Freedomia Rules

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Freedomia -- land of the blessed. Fasten your seatbelts for landing.

Freedomia Rules
By Angela Rasch

Tires squealed and the plane lurched slightly as we touched down on the tarmac, in the sweltering heat, of southern hemisphere summer.

I would enjoy the opportunity, to work on a tan, given the sub-zero temperature I had left behind, in Chicago. I already regretted wearing a wool suit. Even though I had bought it at Macy’s, the jacket seemed a bit mannish and clashed with a skirt that allowed my knees to peek out.

Of course, as a pre-op transsexual, I too could be termed a bit mannish.

“This story is perfect for you,” my editor had said with a malicious grin. He hadn’t been happy when the paper’s human resources people hired me, without his consent. Outside of a corporate attorney and the V.P. of human resources, my editor was the only person, at my new job, to know of my transitioning.

I had moved four hundred miles and created a new career, to put my past behind me. “Your perspective on certain issues will bring verve and tension, to a story about Freedomia.”


I looked around the cabin, of the airplane, at my fellow travelers.

Many had opened their in-flight Bibles, once we lifted off, on the final leg of my journey. For the next four hours, they kept their eyes glued to the Scriptures. Other than a certain holier-than-thou attitude that might have been just something I was imagining, they seemed to be an average group of people.

“To Hell with the United Nations” blared a headline on the local newspaper at, the first kiosk after our gate. I hadn’t read the story -- but imagined it would be a screed regarding the United Nations’ decision to level sanctions against Freedomia, for civil rights violations.

“Where to, Honey?” the taxi driver asked, with too much familiarity.

To avoid a bias, in my article, I’d skipped the background research I’d normally do. I intended to do that after my trip, once I’d formed an unvarnished impression. I knew that Freedomia’s laws were based on religious beliefs. Nonetheless, his obvious sexist attitude left me momentarily speechless. “Take me to the Bennington, please.”

“Are you meeting your husband -- there?” He asked, in an obvious probe about my marital status. From what I had been able to gather, through minimal reading about this new country, the males in Freedomia out-numbered the females by nearly twelve to one. The divorce rate between couples when the male decided to move to Freedomia, from the United States, had been nearly eighty-five percent.

“I’m traveling alone,” I replied, keeping information about my single life as quiet as my ringless fingers.

“I take people to the Bennington every day,” he said. “Most are new to our grand country and are looking to buy a home. They stay in the Bennington only as long as it takes, for them to close, on a house. I can help make that happen for you, within twenty days.”

He turned, reached over the seatback between us, and handed me a brochure, for a real estate firm. “They’re a good outfit. Someone told me they’re selling nearly a hundred homes a day. Praise the Lord, there’s a lot of people, who want to live in Freedomia.”

I involuntarily squeezed my knees together. The secret between my legs could land me in jail, or worse. I had never experienced any difficulty passing for a woman. Not once in the last five years, since I had been living as a woman fulltime, had anyone given even the slightest indication of suspecting anything.

But Freedomia had achieved a reputation for its anti-trans laws.

My editor hadn’t given me a real choice. He said I could take the assignment, or he would demote me, to copy editor.

I loved writing for the paper and the freedom, to report, on issues I felt were important. I wasn’t about to let one jackass, in his ivory tower, ruin that for me.

As we drove from the airport, to my hotel, I was struck by how much similarity there was between Freedomia and the United States. More than enough McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizzas, and other franchises “graced” their streets.

My eyes stumbled when they saw a sign, for a store called 21:7. “Don’t they mean 24/7?” I asked.

“I don’t understand,” my driver answered, clearly baffled, by my question.

"Shouldn’t the sign on the store say 24/7? You know. They’re open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”

He gasped. “Are you crazy?”

I looked at his license, displayed on the dash where a radio would have been, in most cars. “Paul,” I said, hoping I could start to gather information for my article, by getting him to talk. “My doctor tells me my mental health is just fine.”

