… Sustaining freedom, according to Os [Guiness], is incredibly rare because freedom is its own worst enemy. James Madison observed that “liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power.” Think about it: The risk of freedom is that when freedom is achieved, it often leads to a sense of entitlement, justifying whatever lifestyle choices we want to enjoy. Unbridled license undermines liberty.
And as Chuck Colson often pointed out, the loss of virtue is the greatest threat to freedom.
The American founders, for the most part, shared the Judeo-Christian understanding of human nature, that man, the most creative and intelligent of creatures, is also fallible; he possesses an insatiable appetite for power. So the founders offered a recipe for sustaining freedom based on an accurate understanding of fallen human nature.
In A Free People’s Suicide, Os Guinness calls this recipe “the golden triangle of freedom.” The critical thing we must understand, Guinness says, is that the three truths that make up this triangle — freedom, virtue and faith — are interdependent.
In other words, freedom requires virtue. Virtue requires faith. And faith requires freedom. If freedom, virtue or faith cease to be central to the American way of life, the most radical and effective experiment in self-government in the history of the world will fail.
That’s why we care so deeply about the HHS mandate, or the Chick-fil-A fiasco, because they reflect the cultural and political trend to push faith from the center of our public life.