Tag Archives: civil disobedience

What Is Law?: A Case for Christian Civil Disobedience

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By Heather Walton

We need to follow the law! We shouldn’t disobey the authorities! How can you call yourself a Christian, yet choose not to follow the law?

I don’t disagree with these statements, but I think that often they demonstrate a lack of understanding of the nature of law.

According to William Blackstone, who authored Commentaries on the Laws of England, an inspiration for American philosophy, explained the differences in Natural Law, Revealed Law, and Municipal Law: Natural Law is that which is apparent to everyone, everywhere, for all times, according to conscience. Revealed Law is uniquely available in the Scriptures. Municipal or civil law is man-made and enforced by government.

“Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator … it is necessary that he should, in all points, conform to his Maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature … This law of nature, dictated by God himself, is … superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this.”

William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of england: Book the first.

Simply put, if civil law contradicts natural or revealed law, it is not a valid law and we are not bound to follow it. Blackstone posited that there were three absolute rights: life, liberty, and property. Our founding fathers used this phrase, yet altered the last to be the “pursuit of happiness.”

Likewise, John Locke, believed civil laws were not to contradict God’s laws:

“Human laws are measures in respect of men whose actions they must direct, howbeit such measures they are as have also their higher rules to be measured by, which rules are two — the laws of God and the laws of Nature; so that laws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made.”

John Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government (An essay concerning the True Extent and End of Civil Government), XI: 136, FN2; quoting Richard Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, 1, iii, 9, cf. Locke, Second Treatise, II: 6: XI: 142.

We have laws today that go against God’s laws. For example, allowances for abortion and infanticide, as well as laws allowing for polygamy and same-sex marriage violate both natural and revealed law, and therefore are unjust laws. Christians are justified in not following these laws. If a baker refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple or a minister declines to officiate their wedding, they are justified before God. If a medical professional goes against state law and performs heroic measures on a baby not considered fit to live, or if a bank refuses to open an account for an abortion clinic, they are justified. If a country mandates that families have only one baby, and a couple hides a subsequent pregnancy, they are justified. Many, though not all, Christians would see these as obvious conclusions; however, there are mandates, emergency orders, and laws that do not seem so clear to Christ-followers.

Consider the case of churches being told to shut down or to limit services or sacraments, or not to sing, in order to preserve the public health, even though these practices are mandated in Scripture. What about restaurants and other businesses that are told they must shut down or greatly limit capacity, yet Scripture tells us that if we are to provide for our families? What about the fact that Scripture tells us to avoid favoritism, yet rulers are favoring big businesses and certain industries while disfavoring small businesses and comparable industries? How about the requirements to wear a mask or, eventually, to take a vaccine, for the good of the populace? These issues have sharply divided the country, including the church.

If the German Christians would have discerned the path that Hitler was taking them down. I certainly hope they would have resisted, that they would have engaged in civil disobedience.

We may not be dealing with things that seem so serious as they did when Naziism gained power, but we need to examine whether seemingly innocuous measures could give way to tyranny, totalitarianism, and full-scale depravity. One thing Hitler did was to get control of the press in order to restrict information and direct the narrative. He also controlled education, which is imperative when trying to usher in totalitarianism. Today we are witnessing a complete takeover of mainstream media and public education, one which is intended to drive public thought and to shame divergent thinking into private corners of society. Even in the church, we are seeing an ideological takeover by Marxist proponents who advocate social justice over biblical justice.

Wholesale gaslighting is creating cowardice and shame, as those who stand for truth are painted as bigoted, uncaring, unintelligent, and combative. Whether one questions the narrative of social justice, coronavirus policies, governmental authority, gender identity, or socialism itself, he is assumed to have ill motives and to reject science. It’s enough to make one question his sanity at times! And what’s more, the progressive ideology by nature evolves, so that what was once acceptable no longer is.

“You can never be sure when those in power will come after you as a villain for having said or done something that was perfectly fine the day before. And the consequences for violating the new taboos are extreme, including losing your livelihood and having your reputation ruined forever.

People are becoming instant pariahs for having expressed a politically incorrect opinion, or in some other way provoking a progressive mob, which amplifies its scapegoating through social and conventional media. Under the guise of “diversity,” “inclusivity,” “equity,” and other egalitarian jargon, the Left creates powerful mechanisms for controlling thought and discourse and marginalizes dissenters as evil.”

Rod Dreher, Live Not By Lies

We must remember that most people whom history regards as heroic were not esteemed by the majority at the time. Isn’t the essence of heroism the willingness to do that which the majority refuses? In a culture that praises mediocrity, in which “everyone gets a trophy,” we laud many as heroes who are simply doing what is expected; doing what’s right and noble and difficult is no longer the norm, but the exception, making ordinary people appear heroic. However, when we ponder those whom history holds as heroes, we must consider a higher standard:

HE’ROnoun [Latin heros; Gr. a demigod.]

