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Religious freedomMaddi Gillel

“Self-government involves self-control, self-discipline, an acceptance of and the most unremitting obedience to correct principles.   Its demands are commensurate with its high privileges.  Duties are the inseparable companions of rights.  No other form of government requires so high a degree of individual morality . . .  

Before we import despotic principles into our own land, which are so raucously clamoring for admission, we would better count the costs.” (Albert E. Bowen)

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Thomas Jefferson)

I wonder how many people realize what principles are.  Does it matter if we violate them?  Webster’s Dictionary defines principle as: ‘ a comprehensive or fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption; a rule or code of conduct.’ 

Some of the many principles which we know are critical to our integrity as individuals and a nation are: Industry (love of and ability to work), honesty (no stealing, lying or cheating), virtue (conformity to a standard of right, a particular moral excellence), chaste (innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse – within marriage only – , decent, pure), benevolent (kind, generous, non-jealous), devout (believing in God and faithful to Him) – you get the idea.  There are about 200 or more principles.

We have all, in our lives, been unkind or lazy or dishonest or heathen, but after trial and error, we hopefully realize what it is that gives us happiness, peace, and a feeling of accomplishment and direction.  Unfortunately for our society, Hollywood continually gives the impression that we can be un-principled and still be happy, loved, sexy, rich, admired, etc.  Therein lies the conflict between what we’re trying to teach our children and what they see over and over again in movies, television and magazines.  Being parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors, requires continual work to undo Hollywood’s influence. I believe that many in our culture want to be admired, respected and loved, and yet there are no examples (or not many) of how to become that way.

A taste for a good and decent life can be attained by reading good books- with heroes and principles throughout-  outdoor activities, work, developing talents,  giving service, and study.  We can do these things with those around us as much as possible and hopefully spread the good word of principles.

Our mom was born in 1925, when the high water mark was way up there.  She not only grew up in such a society, but she grew up in a small town in a rural area so there was extra support for principles.  She has always been a pillar of strength in our family, as well as in the neighborhood and town. She’s now 87 years old and is still influencing and encouraging her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She is a calm, loving, wise and generous woman.  We all love to be around her.  I believe that her example encourages us to be principle-centered, even in a world that has sold out.

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