Belief in liberty only for those who agree with us is not liberty at all. Pro- or anti-abortion, we should support CBS's decision to run Focus on the Family's Tim Tebow ad during the Super Bowl. The 30-second commercial, costing from $2.5-2.8 million, shares a mother's decision not to abort a son now named one of the greatest athletes in college football history. CBS considers "responsibly produced ads from all groups."
Anger over the ad reveals fear that the position has no sound defense other than bully tactics. William A. White, American news editor and author, spoke to this situation: "Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others."
As Rhett said to Scarlett: "What a little hypocrite you are!" The world chastised the Swiss at the end of 2009 for approving a ban on Islamic minarets. The U.N., the U.S., the Council of Europe, other nations and individuals, all screamed "Islamophobia." Yet, here at home, the ACLU has forced a plywood-box cover over a simple white cross ("Christophobia"?), erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, standing in the wasteland of the Mojave Desert since 1934. We await a Supreme Court decision as to whether the "offending" cross, a memorial for the fallen of WWI, should be removed.
Foot-in-mouth is a liberty we share in America. Despite Sen. Harry Reid's archaic reference to "Negro dialect" and shade of skin color, Leonard Pitts, well-known black news columnist, recognized Reid's freedom to speak and even defended his point.
"Octomom" Nadya Suleman can brazenly solicit funding for her brood while remaining single and unemployed. South Carolina's Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer can compare government assistance to the poor to feeding stray animals. Justice Alito can shake his head "no" and grimace "not true" while President Obama verbally flogged the Supreme Court in his State of the Union message. The Statue of Liberty's torch has not gone out.
J.D. Salinger, author of "The Catcher in the Rye," died recently, a recluse who said there was more freedom in "not" publishing. Many tried to ban his 1951 book, named by Modern Library among its 100 best English-language novels. Salinger's liberal use of profanity, sexuality and teenage rebellion shocked the public then and now.
Some of us have read and watched what others, that is, parents, teachers, ministers, well-meaning friends, wanted us to boycott, treasuring our autonomy. "The Catcher in the Rye" has been required reading in many English literature programs, and more than one of us loved and hated its anti-hero Holden Caulfield. For most, reading about him did not make us want to be him. Rather, liberty stimulates desire for truth.
Jesus knew free will was not only God-given but can lead to God: "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32 NIV). Those of us who glimpse the power of the Bible rejoice when the Gideons hand out copies, not fearing Moslems may also distribute the Koran. Thomas Jefferson understood: "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods, or no God." Truth wins in the end.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.