He didn’t laugh. “No one in Freedomia would be stupid enough, to work on the Sabbath. We honor Exodus 35:2. I, myself have had the distinct pleasure of taking part in a public stoning, to execute a sinner, who violated the Sabbath. He claimed he forgot what day it was. Can you imagine?”

I shuddered. It was one thing to have heard a little about the laws, in this new form of government based on Holy Scripture -- but quite another experience, to have someone talk so eerily about lethally throwing rocks at another human -- meting out punishment, for working on Sunday.

“That store you asked about,” he said as he slowed for a red light. “The one with the 21:7 sign -- is where you go to purchase someone’s daughter. You’re a Believer, aren’t you?”

“Of course.” I had been prepared for that question. My faith was strong, but not to the degree of fanaticism I expected to encounter.

“Then I will remind you of Exodus 21:7, which provides the right, to sell your daughter, into slavery.”

I stifled a yip of protest. My marriage had not produced any children and since we had been divorced for five years, probably never would. If I would have had a daughter, I couldn’t imagine what on earth could ever possess me . . . to sell her!

I thought of my older sister and the childhood grief she often had given me. Maybe selling her, for a weekend or two, would have been okay. My smile quickly diminished when I grasped how horribly real the prospect of being sold was, in this strange land.

We had entered the downtown area. I was struck by the number of women on the street dressed in bright red. “Why all the red dresses? Is it a special holiday?”

The driver laughed in that superior way I hoped I had never used. “Those women are all being visited by Aunt Flo. Leviticus 15:19-24 demands that we not touch a woman, in her period of menstrual uncleanliness. Women here must let the men know by wearing red. Look — if it’s your time of the month, I can take you to a store, so you can buy suitable clothing.”

“That won’t be necessary,” I said, trying not to sound too indignant.

As we continued toward the motel, the driver spoke of upcoming sporting events and the weather. For that brief period, everything seemed normal.

Stepping from the cab, a sharp odor caused me to blink. “Ewww. What’s that smell?”

“Someone is sacrificing a bull, on their home altar. Around the holidays, we actually get smog from all the bull-burnings. I usually travel to the outlands, to fulfill my Leviticus 1:9 duties. But too many -- simply don’t care.”

I checked in, without further problem. After a four-hour nap, I woke famished and went down, to a restaurant, on the second floor.

A young man who introduced himself as “Curt” provided a menu. He wore a silver, solid ring on his left wrist that he couldn’t possibly take off.

I was amazed at his commitment to fashion. “That’s a lovely bracelet.”

His look of disgust nearly bowled me over. But he said nothing.

“I’m from the U.S.,” I said hurriedly. “I just came to your country today and will be here the next five days, on assignment, for my newspaper. I don’t know all your customs, yet. If I’ve said something, to upset you, please tell me.”

A single tear trickled down his left cheek. “Slavery, ma’am,” he whispered, through clenched teeth. “I’m a slave.”


“These fools use a Bible passage, Leviticus 25:44, to support their slavery laws. I’m from West Alma. Slavers crossed the border, from Freedomia, into my homeland -- and captured me.”

I drew in a sharp breath and glanced around, to make sure no one was within hearing distance. “The United Nations has an interest in your plight. Things may change soon.”

“Thank you,” he gushed. “It means a great deal to have some hope.”

I smiled. “I don’t really need to look at the menu. All day I’ve been craving lobster.”

He looked at me with shock. “You could be stoned to death, for eating lobster. No restaurant here would ever serve shellfish. The Bible says it’s an abomination. Leviticus 11:10.”

I shook my head and opened my menu, feeling the relief one gets when the brakes work properly. “I’ll have the petite sirloin steak.”

“Good choice.” His grin told me he was pleased, to have saved my life.

“Could I ask you a question,” I asked, again looking around, to assure our privacy.

He nodded.

“You have short hair. Is there another one of those strange laws, about hair? Almost every man I’ve seen has long hair and a full beard.”

