So yesterday Boris announced that ‘Freedom Day’ is set to go ahead on 19th July with a plan to end Covid restrictions.
Masks will no longer be mandatory and the requirement for social distancing will end. As a consequence the restrictions on bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres will be lifted. Businesses and offices can fully reopen, limits in care-home visiting will ease….
As is often the case the freedom of one person restricts the rights of the next. My freedom to hold a late-night loud parties restricts the rights of my neighbour to enjoy a peaceful life. If I am free to drive at any speed in my car I threaten the rights of other road users to remain safe and fear-free.
In the case of Covid restrictions there is balancing the freedom to live free from covid restrictions with the right of us all to be protected from infection.
I have never studied politics, but I guess the art of good law-making is about balancing freedoms and rights in an equitable way.
One of the greatest challenges we face is regarding freedom of belief. Certain views on politics, religion, sexuality, ecology, immigration, pregnancy terminations, eating meat or other personal convictions are seen to be unacceptable.
Balancing that there is the issue of freedom of speech. Often we have seen people freely expressing their views on in offensive and hurtful way that causes not only personal grief but often this escalates to civil unrest or violence.
Musing… I realise afresh the wisdom of St Paul’s words: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness self-control. Against such things there is no law.’
There is no law against them because these qualities do not threaten or restrict the freedom or rights of anybody else. Endless supplies of compassion, hope, generosity or service will harm no-one. Living by this code would be a true ‘Freedom Day’.