Let’s Celebrate Independence

PAPAS: Let’s Celebrate Independence

By Rev. Paul N.Papas II

Thu July 02, 2009, 05:50 PM EDT

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”

This is a well known part of the document we celebrate its signing this week.

This great country from sea to shining sea may not be perfect….but it is made up of imperfect people. Even the fellow veterans I know agree this is the greatest country on earth. We like to remind people: these colors don’t run!

In this country we have the freedom to address issues in a peaceful manner. This freedom came at a high cost. Many fought and died for our freedom. VA Hospitals are full of my fellow Vets who receive medical care. I am sure they would appreciate a thank you as could all our men and women in the U.S. military.

Yes we still have unalienable rights and I want to address liberty and the pursuit of happiness today, along with safety. If one does not feel safe then they neither have liberty nor happiness.

You should be all you can be.

There was a Bishop of the Church of England who often liked to explain what freedom really means. He came from and was a Bishop to Africa and his story is compelling. He had been kidnapped by slave traders and put aboard a ship to be sold as a slave. A British ship captured the slave-trading ship and returned all the people back to their African homeland.

The Bishop liked to tell people no one knows freedom until it is taken away. No one knows freedom unless you were shackled to other men in the bottom of a ship and have them get sick and die while shackled to you. He had been freed by the British ship and later became a Bishop of the Church of England to Africa. He knew the real meaning of freedom and was not afraid to talk about it.

I would call what happened aboard those slave trading ships torture.

Today there are people being tortured and held as slaves in their own homes.

Today we call it domestic violence. Thankfully there is a lot being done to help the victims, but not enough to stop the cycle. Perhaps the new White House appointment will address that.

Today there are many disabled who are being left out of our protection. People become disabled for many reasons, some from birth, and some by accident. The disabled seem to be on the top of the list when it comes time to cutting funds.

There are some disabilities that evoke empathy and a rush to help. There are some that people would like to hide away.

When was the last time you saw a march, rally or walk to help those suffering from a medical condition of a mental illness being covered by all the media. However if a person who committed a heinous act should is found to be suffering from a medical condition of a mental illness, then that makes headline news.

We still have unalienable rights, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and safety among them. That goes for vets, domestic violence victims, the homeless, and those who suffer from a medical condition of a mental illness to name a few.

Let us all pause and take a moment to remember we’d all like to celebrate our independence together on an even playing field.

The Rev Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (located in MA and AZ), founder of the Family Renewal Center and past President of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Greater Framingham. NAMI Greater Framingham has support groups for family and friends in Framingham and Uxbridge, support groups for consumers in Marlboro and Framingham , and various Education Meetings on the first Thursday evenings of the months from September through May http://www.narrowpathministries.org, http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org, and http://www.namigreaterframingham.org

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