“Leviticus 19:27 — because I’m a slave they don’t care if I have long hair or not. But all the male true believers are subject to stoning, if they cut their hair -- or shave their face.”

He reached into his pocket and handed me a pamphlet titled, “Things You Need to Know.”

As I waited for my meal I found that touching the skin of a pig was also a capital offense (Leviticus 11:8), as was approaching the altar of the Lord, if my eyesight was less than perfect (Leviticus 21:20).

The pamphlet told of a farmer who had planted two different crops, in the same field -- and had worn a garment made of both cotton and polyester. His whole town had turned out, to stone him, to death.

I thought of my soon-to-be husband back in Chicago and how I was twice an abomination in the Freedomians’ book.

I beckoned to Curt. When he arrived at my table, I gave him a one-hundred-dollar bill, to cover the meal and his tip. “I’ve suddenly lost my appetite,” I explained, as I rose to leave.

Once back in my room, I hurriedly packed and went to the airport. I would catch the first plane home, to the relative sanity of a world whose inhabitants pick and choose their foolish bias and laws, with a slight bit more discrimination.

The End

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She Like Me
How You Play the Game
Hair Soup
Imperfect Futures
The Handshake That Hides the Snake

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Now that was unexpected

The scary part of this is there are people who really see the bible that way. Unfortunately I know of folks who would move to such a place and think themselves blessed. My humble reaction to that is visualize our Father's sadness in mankind's ability to corrupt biblical writings to justify the most villainous actions. Honestly I was thinking Freedomia was a play on words for Fictionmania.
Thought provoking and nicely written.


Grover said it best. The thing with this story is that it is very scary. Nicely written, with believable dialogue and scenery.

With super love & big as the sky hugs

"If I have to be this girl in me, Then I have the right to be."

"With confidence and forbearance, we will have the strength to move forward."

Love & hugs,

"If I have to be this girl in me, Then I have the right to be."


laika's picture

For all their adherance to the letter of the scriptures, I'll bet you the Freedomians
forgot all about the part where it says:
Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Alas, this is a common

Alas, this is a common misconception, perpetrated by the scholars working on King James' nickel.

The actual word used in the Hebrew scriptures is more specific than the rather generic "kill", and is more nearly rendered in the English "murder" (malice aforethought).

The Byrd's song, "Turn, Turn, Turn", was taken from another place in the Bible - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which starts out:

1 - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

from verse 3:

"A time to kill and a time to heal ..."

A different kind of "kill".

What is *really* interesting (to me, anyway) is that the kind of mentality that would form a "Freedomia" actually serves Satan rather than God. It has its roots in the same ~business plan~ - if you will - that got Lucifer tossed out of Heaven: FORCE everyone to live "perfect" lives - presumably by mind control or disincentives so draconian that only someone truly stupid would dare step out-of-line.

God's plan requires that an individual would have the possibility of failure - winning is meaningless, if you can't lose - and the opportunity to repent.

Okay, gotta stop, this is on the verge of turing into a rant.

Best Regards,


laika's picture

Actually, while the word is a bit vague, I always interpreted this Commandment to mean murder---I guess unconsciously putting it in context of the overall Judeo-Christian ethic---and not some Jainist absolute...

I agree with your observation about who the Freedonians would be serving......Toward the end of the last of the Narnia books, Aslan addressed the issue that people (etc) could be invoking his name vehemenently yet serving the wicked false God Tash, while others with good hearts could be praying to Tash, according to the dictates of their culture, and having their prayers answered by the fluffy Jehovah of that world. I don't know how Biblically sound this is, it is fiction for kids, but it never fails to move me, the mercy he shows to the panic-stricken "heathen" who feared he hadn't gotten the name right and was damned because of it. Christians like C.S. Lewis make Christianity much more palatable to me than the idiot fire & brimstone bunch.

