Letter from the Editor

Merry Christmas 2020

Eric SchaubEric Schaub

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Greetings and Salutations! It's been a tough year for most of us. Hoping you are weathering the storm with a hopeful and cheerful spirit.

Thank you to our donors! Your gift empowers us to empower others.

Around the world, at this time of year, people observe traditional holy days with prayers and celebrations -- as has been done since the dawn of the ages. Religious freedom has been deemed to be paramount among the rights of humankind, forever inseverable.

"Religious liberty is the chief cornerstone of the American system of government, and provisions for its security are embedded in the written charter and interwoven in the moral fabric of its laws. Anything that tends to invade a right so essential and sacred must be carefully guarded against, and I am satisfied that my countrymen, ever mindful of the suffering and sacrifices necessary to obtain it, will never consent to its impairment for any reason or under any pretext whatsoever."
~ Thomas F. Bayard
(1828-1898) U.S. Senator from Delaware, U.S. Secretary of State, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Foreign Relations of the United States for 1885, pp.48-51

"The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations ... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution."
~ John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President

However, we are witnessing an unprecedented assault on the right to gather in fellowship. The pandemic lockdown dictated to most of the civilized world has had a chilling effect on the traditions and customs of billions of people. Permission is now required for what used to be normally 'essential' day-to-day activities. I often ask myself by what authority can our representatives require obedience to their commands?

"Civil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right of religious freedom."
~ John Quincy Adams
(1767-1848) 6th US President

"A man may have to die for our country: but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself."
~ C. S. Lewis
(1898-1963), British novelist

Considering the amount of blood and treasure spent to defend the rights of conscience and religion, how can congregations and families be prohibited from associating? Thanksgiving - cancelled. Christmas - cancelled. Visiting your family - prohibited. All are quarantined - except the authorities who do not have to follow the same rules.

"Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being."
~ Lord Acton
[John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton] (1834-1902), First Baron Acton of Aldenham

"The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization. Neither a market economy nor even general abundance constitutes the crowning achievement of human life. If a nation???s spiritual energies have been exhausted, it will not be saved from collapse by the most perfect government structure or by any industrial development. A tree with a rotten core cannot stand."
~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn
(1918-2008) Russian novelist, Soviet dissident, imprisoned for 8 years for critizing Stalin in a personal letter, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1970

Political liberty aside, the true aim of a spiritual doctrine is personal. It is a battle being ever truthful with oneself. Often called a path of 'righteousness.' To conquer one's negativity, to not harbor hatred in one's heart. To be empowered with a bright soul. To be free from addictions, ill-habits, over-indulgences. To temper one's anger. To be honorable and compassionate. To tell the truth. Am I willing to face my own offenses and make amends?

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
~ Jesus of Nazareth
(c.4 BC ??? c.AD 30/33)
Holy Bible, John 8:32

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell."
~ Buddha
[Gautama Siddharta] (563 - 483 BC), Hindu Prince, founder of Buddhism

What does this have to do with liberty? If the truth sets one free, what does untruth do? It is said that we are living in a world of delusion. The degree to which I cling to that which is not true as if it were will determine what level of liberty I am capable of having. If I believe I am subject to another's dictates, my servitude is of my own doing. As well, if I believe another is subject to my command and enforce that dictate, I am again contributing to the delusion.

"I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more if they had known they were slaves."
~ Harriet Tubman
[Araminta Ross] (c.1820-1913) African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the U.S. Civil War. After escaping from captivity, she made thirteen missions to rescue over seventy slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

"I am speaking now of the highest duty we owe our friends, the noblest, the most sacred -- that of keeping their own nobleness, goodness, pure and incorrupt."
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
(1814-1896) Abolitionist author

Ever since I came into this world, I have been awakening to it. And with time, truth displaces false conclusions. Sometimes those false conclusions were actually fed to me as gospel. But no manner of untruth can fulfill or take the place of the real truth. Fake food does not nourish.

"And this I must fight against: any idea, religion or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system."
~ John Steinbeck
(1902-1968) Author, Nobel laureate
East of Eden, 1952

"God requireth not a uniformity of religion."
~ Roger Williams
(1603-1684) Anglo-American clergyman, advocate for the separation of church and state, founder of the Rhode Island colony
"A Plea for Religious Liberty" in The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, for Cause of Conscience (1644)

"Truth never damages a cause that is just."
~ Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi

So what is the truth? How can I tell? It starts with telling the truth without fail, and then listening to what is said. Then watch the dominos fall. So much has been invested in untruths, requiring massive amounts of energy to prop up. There can be little inner peace if constantly trying to put on the act - especially with oneself. Putting on a show takes time and money. Telling it like it is costs nothing.

"Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself."
~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
(1889-1951) Austrian-British philosopher

"The man who fears no truths
has nothing to fear from lies."

~ Sir Francis Bacon
(1561-1626) Philosopher, British Lord Chancellor

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world."
~ Thomas Carlyle
(1795-1881) Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian

The commonality of all spiritual paths is a sacred view of life and the world. Truth being paramount, tempered with love. A trust in the process of life, with courage to face its trials and tribulations. To awaken, to realize, to blossom, to be fruitful.

"The human heart refuses to believe in a universe without purpose."
~ Immanuel Kant
(1724-1804) German philosopher

"The one predominant duty is to find one's work and do it."
~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman
[Charlotte Anna Perkins] (1860-1935) American writer

"Do your duty, and leave the rest to heaven."
~ Pierre Corneille
(1606-1684) French playwright, known as the "founder of French tragedy???
Horace (1639), Act II, sc. viii

Life is a gift, Freedom is a responsibility. I am not a passenger in this life -- I am the driver, and my actions determine the ride and where I'll end up. Spiritual disciplines encourage 'right' actions and doing 'good,' not just because 'as we sow, so shall we reap,' but because we want to.

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(1749-1832) German writer, statesman

"This is the sum of all true righteousness: deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by. Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter."
~ The Mahabharata
Hindu epic poem, circa 800 BCE

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
~ St. Paul
Holy Bible, Galatians 5:13

The sacred view is as important as ever, and the practice of love and truth is not just a mercy but integral for a people who wish to remain free.

"The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom -- they are the pillars of society."
~ Henrik Ibsen
(1828-1906) Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet
Pillars of Society, 1877

"As long as man remains an inquiring animal, there can never be a complete unanimity in our fundamental beliefs. The more diverse our paths, the greater is likely to be the divergence of beliefs."
~ Sir Arthur Keith

Take care, my friend. May you be all that you can be. We'll face the new year together with a renewed vigor.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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