It’s one of those things we take for granted, because it’s always been part of our lives – but only since 1791 when the First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified.
James Madison and George Mason, the men credited with writing the Bill of Rights, must have realized how important free speech would become to the new republic, so they made sure that the First Amendment stated that freedom clearly:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
It is this freedom that allows me to post this blog and write whatever I feel – as long as I don’t slander anyone or commit an act of treason.
It is this freedom that feeds my creativity so that when I type out the story in my head, I know it can be submitted and published without fear.
It is this freedom that helps me appreciate all the publishers, agents and editors who work so hard to make sure that writers tell the absolute truth with the most effective words.
It is this freedom that warms my soul every time someone asks me what I do and I reply, “I work as Program Director and Life Coach at a women’s ministry and that is what I do. But a writer – that is who I am.”
It is this freedom that allows me to question when someone speaks or writes a sentence I might not agree with. Analyzing and digging for the truth is also who I am as a writer and to not have the right to disagree would be appalling.
It is this freedom that I salute every time I finish a manuscript and send it through cyberspace – hoping that someone somewhere will see my words and be moved in some way, perhaps even to the point of taking action and finding hope.
It is this freedom that gives me the right to say, “Thank you” to my readers and respond when my words bring comments.
It is this freedom that keeps the libraries and the bookstores open, feeding the dreams of young boys and girls who want more than anything else to become writers.
And it is this freedom that allows us to cherish the oldest and longest-selling book, the one manuscript that has been on the best-seller lists over and over and continues to sell in its various versions, dialects and languages. The truth sets us free, and the freedom to read the Bible is still one of our greatest treasures.
Be grateful for the freedom to write what you feel and what stirs your creative juices. And celebrate the freedoms of America.
©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” http://amzn.to/11QATC1
Image: Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID www.garrisonphoto.org