I usually enjoy reading the biting sarcasm usually found on The Onion website, taking most articles with a grain of salt, but today my son’s facebook post drew attention to a classic article from back in 2003 that would be much funnier if it were not so true.
The article began:
“Alarmed by the unhealthy choices they make every day, more and more Americans are calling on the government to enact legislation that will protect them from their own behavior.”
Hey, this isn’t satire. This is reality! What about seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws? Why not protect me from eating that juicy hamburger?
The final paragraph tells it all, highlighting the eternal conflict between personal responsibility and guaranteed salvation:
"The fact is, personal responsibility doesn’t work," Nathansen (Lucifer) said. "Take a good look at the way others around you are living, and I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s time for the American people to demand that someone force them to do something about it."
(My parenthetical comment included.)
I awoke this morning with the words of this hymn running through my mind. I don’t often hear it sung, but the hymn has a wonderful message for us all about the eternal nature of God’s gift of personal freedom.
1. Know this, that ev’ry soul is free
To choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is giv’n:
That God will force no man to heav’n.
2. He’ll call, persuade, direct aright,
And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.
3. Freedom and reason make us men;
Take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well
The beasts may think of heav’n or hell.
4. May we no more our pow’rs abuse,
But ways of truth and goodness choose;
Our God is pleased when we improve
His grace and seek his perfect love.
“Know This, That Every Soul Is Free,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 240
Text: Anon., ca. 1805, Boston. Included in the first LDS hymnbook, 1835.
Music: Roger L. Miller, b. 1937. © 1985 IRI
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