By Miguel Moreno
Thanks to the written or spoken narratives, we are transported to distant times and places. This set of written or spoken narratives is what we call human history. In this history, we find many things that make us proud of who we are, as we find things that confuse us and cause us some pain. We feel ashamed to know that there have been people and towns who have lived in oppression; but in that same story, we find people who did everything possible, everything in their power to remove and destroy situations that did not allow humans to live in freedom.
God created us free and wants us to live like that; therefore, freedom is a gift from God, and like all gifts from God, we must care for and protect our freedom, so that nobody or nothing can take it away.
Now, more than ever, we must cherish our freedom because there is a whole system that may force us to lose our freedom, without us being aware of it. For example, some TV shows make us worry about fictional situations and people, instead of our neighbor or our neighborhood suffering any pain. I’m remembering right now someone who called his friends and even called me to vote in favor of this or that person in a television contest. Of course, the person who called didn’t even know the individual in the contest. However, this same person who called did nothing to prevent one of his neighbors from being taken from his home for not having the means to pay rent. What does that have to do with freedom? Some people live chained to unreal situations and don’t realize what is happening around them!
On the Internet you can find videos of people that have been beaten, injured, hurt, or who have fallen or had an accident (painfully, some died) because of using their cell phone at a time when they shouldn’t have. The fixation on technology (not to be misunderstood as bad) makes us lose touch with reality and is one of the most subtle forms of losing our freedom. Why does using a cell phone or a computer engage my freedom? Anything that causes us to lose touch with reality, that absorbs and eliminates our environment, is taking away our freedom.
Many of our teens, youths and some adults are caught up in video games, which are becoming more violent, bloody. In those games, there is no room for surrender. I asked a group of teenagers playing video games if I could arrest someone or have prisoners of war (because almost all video games are war-related). They said no. Then I asked them, somewhat jokingly and a little seriously, who is going to tell the parents of the deceased that his son died in combat? Who is going to tell the wives and children of the fallen that her husband or father is not coming home? Then, they look at me in disgust and say almost in unison: “It’s just a game!” (In these times, killing is just a play on the minds of many of our own.)
The worst slavery is the one that has no visible chains, but mental chains.
There was a time in human history when they took over the bodies of others and forced them to do what they did not want. We already know a lot of those stories. Today, we try by all means possible to take the thought, the mind of human beings to force them to do what one way or another they wouldn’t do.
What traps us? What enslaves us? What does not allows us to be free?
Remember, God has made us free. Do not let anything or anyone snatch up this gift of God. We shall defend the gift of freedom!
(Moreno is coordinator of multicultural ministry for the Diocese of Davenport.)