English: The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, 2006.

Liberty Bell, Philadelphia Image via Wikipedia

Freedom bells are ringing today, and not just because it’s the end of the normal work week.

This Sunday is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. This Wednesday was the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman sold into slavery, brought to Italy and eventually freed by the Italian courts when she refused to leave the convent where her owners had left her during their trip overseas. Unfortunately, slavery still exists but organizations like CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking) and CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) are winning the battle, person by person and company by company. Today Trader Joe’s joined the Fair Food Program, which improves the working conditions and protects the human rights of workers who put food on our tables by picking it from the fields. One small step for a popular grocery store, one big step towards a more just world.

One small change in a proposed HHS mandate was also a big victory for religious liberty. The First Amendment enshrines a founding principle of our country: that government cannot tell us what to believe or how to live according to those beliefs. I’m not sure whether it was the 200,000 letters and signatures, or all the mainstream editorials that ran heavily against the mandate, but today the mandate was adjusted in favor of religiously affiliated organizations.

And on a more personal level, freedom reigns in my home again. Earlier this week, my husband fired his boss. Walking away from an abusive relationship is hard and leaving a paycheck behind is scary, but he has courageously done both these things because he knows his rights and values his dignity. Ultimately, that’s what the Fair Food Program and religious liberty are also all about.

It’s been quite a week, so raise your glass and celebrate. Ring some bells while you’re at it!