1. A man of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; as a hero in arms.

2. A great, illustrious or extraordinary person; as a hero in learning. [Little used.]

Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828

One needs to be distinguished or extraordinary in order to qualify as a hero. During the American Revolution, those who were civilly disobedient to King George were considered overly idealistic at best and sinful at worst, yet they believed that they were doing what was right in fighting tyranny. They did it for their fellow man. They did it for future generations. They did it for us. Are we willing to look back through the pages of history at those flawed but true heroes and say, “Thanks, but no thanks. We don’t want the liberty you bought us. We’d rather have safety, health, and prosperity.” I sure hope not!

Taking it a step further, are we willing to look back 2000 years and say to Jesus Christ, who bought us with His blood, “Thanks, but no thanks!”?

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1 ESV

The Apostle Paul was speaking out against legalism. He was telling them that they should not submit to rules that people said were required for salvation. Christ alone holds our salvation in His hands. Those who say that the social justice gospel will save us are heretics. Those who say that the humanist, socialist agenda will save us are apostate. Those who say we must obey a government when it mandates the giving up of fundamental freedoms misuse Scripture to validate their erroneous perspective.

There is clearly a dark agenda at play, one that has progressed for the past 200 years. The itinerary is planned by Satan himself. Let us not forget that he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). The plan is to get all to submit to Satan’s humanistic agenda, which is to get us to think we must be in control, that God doesn’t have the answers, and may in fact, not even exist. When men like Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietsche, Karl Marx, and John Dewey contributed their respective godless thoughts to the socialist equation, they did so in defiance of God, and they were pawns in Satan’s chess game. Today we are seeing the outcome of the devil’s false humanistic gospel — chaos, rampant sin, and the discarding of common sense and virtue.

As Christians, are we truly to sit by and watch this take place and even participate as it does? I think not! Aren’t we called to rescue the perishing, to light up the darkness, to warn of coming destruction? If, in doing so, we have to violate civil law, then so be it.

This world is passing away. We cannot save it. But we can, by the power of Jesus Christ, share His salvation with others. May we do so until we no longer have breath. May we consider hell so offensive that we would not will even one soul to go there without first having heard the Gospel preached and having seen it lived. We cannot entirely serve Caesar and God in this time, and may we never pick the former, or it’s proposed benefits, over the latter. May we say with Queen Esther,

“I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

Esther 4:16b ESV (emphasis added)

Who Among Us Will Stand?

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Audio version of this post

By Heather Walton

NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU SAW HERE

The Holocaust Museum stands as a testament that never again should we allow tyranny to intimidate us into submission to a government that seeks to destroy our fellow man, that seeks to take away our fundamental rights, that sinks headlong into atrocities and unfathomable crimes against humanity.

Imagine if you will that you had seen it coming. What would you have done? History stands as a witness that the German people — the German Christians — should have done more. Yet most did nothing as they witnessed an entire class of people become depersonified, demonized, dominated, and doomed to death.

This didn’t happen overnight, and it shouldn’t have happened at all.

And it mustn’t happen here.

Not on our watch.

Oh, but it’s not, you might say. We aren’t like the Germans before WWII. We would never allow what they did. Not us! We are enlightened. We believe in liberty, justice, and equality!

Do we? How easily will we give it all up for a little peace and safety? For a little prosperity? For a little health?

It would be intellectually dishonest to refuse to consider the implications of our collective consent to the tyrannical measures imposed to mitigate this virus. Indeed, it would be utter denial.

If you read the mainstream media, especially exclusively, you are being deceived. It is nothing but a steady stream of editorials designed to sway you to believe their thesis — that man is both the problem and the solution to the world’s problems, that we can fix what ails us, that there is no God but Caesar, and that we need the government to save us.

My fellow Americans, we have subsisted on a steady diet of propaganda for decades, and we have lost the ability to reason. If we don’t watch out, we will submit to, consent to, and perhaps even commit, terrible atrocities. (In fact, we do already.)

So what should we do? I’m glad you asked!

  1. Read. Research. Reflect.
  2. Consider that the media has a bias and an objective, and ask yourself if it aligns with yours.
  3. Seek out scholarly, peer-reviewed research about things like masks, vaccines, isolation, pandemics, and more.
  4. Consider why the government cares so much about this virus as opposed to others, especially things that cause more harm.
  5. Consider why certain people and activities are targeted and others aren’t. Are there commonalities?
  6. Start conversations. See if others are thinking as you are.
  7. Do the math on the virus. Compare the math to other illnesses and activities.
  8. Read about those who have stood against injustice.
  9. Read the Bible.

Then, if you think something just doesn’t add up, consider engaging in activities that could turn the tide against tyranny.

