Dear Friends,

How was it for you? Freedom Day! Did it make any difference? My nightclubbing days are long gone – although ‘The Top Rank’ in Cardiff, & ‘Scamps Disco’ in Newport conjure up happy memories of a misspent youth, (let the reader understand) – and so it was very much ‘business as usual’. All the hype surrounding our new found ‘freedoms’ merely trivialises what is (or should be) a profound, basic, necessary and fundamental right of each one of us…On January 6th, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the United States Congress. His speech concluded with his enunciating ‘Four Freedoms’…

  • Freedom of speech and expression
  • Freedom to worship God in one’s own way
  • Freedom from want
  • Freedom from fear

…This was his way of reminding the hitherto ‘neutral’ United States what was at stake if Naziism was allowed to progress unchallenged throughout Europe. When it came to defending such freedom, ‘neutrality’ must never even be considered an option. Roosevelt’s widow, Eleanor, continued to champion the cause for freedom, contributing to the drafting of the United Nations sponsored ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ published in 1948…Addressing students in Paris in the run up to the issuing of the UDHR she said, ‘…People who have glimpsed freedom will never be content until they have secured it for themselves… People who continue to be denied the respect to which they are entitled as human beings will not acquiesce forever in such denial…One of the provisions of the UDHR continues to have a very prescient ring to it, given our present ‘political predicament’…

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and of their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.”

Freedom is at the heart of the Christian Gospel. God in Christ offers the opportunity to be set free from selfish self-centredness in order that we are able to live life as life is meant to be lived. ‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’. (John 8, 36). And there is a long and honourable tradition of ‘Liberation Theology’ – the Church leading the way in guiding people out of poverty, oppression, exploitation, slavery – a Theology which understands the Gospel imperative in terms of every person, without distinction, being able to flourish to the best of their ability. There is more to Freedom than being able to go nightclubbing, and we do well to remind ourselves that this is the case. And so, enjoy the ‘freedoms’ that post July 19th society is now able to enjoy. But don’t confuse them with Freedom, real freedom…

Freedom Day