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Private property vs. freedom

In a letter several days ago, a writer commented that “Private property is the essence of freedom … ” He went on to quote from the Gospels, though I admit I didn’t see the connection between the quote and the subject matter.

I found this curious and wondered where he got the idea that private property is the essence of freedom. I have known many people who owned little or no private property and yet were free of spirit, heart and mind. I’ve known others whose ownership of private property made them miserable as they slavishly tried to guard it. The Gospels the writer quoted say nothing of private property being the essence of freedom. In fact, they seem to support the idea that an important freedom is freedom from property. “Sell all that thou hast,” says Christ, “and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”

This same Christ has His own definition of the essence of freedom: “… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31, 32)



It would seem, if we use the Gospel as guide, that our freedom lies in our attention to and understanding of the words of God. And as I recall, the chief word Christ left to us was: Love one another.

If we do this, how much room in our hearts is there for distrust, hatred and the disunity and paranoia they cause?




Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Grass Valley


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