We speak in hushed, quiet tones, hypersensitive of our surroundings - cautious of being overheard. We save any "real" conversations for personal, face-to-face interactions, not wanting our thoughts and plans to be misinterpreted by faceless servants as they sift through intercepted internet and phone communications. We carefully hide our real opinions and convictions, not wanting to draw the attention of the thought police.
Our government has effectively legislated the demise of the 1st Amendment. All three branches of our government have betrayed the people. The legislative branch has passed laws limiting our freedom of speech, the executive branch has signed these unending breeches of our rights into law and the judicial branch has repeatedly upheld laws designed to strip us of our rights. And we have allowed it. We have drunk the Kool-Aid, the Utopian ideal of strengthening the rights of the masses at the cost of the individual. The problem is that without the rights of every single, individual person, there are no rights at all.
We live in a time that I never thought I would witness. A time when speaking out of the conviction of your heart can be punishable by law. A time when believing in and upholding the foundations of our social fabric is considered bigoted and hate-filled. A time calling a sin a sin can get you stoned in the city gates. A time when expressing distrust or dissatisfaction with governmental entities can get you audited, jailed or worse.
But there's more. We now judge people by what they think, not what they do. Once upon a time, our citizens were presumed innocent until proven guilty. Not anymore. Now, our government is listening to our conversations, reading our mail and taking it upon themselves to determine if our thinking is dangerous - seditious. We are encouraged to tattle on our neighbors and monitor our friends. We are told that if "we see something" we need to "say something" - "they" will know how to interpret the facts, they just need us to be their eyes and ears.
And now we cower. Our servants have become our masters. Our thoughts are not our own.
I would love to be able to blame the corrupt state of our nation on our leaders, but I cannot. It is us. We have chosen not to think, not to believe that our sins would catch up to us. We have chosen safety over freedom and our rights over the rights of others. We have asked for our government to make life "fair", to subdue the playground bullies and to take care of our needs. They have complied.
And now they have us where they want us. Dependent. Compliant. Subservient.
Wake from your slumber, O people. Throw off the shackles of tyranny. Speak what you believe. Stand firm. Shout from the roof-tops. Never, never be ashamed of speaking God's truth. Our nation depends upon it.
"Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand."