Words from President Truman …

From today's Post-Gazette

As we look toward the future, we must be sure that what we honor and venerate in these documents is not their words alone, but the ideas of liberty which they express. …

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence can live only as long as they are enshrined in our hearts and minds. If they are not so enshrined, they would be no better than mummies in their glass cases, and they could in time become idols whose worship would be a grim mockery of the true faith. Only as these documents are reflected in the thoughts and acts of Americans can they remain symbols of a power that can move the world.

That power is our faith in human liberty. That faith is immortal, but it is not invincible. It has sometimes been abandoned, it has been betrayed, it has been beaten to earth again and again, and although it has never been killed, it has been reduced to impotence for centuries at a time. It is far older than our Republic. The motto on our Liberty Bell, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” is from the book of Leviticus, which is supposed to have been written nearly 1,500 years before Christ. In the 35 centuries since that date, the love of liberty has never died, but liberty itself has been lost again and again.


So many people believe that Constitutonal principles require a strict adherence to the words themselves, not the absorption of their meaning and a reflection in our everyday lives.  This is one reason why I cannot understand that people who believe they have a constitutional right to religious liberty would deny other liberties to other groups. I would stand up for them, but too oft I find myself standing against the encroachment of religous liberty into my personal liberties. At the same time, I see my fellow LGBTQ disparage people who properly exercise their religious liberties. 

The problem, as I've said repeatedly, is that this is a false dichotomy. You are free to practice your religion, but not impose it on others.  That's the end of the debate. If your religious beliefs proscribe homosexuality, you are fine as long as you don't interfere with the liberty of others.  Participation in the public sector requires you play ball with the public rules. 

So it is really about changing those rules to allow religious liberty to exceed its Constitutional defined liberty.



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