The Sound of Freedom?


Just a few somewhat rambling thoughts regarding the happenings in the Middle East and Madison, but also about those which happened in 18th century France and Colonial America. The thought was prompted by hearing a sound bite on the radio today while driving—it was a promo clip for NBC news (I think). The reporter was standing in the middle of a crowd of protestors (or at least that’s what the audio suggested) and made a statement like, “This is the sound of freedom.” That statement caught me off guard because there have been plenty of uprisings that weren’t genuinely seeking and certainly did not result in freedom. Obviously, some have, but others have produced only anarchy. Some, like the Bolshevik Revolution, have been deliberately provoked in order to impose totalitarianism. It is extraordinarily naïve to think that protest is always driven by noble ambitions.

Perhaps I was primed for this audio clip by the fact that I watched the movie Luther with two of my sons last night. One of the tensions presented in the movie is Luther’s stand against Rome’s corrupted theology and power and the Peasants’ War of 1524-25 which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 100,000 people. Luther’s was a principled stand against religious tyranny, but it seems to have been seized on by others to advance anarchy.

I am not sure if there is an easy way by which to tell the difference between the “sound of freedom” and the sound of a mob, but I am pretty sure the results usually tell the tale clearly. Change which is driven by noble ideas yields lasting results, not chaos (or peace at the point of a gun). People merely bent on destroying the existing order seldom are operating by a superior set of principles. Sometimes their anger is justified, but their tactics seldom produce real change. Like a song from my youth says, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

Just about anybody can stir up a mob up to do some damage and tear some things down. But that is not the sound of freedom. For the sake of the gospel, I hope and pray that freedom comes to more nations in the Middle East. For the sake of the gospel in our nation, I hope people see the difference between promoting ideas and promoting unrest. And, for the sake of God’s work, I hope believers can see the difference between reformation and revolution.

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