When Free Doesn't Mean Free

When “Free” Doesn’t Mean Free

Several years ago, some friends invited me to join them for the home opener of the newly crowned (again) Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Going through the front gate, we were each given a “free” Steelers poster to be decorated with stickers that could be purchased at local grocery stores. When I calculated the cost of filling my poster with pictures of Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, and the like, it came to well over $40.00.

Whoever said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” had a pretty good point. Sometimes “free” doesn’t really mean free. Sadly, this reality is becoming increasingly relevant to the constitutional freedoms of the United States of America.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Due to the controlling nature of humanity, freedom comes at a steep price. Those who go to war generally understand these things, often paying an extreme price so that others might reap the benefits.

When Joe Kennedy enlisted in the U.S. Marines, he thought he was sacrificing his own comfort—and possibly his life—to fight for freedom.  But sometimes “free” doesn’t really mean free.

Having retired from the military after 20 years of faithful service, assistant football coach Joe Kennedy is now in hot water with the Bremerton (Washington) school authorities for supposedly illegal behavior: praying after football games.

After a game, the coach will walk to the 50-yard line, thank God, and kneel to pray. He doesn’t do it to attract attention, and he doesn’t ask anyone to join him. But others do.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for a large group of players and staff—some of whom aren’t Christians—to voluntarily gather together. Even those from the opposing team will often join in, revealing a profound sense of unity.

According to school district officials, such seditious behavior conflicts with the constitutional freedoms that Joe Kennedy would have willingly given his life to protect.

I’m not an advocate of trying to force faith on anyone—especially through political means—but when religious freedom isn’t really religious freedom, we have a very serious problem.

Joe Kennedy, you have my respect. If we saw more role models with the courage to set examples similar to yours, perhaps we’d see fewer scenes of carnage from school shootings.