Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Apparently, in addition to steak sandwiches, Philadelphia is also known for other rich histories.
It was interesting to juxtapose a visit to Gettysburg and Philadelphia on subsequent days. In Gettysburg, we stood at the scene of a three-day bloodbath where Americans fought Americans over complex differences in ideals, not the least of which was freedom. Eighty-seven years before that bloody three days, the bell had tolled in Philadelphia, to announce the public reading of the United States’ Declaration of Independence. The bell had been cast in England, yet another 25 years earlier, and inscribed with Leviticus, 25:10.
Greg came away from the bell having read the info that said no one knew why Leviticus was chosen as the inscription, and asking is it too much to assume that possibly they understood the concept of Jubilee and that a reference to consecrating the 50th year and announcing freedom, was something they believed in?
My mind zeroed in more specifically on the words, “and all the inhabitants thereof.” I’m wondering if any of us actually want freedom. It seems that everyone else’s freedom rudely infringes on my own. What I really want is freedom for myself, and heavy regulation that will keep anyone from denying me my freedom. Do we realize what we’re saying when we grunt, “liberty and justice for all”?

I wonder if the “liberty” bell began as a symbol of an institution that represented freedom from another institution. At what point do some feel it necessary to demand freedom from the freedom granting institution? Aha! Fast-forward 85 years.
My own state was the first to declare independence from the U.S. shots fired on Fort Sumter occurred right here.
When the inscription was written, I wonder if it declared that we free ourselves from our oppressors, but have no intention whatever to free those whom we oppress. It took another 116 years before slavery was abolished in a country that declared, “proclaim freedom throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.”
I surely don’t mean to sound unpatriotic or cynical. It’s just that I wonder in what ways do
I still squelch the freedom of others while demanding my own. I wonder how many people I pay to own slaves for me so that I can inexpensively live in my land of freedom.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis