, there have been a handful of reports that children have swine flu, tuberculosis, measles, and chickenpox. But while Central American children are at higher risk for tuberculosis, mainly an upper respiratory disease, it is not only treatable and curable, but the Department of Health and Human Services screens and quarantines the children who test positive for TB. In fact, the first step once children are intercepted by border agents is to perform health screenings on each individual.

The general population is likely safe from swine flu because the vaccine for it is part of the trivalent influenza vaccine that is administrated annually. Measles and chickenpox vaccines are available and already required, although the recent uptick in measles outbreaks can be partially blamed on parents who forgo their children’s MMR (measles, mump, rubella) vaccine based on the belief that vaccines cause autism. Reports of Ebola virus (a West African disease), as Representative Gringrey suggested, seem to be downright doubtful since people with the virus develop dramatic symptoms within days, and are probably too busy hemorrhaging blood to make the treacherous journey into the United States.

And finally in Murrieta, California, busloads of babies in their mothers’ laps, teens, ‘tweens and toddlers were turned back from a detainee facility. They were met by screaming protesters, waving and wearing American flags and bearing signs that were imprinted with such slogans as “Return to Sender,” “Send them Home,” and, of course, “Honk if you want to impeach Obama.” Just look at the faces of those who stopped those buses and you will see what I mean. Overall, the level of hate-filled paranoia directed specifically toward the children has begun to resemble a Joe McCarthy tirade against people working in sensitive sectors of the U.S. government as being members of the communist party or of having communist sympathies.

This is a refugee crisis, not an immigration crisis. Even so, when the Statue of Liberty says…
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door
!”…she could have been looking directly at these children.

Whatever happened to those words? Do we still mean them? A recent survey discovered that a near-majority of Americans want the undocumented immigrant children currently being held at the border deported as soon as possible, even though only about one-third of adults think these children have someplace safe to which to return. Maybe we will have to change the inscription on the Statue of Liberty to. “Give me your educated, your credentialed, your cubicle jockeys yearning to cash checks, the fluent doctors abandoning your teeming shores. Send these, the smart, the trained, to me: I lift my lamp beside the door of privilege.”

The degree of heartlessness exhibited by some Americans defies belief. Many of these children are victims of the drug war that the United States is funding and refuses to end – a drug war that those same border protesters probably support. In reality, it is true that these children have contracted the most vicious disease on earth. It has a name. It is called bigotry.

This mania has gone beyond mere stupidity and has descended into an old-fashioned hate fest. It has become a campaign to convince Americans that refugee children are an enemy that must be dispatched without pity. If you don’t believe me, just ask Representative Louie Gohmert, for according to him, our “continued existence,” supposedly, depends on it.

Contagious Compassion


“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.”
-Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Most of us would agree that we always feel better when we reach out to others instead of focusing only on ourselves.

One such person who would agree with that feeling is the man whose wife had recently died. He was inconsolable. He took flowers to her grave every day. He consulted a therapist who counseled him for three months. One day the analyst saw the flowers the man had brought to his session and the counselor said, “Today, I don’t want you to go to place those flowers on your wife’s grave. I want you to go to Saint John’s Hospital down the street and go into each room and give a flower to the patient you find there.” The next week, the man came to his session in an elated state. “I had a wonderful time giving those flowers away. Those people appreciated them so much and I made so many friends. I can’t stay today for my session since I’m going back to visit the new friends I met.” By involving himself compassionately in the lives of those hospital patients, this man found his grief fading away. Not only did he give away those flowers, but also he gave away himself as well. We always feel better when we reach out to others. It was out of his overwhelming grief that this man reached out to others with compassion and it was life-changing for all concerned.

