“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” – John G. Diefenbaker
This quote was shared in one of my law classes a few weeks ago. I can only imagine the way John Diefenbaker felt when he wrote those words. Perhaps he was worried about the state of his country, and therefore all the more passionate about passing the Canadian Bill of Rights. Perhaps he was proud of the nation he helped govern. As I read these words, I sense a mixture of pride and passion, a combination of satisfaction at the state of Canada at the time and of determination to ensure that Canada remained founded in such freedom.
I wonder what Prime Minister Diefenbaker would think of our nation now.
I am concerned: concerned for our nation and concerned for the security of the lofty ideal we call freedom. Maybe I am too cynical for my own good. But freedom, I am discovering, is an endangered species. Freedom is an invaluable ideal that has been choked by progressives, chastised by political correctness, and condemned by radical ideologies.
I am afraid that John Diefenbaker’s words are no longer as true as they once were. If he were to speak these words today, I fear that they would need the following updates:
“I am a Canadian. I am free to speak without fear, unless my university dislikes what I say. I am free to worship in my own way, unless my beliefs offend someone – then I will be denied the ability to care for children and denied the ability to associate with like-minded individuals. I am free to stand for what I think right, unless I am a pro-life person who gets too close to an abortion clinic. I am free to oppose what I believe wrong, unless I am a pro-life physician who refuses to provide abortion, birth control, or euthanasia & assisted suicide. I am free to choose those who shall govern my country, unless I am a pro-life person trying to run in politics or trying to access state-run employment subsidization programs. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind personkind (but only for those who agree with state-sanctioned secularism and who bow to government ideological coercion on issues like abortion).”
Freedom, you see, is not what it used to be.
There is hope, of course. Students are rallying, lawyers are fighting back, and courageous everyday Canadians are refusing to let liberty be wrenched from their hands. Freedom may be endangered, but it is not extinct.
We must, however, remain vigilant. We must remain alert and attentive, refusing to let distractions destroy our determination.
To those of you who do not care, or to those of you who doubt the severity of the situation, I challenge you to read the words of Martin Neimöller. He knew a thing or two about the dangers of complacency and apathy. You would be wise not to make them your bedfellows mistresses partners.
To those of you who fear, like I do, for the state of freedom in Canada, I encourage you to pray, to fight, to act, to speak, to stand, to remain, and to pray some more. And perhaps, when you hear the national anthem play, do what I do and relish being able to sing that one line just a little bit louder.
May God truly keep our land glorious and free.