Gutless or Good Citizens?

So, apparently, in some circles, even Christian ones, it appears to be a sentiment that if we do not stand up to the government and congregate in assemblies larger than 10 that we are somehow weak, spineless robots. Gutless wonders, afraid to defend our church and our right to lawfully assemble. They’re wrong on a couple of different levels. See both Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:12 – 17 for a couple of examples.

As Christians, we are commanded to be good citizens of whatever country we belong to. We are also supposed to be examples of the believers. A lot of people misquote or misread that scripture to say an example to the believers but that’s not what it says. “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”(1Ti 4:12) The word conversation here and the above referenced 1 Peter 2:12 is more along the lines of citizenship and your behavior everywhere rather than merely talking to someone.

“But,” someone might say (and has said), “You don’t understand, they’re trying to destroy the First Amendment of the Constitution!” Well, maybe if you lightly gloss over it, you could say that. After all, it does say that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” But are they really infringing on this right? Or, are they, rather, trying to protect the public from itself?

I could potentially see their point if the governor had said, “Oneness Pentecostals may not assemble together but other churches, restaurants and taverns can.” But restaurants, bars and even libraries are closed (Apropos of nothing, there used to be a place in my hometown called the Library Bar). “Only synagogues and Methodist churches may be open.” No. Nothing like that. It is only a temporary thing that we are being asked to do. This lockdown is not good for anyone, especially the government. It’s no good for any of the countries that are doing it and it is especially not good for the politicians. On that last part I can only address my own country, state and city, but it’s not good politics for either honest or crooked politicians. There’s no money in it. That may sound cynical on the surface, but by money I guess I am referring to anything that could be counted as gain. The politicians have the tightest rope to walk, balancing between when they were/are fighting to protect the people versus fighting for the people’s rights. If they slip up, they won’t get re-elected and someone else will take their seat.

But what if this were the beginning of persecution? What if we were forbidden to meet? I’ve read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs a couple of times and I think there was a lot of backbone in them that I wonder, if someone, somewhere has to stand in their pulpit and name-call other preachers, are they made of the kind of stuff that could stand up to a lion? Nero would take the early Christians and wrap them in wax shirts, tie them on a stake and set them on fire, unless they denied their faith. They quit putting the Christians in the Colosseum with the lions because they would run up to the lions, knowing their reward would be waiting on the other side after suffering some physical pain, but also knowing they were not suffering like Jesus had suffered. There were stories of people, not Christians, who would be so moved by the bravery and faith of these people that they would jump in with them, just to have the privilege to die next to them.

I guess that I felt aggravated by this name-calling and just wanted to vent my spleen a bit. I consider myself a good, law-abiding citizen and try to live my faith and just don’t appreciate being treated that way by someone who doesn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain.

I’m proud of my pastor for trying to be a good example and obey the law; trying to teach others to do the same.

14 Comments

  1. The closing of the churches is perhaps one of the most curious developments of this whole thing. To mandate social distancing is one thing. To say you can’t practice your faith is saying something else entirely. I like that services have gone online, but for some faiths that’s not really good enough. Being a Catholic, for instance, and attending mass means receiving communion. There’s supposed to be a blessing that’s allowed to replace it, but it’s not really anywhere near the same. This is a massive disruption. The whole point of it is replicating the Last Supper, and you can’t do that by viewing mass online. We’re still at the point of reassuring everyone. The outrage hasn’t even begun. This is going to ripple for a long, long time…

    • Oh, I definitely agree that the outrage hasn’t even begun. Yes, I expect that for Catholics especially that it would be hard. Wow.

  2. I don’t think that anyone standing up for their rights and their faith are gutless, but only good citizens. I will admit that it would be hard to against penalties like they had back then- lions, fire…I’m wouldn’t be afraid of dying, I’d be afraid of suffering before I died.

    • Yes ma’am, I agree. It is also our right and duty as Americans, at the proper time, to question the government, as well.

  3. Hmmm…well, there are things to consider before wading right out into the middle and letting go full blast, that’s for sure.

  4. For sure. I’m back and forth on wading into this thing whole hog and letting people know what I really think, haha. I have written some arguments that may or may not be compelling, but I’m honestly a little nervous about blasting them out in the internet.

  5. A lot of people I talk to are saying if this goes on too long they’re going to get really worried. I think that’s reasonable. Here in Wisconsin the Governor has said that he will not open anything up until he has 1000 people tracking the location of everyone in the state through cellphone data. I’m concerned about that. My concern doesn’t mean that I’m ignorant about what’s going on in the world. I’m just concerned.

    • I htink it’s an intelligent concern and he would be wise to address people’s concerns and not just blow them off or pay them lip service. tracking people that way is no light thing.

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