Organized Religion

I am of the opinion that organized religions are basically corrupted abominations that have to be periodically renewed by whatever prophet gets tapped by God. Theocracies are very scary because it gives power to the marginal extremists and the majority will just justify it away as not only acceptable but in fact GOOD. I thank God that I do not live in a Theocracy.

What Went Wrong

TheCropredyKid's picture

The Carpenter Rabbi's original followers weren't all that bad - a vaguely Dionysian cult. Then Saul of Tarsis' grand mal seizure led to0 the Paulist Heresy and Christianity became a rabidly-expansionist Apollonian religion.

One of the main things Christians were persecuted for in Rome was disrupting the religious observances of other groups. Often violently.


Majority Rule

Majority rule is not the same thing as democracy. I first heard this subject discussed in connection with the elections in Iraq, but this story does a better job of illustrating it.

Well, maybe I do remember an earlier aphorism on the subject. It goes something like "Three wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner is not democracy."

This story is a parable for what could happen when religious zealots run a government. In fact, it already happens in many places in the world. Under some versions of religious law, a rape victim is subject to execution.

In other places, majority rule means one ethnic group drives out another, usually with vigorous and plentiful bloodshed.

Take away the civil rights protections of a civilized democracy, and there should be little doubt in anyone's mind about evolution. People quickly revert to tribalism and animal savagery.

I did particularly enjoy seeing the rest of Leviticus being given the same weight as the silly homophobes seem to give some reference to men lying down. Death for Permaprest blends! Death for seven-grain bread! Death for playing football (pigskin)! I mean, if you can't go the whole hog, why bother at all? :-)

I'm glad our heroine escaped that deranged madhouse. That was the only possible happy ending. Thanks for the food for thought.


Frank's picture

We don't live in a democracy, we live in a democratic republic. Representative government (supposedly) and all that..





What I've Heard

Daphne Xu's picture

I've heard certain political factions denouncing democracy as, "Three wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner". The truth is reversed: "Three sheep and a wolf either deciding what to have for dinner, or allowing limited freedom of choice about dinner."

Prey vastly outnumber predators.

-- Daphne Xu

Frightening, yes...

...and not all that far from possible, Jill.

From my experience with the truly religious (not at all vast - some contact with some extremest Dunkers, Amish, and Hasidim; more than a few discussions with some Benedictines and Franciscans) they are not that judgmental of others (although I would recommend against being one's daughter or even son.). Of course I don't know what was in their hearts, but the most aggressive thing any has ever done to me is to say, "I'll pray for you." All of these people make real sacrifices for their beliefs and have removed themselves from the world for those beliefs (this is so, in spite of the stories of fudging, like answering machines just outside the gate of the Amish homestead and such.). I think such commitment does bring peace.

It is the one's who think that two hours in a pew before spending the Sabbath watching football, or keeping some book or symbol at hand, or not knowing what evolution is, is all it takes to give them the right to pick up a stone at will, that are the monster's and the ones to rush to a place like Freedomia. Give up cheeseburgers and be given a permanently clear conscious and the right to condemn; what a deal.

Joy (Don't bother looking in Freedomia, it would be an illusion at best.)

gee, fun place

kristina l s's picture

Um, just where in the Sthn Hemisphere? I'm paranoid enough as it is thanks.

Don't ya just love zealots... makes you all warm and fuzzy having all those decisions made for you; that Leviticus dude has a lot to answer for. The references are true I suppose?

Just a short sharp punch in the guts. I'm with her, back on the plane, fast. Oh and give the editor a swift kick when you get back.


Yes Biblical References Are Correct

Freedomia is located in the Banana Republic, which is just south and east of Bethesda, Maryland on the Potomac river.

Leviticus and Paul both have a lot to answer for, and those who use their words to consolidate power.

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Duck Soup

laika's picture

Oh, THAT Freedomia. I thought you meant the one located
right next to Sylvania, and ruled over by Rufus T. Firefly,
who once said (or sang, actually):
"No one is allowed to smoke, or tell a dirty joke,
and whistling is forbidden...
If chewing gum is chewed, the chewer is pursued,
and in the slammer hidden!
If any form of pleasure is exhibited, report to me
and it will be prohibited!
I'll put my foot down, so it shall be-
This is the land of the free!"