Such a reaching out even affected a whole community. It happened because of a woman who lived in a small village in France. Trained as a nurse, she devoted her life to caring for the sick and the needy. After many years of kind and selfless service to the village’s families, the woman died. She had no family of her own, so the villagers planned a beautiful funeral for her, a fitting tribute for the woman to whom so many owed their lives. The parish priest, however, pointed out that, since she was a Protestant, she could not be buried in the town’s only graveyard – a Roman Catholic cemetery. The villagers protested, but the priest held firm. The decision was not easy for the priest either, for he, too, had been cared for by the woman during a serious illness. But the Canon Law of the Church was very clear; she would have to be buried outside – not inside – the fence of the cemetery. The day of the funeral arrived, and the whole village accompanied the woman’s casket to the cemetery, where she was buried – outside the cemetery fence. But that night, a group of the villagers, armed with picks and shovels, crept into the cemetery. They then quietly set to work – and moved the fence!

Out of their mutual love for a person who had been so much a part of their lives, this village reached out to others with compassion and “moved the fences” to include an outsider and it was life-changing for all concerned. The little village was transformed into a loving community, united in its need for one another and brought together by their love for one who had been so much a part of their lives.

We do not have to be our brother’s keeper. That stance often has been patronizing and demeaning. But we do have to be our brother’s brother or sister, as the case may be. We need to look into the faces of those who need to be loved, of those who need compassion, and receive them and embrace them in love.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke the truth when he said: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

Freedom is Not Free

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
-Nelson Mandela

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, the day on which in 1776 we declared our independence from Great Britain. Of course, declaring independence and attaining it are two different things. Our independence was attained some seven years later in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. We fought a war with Great Britain to have that independence at the cost of the blood of 25,000 patriots. Of course, as a result of that war and of that sacrifice, we neither drive on the left side of the road nor sing God Save the Queen today!

Here are my thoughts as we approach Independence Day this year.

In November, 1751, the Provincial Assembly of the Colony of Pennsylvania ordered a bell for its new State House. The order directed that the new bell should have a biblical verse inscribed around it. The quotation to be inscribed was the tenth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus in the Hebrew Scriptures, which reads: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and unto the inhabitants thereof.”

Surely it was appropriate that this bell, with its challenging inscription, should be the one that proclaimed the signing of the Declaration of Independence twenty-five years later.

Of course, that old “Liberty Bell,” as we now call it, has long since outlived its usefulness as a bell. But old and cracked as it is, it is still preserved by our nation with great care among the hallowed treasures that we associate with the birth of this great nation. And even though the bell is no longer useful as a bell, that inscription still fervently stirs our imaginations: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and unto the inhabitants thereof.”

For we are the descendants of the people to whom liberty was proclaimed, and we are the people who have enjoyed its blessings over these almost 240 years. But I suspect that not many of us have really considered what a dangerous motto was inscribed on that bell, and the somber implications of that motto. Not many of us pause to appreciate what a rare and illusive commodity freedom is in the history of the human family, and how presumptuous it was to use those words on that bell. For those who ordered the bell in 1751, those who rang it in 1776, and those of us who celebrate freedom in 2014 actually do injustice to the meaning of Scripture. We have yanked that inscription out of context and have made it mean something that the Word of God does not mean in that place.

Let me explain.

The person who reads Leviticus knows that this book contains some of the most stringent laws and regulations that have ever been placed on a people. Every facet of life was controlled by the Levitical law. However, as an occasional relief in the midst of all of these demanding laws, there was provided a jubilee year. In that jubilee year, slaves were freed, and land, which had been taken away because of indebtedness, was returned to the original owner. It was about this jubilee year that the words were written: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and unto the inhabitants thereof.”

And when did that jubilee year come? Once every fifty years! The average person could expect one year of comparative freedom in an entire lifetime! The words of Scripture point out what a dangerous commodity freedom is. The Israelites were only entrusted with it two years out of every century.

C. K. Chesterton wrote in 1918: “The world will never be made safe for democracy, because democracy is a dangerous business.” Democracy? This commodity that we take so much for granted as an inalienable right of every human being is dangerous? That is preposterous!

And yet, in the last several years, we have come to know just what Chesterton meant. We look around and suddenly we find that it is a very lonely place for our particular brand of freedom. Our motto: e pluribus unum, meaning “one out of many,” suddenly takes on new meaning. The motto originally meant that we were one nation, fashioned out of many diverse colonies, nationalities, ethnic groups, and creeds. It no longer means only that. “One out of many” has also come to mean that we are the only one out of all the many nations that has our particular and peculiar form of government.