It doesn’t take much time and effort to call or email your representatives and governing officials. If you want to go deeper, consider how you can educate others and how you might stand up against injustice.

Even though my governor has taken many liberties with our freedom, that doesn’t mean I should submit. Indeed, I have chosen the path of resistance in multiple small ways over the past few months.

What about Romans 13, you ask? I believe many Christians are being shamed into submission by the use of a few carefully chosen verses of Scripture. Yes, we do need to submit to the governing authorities; however, people preach this, assuming that civil government is the highest law. If that is the case, to which civil government, and to which part of civil government do we give the highest degree of submission? The mayor? The governor? The court? The legislators? The president? The U.N.?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Preamble to the Declaration of Independence (Emphasis Added)

According to our founding fathers, a higher Governor gives us our rights.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego agreed:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18 ESV (Empahsis Added)

Not only did these courageous men refuse to comply with Nebuchadnezzar’s edict, but they chose to do so regardless of the consequences. Likewise, Peter and John, when admonished not to preach about Christ, appealed to the ultimate Lawgiver:

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:27-29 (ESV)

Brothers and sisters, do we have such courage? Do we not see that our liberties are sacred, and no matter the rightness or wrongness of the suggested measures to combat this virus, the mandated countermeasures by principle are immoral. For the civil government to interfere with our personal freedoms, and especially our religious freedoms, is unconscionable and the potential consequences are horrifying.

I’m not debating the morality of mask-wearing, though I have made, and continue to make, a case against their efficacy and necessity. However, I am openly challenging the idea that the government is requiring us to cover our faces with cloth. More than that, I’m proclaiming that the government should not interfere with the church, with free speech, and with individual families’ decisions of whom or how many people to have in their homes. The government also should not dictate when people get tested for infectious diseases or demand to know with whom they’ve associated (unless a crime has been committed). And the civil authorities definitely should not be able to forcibly or coercively vaccinate anyone, child or adult, period.

For the civil government to interfere with our personal freedoms, and especially our religious freedoms, is unconscionable and the potential consequences are horrifying.

So I’ll ask again: Do we have the courage of our forefathers and the great men and women of faith throughout the ages? Will we stand against oppression and tyranny? Will we do this for our fellow man? Will we do it for our posterity?

Consider these words from the Declaration of Independence:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness … But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Declaration of Independence (Emphasis added)

Our founders duty-bound us not to accept what is going on in our government today. They call out to us across history, and tell us that, when government challenges our fundamental rights, we should not allow it. They take it a step further, and say that such government must be overthrown! Are we there yet?

We have given in to the lie that Jesus was weak, that the Gospel is emasculated, impotent niceness that doesn’t mess with our daily lives. We forget the Jesus who challenged the money changers and the Pharisees, the Jesus who told Pilate he would have no power unless God allowed it, the Jesus who told us to give what is Caesar’s to Caesar and to God what is God’s.

We have given in to the lie that Jesus was weak, that the Gospel is emasculated, impotent niceness that doesn’t mess with our daily lives.

Our highest allegiance is to God, not to Caesar, and when the two conflict, we can cower and acquiesce to governors and kings, or we can stand with that great cloud of witnesses and defend our rights as God’s image-bearers, not because we are entitled, but because we are morally obligated to stand up against evil for the sake of our fellow citizens and the coming generations.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this:

Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Sermon on II Corinthians 12:9

Consider also that great cloud of witnesses listed in Hebrews 11, men and women who “were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16 ESV).

May we be worthy of that city by being the best caretakers of our God-given liberty as long as He gives us the strength to do so!

The Rise of Socialism and the Case for Civil Disobedience

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By Heather Walton

I have heard Christians say that we should stay completely out of “politics.” As I’ve prayerfully considered this stance, I’ve found it lacking. Instead, my dual citizenship compels me that, in order to truly be heavenly minded, I must also be of earthly good. Just because Jesus is coming, and hopefully coming soon, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be about His business until the very day the trumpet sounds or He takes me home.

My dual citizenship compels me that, in order to truly be heavenly minded, I must also be of earthly good.

Some have said that America is done, past the point of no return, and that we just need to let events play out. While I would agree that it appears that the sun is setting on our beloved republic, and that it is only a matter of time before we willingly submit to socialism, and subsequently join hands with the coming “new world order,” that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up.

Consider the parable of the talents: The master left three servants in charge of various amounts of his wealth. Two servants invested his money wisely and brought a return, and were therefore rewarded. The third, who feared his master, buried the talent apportioned to him, rather than making it work for his master until his return. As a result, he was disinherited and his talent given to another. Only recently did I realize that Jesus shared this parable in the context of end times prophecy. Church, we are not to bury our talents as we await our master’s return! We are to be about our Master’s business until the very last second.