But unfortunately, unlike Groucho's wacky dictatorship, the people living
under religious tyranny----Islamo-fascism, Catholo-fascism (back when),
Scientologo-fascism (just wait!)----aren't exactly yucking it up...

Actually ...

... that was Freedonia in the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup, which caused a bit of a stir when the residents of the city of Fredonia, New York protested the film. They feared that the similar-sounding Freedonia would hurt their city's reputation.

The Marx Brothers, with all the chutzpah at their command, responded with, "Change the name of your town. It's hurting our picture."



"Of course ...

"... in Alabama, the tusks are loosa." *grin*



joannebarbarella's picture

Different religion, same result. Funny how women always seem to get trodden on.


erin's picture

As a cautionary tale, this one is a caution. Good stuff that should have a wider read.

- Erin

= Give everyone the benefit of the doubt because certainty is a fragile thing that can be shattered by one overlooked fact.

Freedomania is not

America or Isreal. It is a tyranny where the OLD TESTEMENT rules.
To me, such am abomination is a sin against all that is decent.
GOD never condones such actions that are the culture in this place. This place actually is a cult that has govermental authority. If i have offended, I apologize. I have dealt with cultist before. DO NOT get involved with them. They hate the T.G. even more than the world.

May Your Light Forever Shine

A Number of Misconceptions

If this country was run by such a theoracy a number of things would be different than mentioned in your story.

I shall start with the slave. It is implied in your story he was enslaved illegally. The penalty for illegally enslaving someone is death, as is noted in the martyrology section of the Yom Kippur service. The bracelet would also be banned as only a person who voluntary remains a slave after his or her indentured service is complete is branded by an awl through the ear. He would also have some rights for freedom even if he was not illegally enslaved such as, but not limited to, the right to run away and not be returned to his master.

The penality for having two crops in the same field would be the burning of the crop, not death. The penalty for eating pork, wearing mixed garments is being "unclean," to use the term in King Jimmy, not death. In fact the wearing of cotton and polly is permissable as R. Ishmael said in his rules to interpert Torah, "A general statement followed by a spcific statement is limited to the spcific statement." In this instance only wool and linen together is not allowed, except for the high priest, although some would put a fence around the law.

The bull sacrifice would only be at the Temple. There is not to be an alter anyplace EXCEPT at the Temple. I cannot give you the location of the quote at this time.

Women in such a society are not chattel as is implied in your story, nor are children.

Also it is frustrating to read that the person is quoting, for example, Shamot (Exodus) 21:7 without the phrase that it is refering to. As I am moving and already packed my books away, I could not easily look that information up. Many of us here don't have a Bible and some that do, don't have the Tanach (Old Testiment) as part of it.

Cherrypicking bad cherries

is about as ugly as any hysterical religious reaction.
To argue that slavery is not that bad as it's only a sort of slavery .....
that being punished for mixing materials (which is what occurs in ultra-devout Hassidic communities) is ..... I really don't support your views and can't be bothered to argue further.

The story is about taking an extreme position based on a thing called a 'bible' in order to persecute those who do not 'think right'.
Ugly is ugly.

You're Nearly There

joannebarbarella's picture

In the USA another four years should do it.


Proof positive that religion sucks. Once and for all everybody. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD! Once that logical conclusion is reached then all the crap surrounding religion and faith, falls by the way side.


The Story?

Daphne Xu's picture

I hope that the protagonist had a good-enough memory -- unlike myself -- to write and publish her story, perhaps as a reporter's experience attempting to visit Freedomia.

I wonder, would that headline, "To Hell with the United Nations", be allowed there? Maybe cursing was one of the things not prohibited by the laws. After all, back in that early section of the Bible, "Hell" was down below, and not the Perdition of more recent Christianity.

-- Daphne Xu