At the risk of coming across as slightly pedantic, I’d like to offer a bit of a lesson as we enter into the last days of June and, thereby, prepare for the upcoming celebration of our nation’s birth.

The lesson? Words mean something.

All words have definitions. Words like green and gay, left and right, up and down, good and evil, change and choice, and even male and female, all have objective meanings.

As thinking human beings, we do know the definition of these words and we also, intuitively, know something else. Changing and manipulating the meaning of words is called something — it is called lying. And lying about words and with words — turning them upside down and reversing their meaning — always brings negative consequences. As Isaiah said, “woe unto him who calls bitter sweet, and sweet bitter.”

Let’s take, for example, the left’s fight against Barronelle Stutzman, the flower shop owner from the state of Washington.

It doesn’t take an eighth-grade education to see the progressive cry against this sweet grandmother for what it truly is — self-refuting nonsense at its worst. Waving a rainbow banner of “tolerance” while claiming you can’t tolerate Mrs. Stutzman’s intolerance is anything but a principled argument. Any school boy can see that this rant is really more about tyranny and power than it is about love and acceptance. Shouting, “You must agree with us! You must celebrate everything we do! You must believe everything we believe! You must watch and you must applaud!” while claiming to be a champion of “diversity” and “inclusion” makes you a posterchild for contradiction more so than for coexistence.

Those fighting against Mrs. Stutzman prove themselves over and over again to be much more interested in fascism than they are freedom.

A fasces was a Roman bundle of sticks bound together so tightly that its strength could not be broken. Today’s progressive-fascists are, likewise, an unbreakable bundle of power. They are a group of people bound together tightly in unbroken compliance. No dissent. No differences. No diversity. The call to arms of these modern-day Jacobins? “You must submit!”

So, as we approach this year’s 4th of July, stop for just a second to reflect on Mrs. Stutzman’s case and ask yourself a few simple questions.

Ask if you think the government should ever have the power to force a Jewish owner of a meat-processing business to butcher pigs.

Ask if the government should be able to force the Muslim owner of the local newspaper to print Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

Ask if the government should be able to demand that an Anglican owner of a convenience store sell bread and wine to a Satanist church for a mock Eucharist.

Ask yourself if the government should ever have the power to force an order of nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor to buy an insurance product that includes abortifacient contraception. Sidebar: The Little Sisters are Catholic, my land. They are nuns. They are celibate. They don’t want, nor will they ever use any contraception, let alone that which induces abortion. Shouldn’t these ladies have the right to make their own decisions about what pills they do or don’t want, and how in the world is it possibly pro-women to suggest otherwise?

Now in case you missed the above obvious rhetorical points, there is one question foundational to all of them:

Do you want to live in a nation ruled by government-imposed syncretism or one that enjoys freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of speech, and the freedom to live your life in accordance with the dictates of your faith, even if those around you might disagree?

Forced agreement is ideological fascism. It is not intellectual freedom.

The first line of defense for a free people must be to define our words properly. As it has been said, “he who defines the words, wins the debate.”

Free people call fascism by its true name.

Free people fight against tyranny.

Free people don’t impose themselves upon others.

People who truly understand the meaning of the word “Freedom” are those who stand for the rights of women like Mrs. Stutzman, as well as Mormons, Methodists, Muslims and Jews, to run their businesses and live their lives in accordance with the doctrines of their religious faith.

This is the true definition of freedom and anything that falls short of it is its antithesis.

Free people are those who truly know the meaning of the word “freedom” as it is defined by only man in human history who is called The Word —

“You shall know (i.e. accurately understand and define) the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”

• Everett Piper, the former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is a columnist for The Washington Times and author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).

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