Thursday, November 27, 2014

What Are You Thankful For This Thanksgiving?

People around the world are going through incredibly difficult times.  Yet is there something--anything that they can be thankful for?  An article I just read tonight (well this morning since it is already past midnight) reminds us of 15 blessings that we should not take for granted.  One of the points made in the article speaks of freedom of religion.

"The majority of the world's population—75 percent—live in areas with severe religious restrictions. And Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ. About 1.6 billion people in the world live in repressive societies where they have no say in how they are governed."

We are living in the end of the year 2014, and with all the progress that has taken place in the world today, you would think that there would be no more countries where people were treated so poorly and human rights so disrespected.  Yet here in America we see a large minority seeking to increase the repressiveness of our own government.  These people don't seem to understand that governments that have too much control over the people, the institutions, and the businesses in a country have the power to reduce the population to slaves.

There are race riots going on in a city in Missouri called Ferguson right now.  One hundred and sixty years ago our country was in a civil war over race and slavery.  We don't want to see our country return to slavery, however, too many people in this country are not educated enough to know that they are pushing the limits of our government and that if they are allowed to keep this up, all of us could end up slaves to our government.  And if that happens, it won't matter what race any of us is.  We will all be at the mercy of a government with too much power.

The rights we have in America are unique in the world.  Other countries have tried to copy our government and form democratic republics like ours.  Some have succeeded.  But still, the statistics around the world are bleak when it comes to the kind of human rights we have right here in America.  We need to wake up and realize that at any time our government could turn against us and our rights could be taken away overnight.  All it would take would be a few more uprisings such as what is happening in Ferguson for the government leaders to declare martial law.  If that happens, it could lead to another civil war and if that happens, it would be more bloody than the last one.  The American Civil War was between the Northern States and the Southern States.  But this time it would truly be neighbor against neighbor, city against city, state against state.  Because our values and beliefs spread all across this mighty land, values and beliefs that, up until now, we have been able to express freely without fear of reproach, each of us may have values and beliefs that are the opposite of those of our friends, neighbors, and relatives.  We wouldn't know when we walked into work the day after war broke out, if we even had a job left.  We wouldn't know who we could trust and who we should think of as our enemies.  We do not want or need another Civil War in America.  But people are angry and if things don't change, who knows what will happen next?  Our rights are very precious things that none of us should take for granted.  If we do not honor and protect them, we could lose them overnight.

Right now there are terrorist organizations in the world threatening to take over America in the name of Islam and force Sharia Law upon all of us.  For many decades there have been communist countries promising that someday America would also be a communist country.  Unfortunately for all of us, the American school system has not been educating children about the threats of communism and what communism is all about.  While this was something my generation grew up knowing much about, the youth and young adult populations in this country no very little about it.  In fact, they know very little about their own country, including why and how it was founded, and what the Constitution and Bill of Rights says.  As a result, they have very little respect for documents that they believe are nothing more than old pieces of paper that should be done away with.

So, while you are enjoying your Thanksgiving celebrations this weekend, I hope that you will also consider being thankful for all of the rights you have in this country.  Don't take your rights for granted.  I also hope that you will read the full article mentioned above because the other 14 items on the list are things not to be taken for granted as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!