THE EROSION OF OUR FREEDOMS
                                By: Jerry S. Maneker

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and
will give them an heart of flesh….” (Ezekiel11: 19)

Christians are not haters and hate-mongers; haters and hate-mongers are not Christians! They certainly would not
promote hatred in the name of God, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the One Who has called us to reconciliation to Him and
to each other.

Unfortunately, history has shown that many professing Christians have not had their stony hearts replaced with a heart
of flesh that can only come from God, whether that person recognizes Him or not.  Indeed, that’s why I believe that an
avowed atheist can be much closer to God than many professing Christians whom I have known.

The Holy Spirit gives one a heart of flesh, so that he or she can empathize with the plights and struggles of others,
thereby driving His people to mercy, compassion, love and charity.  Such qualities are not part of the human condition,
as is amply portrayed in the Bible, as well as in secular history, and in our own experiences.

Brutalities abound, be they physical, intellectual, emotional, or spiritual.  Indeed, we have seen more carnage in the
previous century couched as noble causes than we have seen in all of religious and secular history in all of the
centuries combined.  This carnage is done for what its proponents want us to think are good and noble motives.

The Bible clearly describes the sick state of our souls in many ways.  For example: The first murder was one brother
killing another brother.  The finest of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery.   David
orchestrated the murder of a good man in order to marry his wife.

I was very active in the 1960’s and early 1970’s in protesting the Viet Nam war, and in promoting the decriminalization of
drugs.  I still believe those were good causes!  I also still believe that the “war on drugs” is a fiasco and mainly lines the
pockets of law enforcement, the judiciary and officers of the court, and the prison industry.  Moreover, the world history
of carnage and brutality highlight the validity of the following verse of Scripture: “The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

Therefore, many of the people who were raised in the 1960’s and 1970’s, as well as their children, took such hard-
fought causes as a license to be self-absorbed, selfish, and sociopathic.  Due to this human condition, greed,
preoccupation with one’s looks (Cosmetic surgery is a booming industry, much as is prison construction.) and
preoccupation with one’s self and his or her acquisitions have supplanted the hoped for hearts of flesh that people like
me thought would be the result of the transformation of consciousness that seemingly brought people together in those
years.

This self-absorption is manifested in many ways, not the least of which is many people’s willingness to ignore hard won
freedoms that they take for granted. For example, many people would do away with the Bill of Rights if we could win “the
war on drugs.”  Few people seem upset by the fact that we have more people incarcerated, about two million people,
than any country in the history of the world!  They see no problem with confiscation of one’s property, license to drive,
and the building of jails and prisons to house many non-violent drug users, as long as it is not their own ox that is being
gored.

What began the Viet Nam era protests was the fact that middle class white kids were being sent over to fight in those
jungles.  Prior to that, when Blacks and other people of color were being used as cannon fodder, there was hardly any
protest at all.  After the draft was abolished, the protests then dwindled and eventually stopped.  Again, the heart of
stone was mistaken by people like me for a heart of flesh!

Erosion of freedom that hits close to home is the ruling by Judge Noel Watkins that Tim Crews, publisher of this paper,
must reveal his source or sources regarding a case that is in court.  Mr. Crews refuses to reveal his source or sources
and, as of this writing, may serve time in jail for “contempt of court.”  

What many fail to realize is that investigative reporting would come to a grinding halt if potential sources, upon which
much of that reporting depends, were fearful that their names could be divulged.  Investigative reporting is absolutely
essential if we are to have any semblance of a free society! The chilling fact is that if the judicial, legislative, and
executive branches of government are not allowed to have a watchdog with teeth overseeing their activities, all of our
freedoms are endangered.

However, to see the truth of this fact, one must have a discerning and empathic heart of flesh which, unfortunately, very
few people seem to possess.


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