Often, we find ourselves supporting supposedly democratic governments, only to realize that after some coup d’etat, we are really supporting nothing more than militaristic dictatorships and totalitarian states. With astonishment, we discover that this free land is extremely lonely as a political entity in the world. Yes, Chesterton was right: Democracy is a dangerous business!

There are other signs of the dangers of democratic freedom. George Washington said in his Farewell Address to the Nation: “The foundation of the republic is morality, and it is foolish to suppose that we can have morality without a religious impetus.” We have always naively assumed that there is some kind of national, secular ethic that supports that morality; that morality is buried right in the fabric of the nation somehow, just as securely as the gold in Fort Knox. But the scandals of the past decades convince us that this so-called national ethic is certainly operating in a very erratic way. To illustrate, simply recall
• the TV quiz show frauds of the 1960s;
• recall the scandal of employee theft;
• recall the recurrent cheating scandals among brighter students at better universities, including the military academies at West Point and Annapolis;
• recall the “big lie” philosophy on the part of presidents and cabinet members that embroiled this nation in the wars in Vietnam and Iraq;
• recall the Machiavellian ethic that produced the strain, the stain, and the shame of Watergate, Iran/Contragate, White Watergate, Monicagate, and all the other “gates;”
• recall the escalating violence on the streets of every major city; and
• recall the new drugs available on those same streets that are more powerful and, therefore, more deadly than either crack cocaine or heroin.
The litany seems endless. We look around in bewilderment and ask: Where did our morals go? When did we lose our moral moorings?

Listen to these words: “America today is running on the momentum of a godly ancestry, and when that momentum runs down, God help America.” Do you know who said those words? I assure you that it was not Billy Graham or some other preacher-type. No, those words were spoken by none other than the late General-of-the-Army Omar Bradley, one of the great military leaders of our country! He is saying that if morality goes, so goes the nation! We are finished. Freedom rests on the precarious foundation of national ethics and morality.

What is wrong? Is not freedom a good thing? Does not just about every religion promise freedom as a great and glorious gift? Did not Jesus say: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”? Yes, freedom is a good and glorious gift. But there is a catch in freedom.

The “catch” is that freedom does not and cannot live alone. Freedom is born a twin, a Siamese twin, if you will. Freedom and responsibility are the twins. One cannot live without the other. If one dies, they both die. Try to separate them and they both perish. Freedom means “to be released from something.” Responsibility means “to be mastered by something.” It is disastrous for an individual or a nation or a society to try to have one without the other. Freedom has only one value, and that is to provide the climate in which to exercise responsibility. Freedom and responsibility are the two sides of the same coin. As Elbert Hubbard once remarked, “Responsibility is the price of freedom.”

There is one final thing that needs to be said about freedom. Our ancestors knew that freedom is never safe in the world as long as one person lives under tyranny. The Declaration of Independence was not written only for thirteen colonies. It was written for the world. Read it sometime and see for yourself. The great American experiment was no selfish enterprise. It was an example for the whole world. We will never be truly free, however, until all people enjoy the same freedom.

And yet, we know that we must always be on our guard. For me, one of the prophets of our time is Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. He writes these words to Americans: “You have forgotten the meaning of freedom. When you acquired freedom in the eighteenth century, it was a sacred notion that you have forgotten. Time has eroded your notion of freedom. You kept the word, but fabricated another notion: ‘Freedom without obligation and responsibility.’ ”

Those are strong words, but they are strong words from a person who understands tyranny. Solzhenitsyn was sent to Siberia for making a political joke. Here is a person who recognizes that freedom is not free. It must be earned by vigilance and sacrifice. Ronald Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

I wonder how many of us today would be willing to pay such a high price for freedom. Freedom is not free! We have freedom when we are willing to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to gain it, and when we recognize the awesome responsibilities of being free in a free land. Then, and only then, dare we “proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and to the inhabitants thereof.”