During the late 1960s, I escaped from the socialist dictatorship of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. Back then, everything I had read about freedom in America was almost too good to be true. So when I finally made it to the U.S., I considered myself one of the most blessed people in the world.
But now fast forward to 2013. Today, I am in mourning over the events that are eroding our freedom of speech and religious liberties. Slowly but surely, they are becoming things of the past. And while they slip away, the mainstream media parrots the official government line instead of advocating for those freedoms. They have become the water carriers for the ruling class.
I often wonder if majority rule even works in America anymore.
Take the case of California Proposition 8 where the majority voted against same-sex marriage, and yet a handful of unelected judges overturned the will of the people.
More recently, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on August 22 that a commercial photographer violated New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law when she refused to take pictures of a gay couple’s commitment ceremony.
Was it not enough that the photographer had lost money because of her personal religious conviction? Was it not enough that her business suffered because of that conviction? No. New Mexico’s highest court had to make her suffer further with a possible fine and imprisonment.
And for what cost? Her religious conviction has been smashed like cheap glass. The power of the elite has no room today for individual freedoms.
And don’t even get me started on military chaplains who would risk fines or their jobs if they dared to uphold biblical truth or express the very essence of their Christian faith.
When the powerful compel people to do things against their conviction, then the America of the founding fathers—the American that I read about while a boy in Egypt—has evaporated into a fog of elitism and political correctness.
A Rasmussen poll indicated that 85 percent of Americans support the right of the New Mexico photographer to stand by her convictions. But do people’s opinions matter in this age of ruling by executive orders and decrees from the bench? No, because for the most part, the people are asleep and will not stand up for themselves beyond voicing an opinion.
Liberties are rarely snatched away overnight. They are often taken slowly—step by step, item by item, one degree of separation at a time.
And then, when sleepy nations eventually wake up, they discover that all their cherished freedoms have gone down the drain. They find themselves to be like sheep led to the slaughter. It is then that we will discover that the greatest experiment in human freedom since the Garden of Eden has been lost for good.
I grieve when I think about the many men and women who sacrificed life and limb to give us the singular privilege of freedom—a privilege that this MTV generation is recklessly squandering.
How and when shall the sleeping giant wake? Lord, may it be soon.
Michael Youssef, Ph.D., is the founder and president of Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ through the creative use of media and on-the-ground ministry teams. Youssef was born in Egypt.