Residents most thankful for freedom of religion
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 04, 2013 | 1446 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hearing voices of liberty
ANNA EVANS, from left, Jessie Conner and Helen Conner say they value the freedom of religion they have in the United States. Banner photos, JOYANNA WEBER
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Of the freedoms guaranteed in the United States, freedom of religion is among those for which local residents are most thankful.

Those interviewed at Bradley Square Mall listed these and a few others among the freedoms they hold most dear.

“What I think about freedom … I’m thankful for the freedom of religion, ’cause there are some places where you don’t really get that opportunity. They just kind of force it on you,” said Anna Evans.

Religious freedom also tops the list for Harvey Harkins.

He said even compared to some other countries that have religious freedom, the United States has more liberty.

Harkins said he feels in some countries there is toleration of other religions but one major religion can have a lot of power, sometimes too much.

The right to vote was also near the top of his list.

For Linda Kidwell, freedom is “being able to choose what you do with your life … because that’s not true everywhere else.”

Kidwell chose to be a school teacher for 36 years before retiring. (She now works at Belk).

“It’s the freedom to do what you want. It’s America,” William Freeman said.

For him, the right to bear arms is near the top of freedoms to treasure.

“It’s a heritage. It’s always been handed down from our forefathers, our Founding Fathers,” Freeman said.

Freeman is an avid hunter and served in the U.S. Coast Guard in coastal Texas for two years.

“I love fishing, camping, all those things. You probably couldn’t do that [in some other countries with a seven-day work week],” Freeman said.

Freedom of religion is also important to him.

He enjoys the freedom to travel, as well.

“I’ve been all over the place, and Tennessee is home,” Freeman said.

Seven-year-old Chase Frank of Polk County is glad this Independence Day that he has the freedom to choose the sports he plays. Baseball and football are his favorites.

For the Conner family, enjoying the freedom of religion and choosing a vocation and freedom to travel combine at the top of their list, as they perform as part of “God’s Way Quartet.”

Jessie Conner, who handles booking and social media for the group, said “being able to travel and sing because we’re a gospel group” is an important freedom.

Helen Conner said her husband formed the group “to do something for the Lord.”

The group has been traveling for three years.