Weekly Blog: Catherine Beaumont - Freedom In a Time Of Covid
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Posted on: 8th July 2021

 If I speak in the tongues [a]  of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a
resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)

The government plans to ‘restore people’s freedoms’ by lifting Covid Restrictions from July
19th. Covid precautions will become a matter of personal choice and we are encouraged to
‘exercise judgement’ as we learn to live with the virus.

As something bestowed upon humanity by God, I would not be comfortable curtailing the
freedom of anyone. I also believe that freedom involves accepting responsibility for the
consequences of our freely chosen actions, and that throws up problems with Covid
precautions, as it does with many other areas of life.

If it is true that we wear masks to protect others, rather than ourselves, then it is others
who will bear the consequences of our choices. Businesses will be able to choose whether
or not to continue the practice of working from home, but consequences of choices freely
made by business owners and managers will be borne by the workers who may not be given
a choice.

This throws up the age-old question: Should the principle of freedom be stretched to giving
people the liberty to hurt each other? If God has allowed me that freedom, should I not extend
it to others?

God does give us the freedom to act as we please, but the bible teaches that all actions should
be driven by, and shaped by, love. When freedom is exercised without love, people get hurt
and we then find it necessary to curb freedoms by introducing rules and prohibitions. We
have seen this in the areas of safeguarding, discrimination, financial management and,
increasingly, freedom of speech. When it is bureaucracy rather than love that protects the
people we serve, we are living under law rather than grace.

There is a movement to make the workplace more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
Although we have had equality legislation and policies for a long time, they haven’t been
able to prevent the exclusion of minorities from many career paths. People are beginning to
talk about setting targets and enforcing inclusion, and if this made our organisations more
inclusive, it would be a good thing, but it would also mean inclusion and equity came as a
result of law rather than grace: obligation rather than love.

We have a small window of opportunity to demonstrate love to the excluded before we are
compelled to by law. Christians in all fields of work should be leading the way on this
thereby reflecting the God of love and inclusion we profess to serve.

Let’s take every opportunity to practice and model love for others as the motivation behind
all we do. It might just catch on, and that would lead to a safer world in which to allow
people freedom of choice.

 If I speak in the tongues [a]  of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a
resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)

Catherine Beaumont

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