There’s been a lot of stuff going round about ‘freedom’ on social media. I think we’ve all seen people dodging police on borders, vowing they won’t wear masks, and others protesting against a vaccine that doesn’t even exist yet.
I’ve seen social media posts about organisations, religious bodies, and businesses declaring their ‘freedom’ to do as they please no matter what the authorities have decreed or asked, in order to try and stem the ongoing pandemic emergency.
Most of us are insulated from tragedy. Even now, with many cases here in Victoria in the south eastern part of Australia, there are people who deny the pandemic even exists. Today, we had our highest deaths since the beginning of the pandemic – there were nineteen deaths in Victoria today.
Nineteen loved ones passed away due to COVID-19. We’ve now had more than three hundred deaths in Australia. Each time I listen to the news, I’m reminded that those three hundred people have loved ones who now mourn their loss, often even without the solace of having been with them as they passed away.
In addition, there are people whose illness has left them with long term sequelae – stroke, fatigue, shortness of breath, and probably other things we don’t yet understand. We still have a long way to go until we understand what the long term effects of COVID-19 might be.
But more than anything, I struggle to understand those who think that their ‘freedoms’ trump other people’s potential loss.
There’s a part of the Bible that says this really well. It’s in the first book of Corinthians, and it’s verses 23 and 24.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.“
I have recently been quite distressed by the number of people professing to be Christians, who flout health advice in the name of ‘freedom.’ If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I also am a Christian.
What bothers me is the apparent lack of concern for others. When people claim that an action that defies health directives is about ‘my freedom,’ then they are actively choosing to abrogate the freedoms of others.
Our actions are never without consequence, and if someone wants to ‘exercise their freedom’ to not physical distance, or to assemble in large groups, or choose not to leave details in restaurants or hotels, then they need to acknowledge that the exercise of said freedom may come at a cost to someone else – or even themselves.
Don’t claim freedom without acknowledging responsibility.
I won’t go on further. I’m sure you can see my point. It’s not about freedoms, it’s about responsibility and community.