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I have been listening to a biography of Peter the Great of Russia. One lesson is how rulers have always had freedom of conscience. They were rulers, in part, because they and sometimes they alone could live as they thought they must. Christian societies inherited system from pagans and though we immediately began expanding human rights and dignity for all subjects, most often only the ruler was allowed full freedom of conscience.
This was a deep religious error for a Christian, ignoring that when God could have forced His creation to obey, God allowed us to learn good and evil by choosing evil. We could have gone the other way, but did not. God is just and so we must consent to the Good, Truth, and Beauty. If we will not, then we need not. God allows us to make eternal choices.
Soul - Liberty - Divine - Gift - State
This soul liberty is a Divine Gift and many of our founding state governments, while flawed in other areas, captured this liberty first. It is why we correct, in time, the other failings in ways states like the Soviet Union could not.
The genius of Christian apologist and philosopher John Locke and centuries of deeper Christian thought was to take what belonging to a Tsar and give that same liberty, as much as possible, to a every person. A culmination of that better understanding of the liberty that inheres in every soul is our own Constitution and the First Amendment.
Republic - Liberty - Freedom - Conscience - Fail
This Republic must protect religious liberty, the freedom of conscience or fail. Freedom of conscience is more essential to liberty that any other and holds the possibility of renewal.
Sometimes my students question why someone cannot just change their mind or simply be quiet: go along and get along. They are also well aware, if they know little other history, of the times...
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