“Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to save it. While it lives there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.” Judge Learned Hand, 1944
In order for freedom to thrive, it is dependent on its relationship to virtue and faith. The 3 sides are intricately related and the omission of any element will cause the triangle to collapse on itself.
Freedom requires self-control, training and discipline. True freedom never exists in a culture of self-indulgence. Thus the need for virtue.
Virtue provides the mechanism for individuals to exercise self-restraint. Virtue is needed in both the private and public lives of citizens and especially their leaders. “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families.” John Adams insisted and further states, (that the people) “have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge – I mean of the characters and conduct of their leaders.” Virtue finds its origin and sustainability in faith.
In George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796, he identifies the foundation on which the Republic of the United States of America was created. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.” Religion is necessary to achieve true joy and happiness. Religion leads us to serve others, not ourselves. The practice of faith leads to an honest people.
Taking this discussion full “triangle”, practicing one’s faith requires freedom to do so. Freedom of religion allows us to speak freely in our churches, run businesses that honor our beliefs, serve others through hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, food programs, pregnancy resource centers, disaster relief services, evangelization and serving in the public square.