You might agree with John Pavlovitz or violently disagree.
That’s not the point. But regardless of whether or not you agree with his position, you have to admit that he writes powerfully and clearly. Pavlovitz posted this essay on May 4, 2020.
He is a pastor in North Carolina.
Freedom is an unearned privilege—and you have it.
If you were born here in America you inherited it.
It came with your breath and your birth certificate.
That freedom actually wasn’t free though—it was quite costly and someone prepaid it on your behalf. You never met them and you’ll likely never know their names.
They paid for your freedom in filthy, putrid trenches decades ago and half a world away. They paid it on blackened beachfronts littered with the blood and body parts of strangers. They paid it cold and alone on frozen countrysides, in places their bodies still remain.
Others paid in churches in Birmingham and on campus squares in Ohio and in streets of Chicago.
Generations of Americans sacrificed family and future and body and breath, so that you could be pulled from the birth canal nestled in the warm embrace of the easy liberty you’ve come to believe you deserve.
Which makes it all the more tragic and shameful how little regard you have for that freedom now, how much you’re squandering it in these eight long weeks you’ve decided are too much for you to bear and constitute an assault on your personal liberty:
You’re complaining because you’re a little late getting your roots dyed and because your lawn is dying.
You’re screaming in the face of police officers because you want to go to Golden Corral and get your nails done and have a barbecue.
You’re descending on capitol buildings with high-powered weapons, because it’s demanding too much of you to save someone else’s life by just staying home.
You’re threatening grocery store workers because you’re being asked to simply cover your nose and mouth with a tiny piece of cloth while grocery store shopping—and that feels like oppression to you.
What a stupid, selfish waste of the freedom people paid so dearly for.
What a middle finger to those who gave everything.
What a squandering of the gift that is this nation.
Your courageous, selfless forbears were asked to fight and die on foreign soil in order to save other American lives—and they did.
They braved bombs and bullets to perpetuate this place where liberty resides and you were generously handed.
In times of war, people here went without for years in cause of the soldiers who were preserving the democracy we were born into.
Activists here gave up security and safety for your right to vote and marry and to live unfettered by tyranny.
Today, you’re being asked to simply stay home to accomplish the same noble task and you can’t manage that. You are interpreting your temporary and fleeting inconvenience as perpetual persecution—that’s how soft and sad we’ve become, how small our battles now are, what we see as worthy causes.
That’s the way freedom works, though. No one gets to tell you how to wield it, or what merits your indignation, or what is worth your outrage.