If, instead, we as the church, forfeit the culture war, the war for the very soul of our nation, and the very soul of the church itself, with the excuse that “our citizenship is in heaven,” we should be charged with spiritual treason. He has called us to “rescue those being led to the slaughter,” to hold back evil, to warn the sinner, to admonish the saint, to subdue the earth, to, like our Creator, in whose image we were formed, use our gifts and talents, not to bury them as we await His return. This does not mean our hope is in this world; rather, unless our faith is evidenced by these actions, how are we to draw all men to Him, and ultimately to that eternal reward He desires for them. If the ministers, missionaries, and apostles of old, would have had the attitude that the culture is lost and we simply need to submit to ungodly authority as we await our heavenly Savior’s return, where would the Kingdom of God be today? Would this country even exist?

If, instead, we as the church, forfeit the culture war, the war for the very soul of our nation, and the very soul of the church of itself, with the excuse that “our citizenship is in heaven,” we should be charged with spiritual treason.

Think of men like William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. Think of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men were heroes because they refused to submit to tyranny, and because they instead stood against tyrants on behalf of those who could not stand up or who would not stand up for themselves. They were not necessarily considered heroes by their peers during that time, yet they risked their reputations, their livelihoods, and their very lives for the righteous causes to which they had been called.

“Well, these men were exemplary in their time,” you might say. “They were specially gifted and called by God for those tasks.” Yes and no. We are all plainly called to “love mercy, practice justice, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8), “to rescue the orphan and widow in their distress and to live lives unstained by the world” (James 1:27), and to “rescue those being led away to the slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). These admonitions are for all believers, not a select few. We consider these men to be extraordinary, but only because we have settled for mediocrity in the Kingdom of God. We now view ordinary Christianity as extraordinary, or perhaps even as sin.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”

Isaiah 1:17 ESV

The American church has so watered down the Gospel that countless souls are deluded into the illusion of justification before a holy God; unless we sound the alarm boldly and unwaveringly, their blood will be on our hands.

Perhaps it is because of this watering down that we have bought into such heresies as the social justice gospel, which tells us that man can cure the world’s ills without requiring repentance, easy believism, which gives us Jesus as Savior while neglecting His Lordship, and “open and affirming” faith communities, which deny essential scriptural truths.

We now view ordinary Christianity as extraordinary, or perhaps even as sin.

Perhaps it is because of this watering down that we have believed the lie that we need to keep our faith private and not speak into the culture. That there are two realms — the sacred and the secular. Not at all! Either Jesus is our life and governs every aspect, or we are not alive in Christ at all!

If the Gospel hasn’t changed our lives, we haven’t accepted it, and are not beneficiaries of His grace. This is sobering, as it should be. We are called to examine ourselves in light of the Gospel, and judge ourselves, not by our peers’ actions and reactions, but by the Word of God. If we are not in line with it, if we are offended by it, if we are unwilling to live by it, we would be presumptuous to trust our eternal security.

Do we live our lives worthy of this very Gospel? Does our faith cost us anything? Should it perhaps cost us everything? In attempting to keep our lives, we lose them, but in losing our lives for Jesus’ sake and for His Gospel, we gain an eternal glory to which nothing in this world compares.

We have allowed a stunning degree of apostasy into the church. We have played the harlot with the gods of this world. We have trampled the grace of God with the foulest of sins, and we have failed to reprove — and worse, even given hearty approval to — those who prostitute themselves to an Americanized “grace.” In doing so, we have baptized converts into the very gates of hell. For this, we must give an account. From this, we must repent.

Christians, our country is falling fast into an evil that steals, kills, and destroys. That evil is socialism, an ideology devoid of God, an ideology that dictators have used to rise to power at the expense of the vulnerable. Do the names Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler bring up any hint of virtue? No, these men are considered an anathema in the rolls of history. These men were all socialists, communists, Marxists.

Socialism, a pretty name for Marxism, is purely evil. Today it may look like the government is doing some good things that fall in the realm of socialism, but don’t be deceived. Consider public education: isn’t it a good thing? How would our children learn to read and write and do math otherwise? How would they become responsible citizens otherwise? What about the poor who can’t afford private schools?

Don’t fall for it!

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.

Vladmir Lenin

“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”

Adolf Hitler

John Dewey, father of modern public schools, believed that the best way to change the society for the better was through education. As a religious humanist, Dewey believed it was the duty of the schools and other social institutions to transform society, from what he saw as the antiquated traditional model embraced by theists, to a modern secular society ruled by pragmatism and a devotion to community ideals.

Public schools are a socialist construct. Before the state ran public schools, the church offered free education to those who were able to partake. Others were home educated in academics, practical skills, vocations, or a combination. The humanistic, socialistic takeover of schools was by design, and as a result, we have ridden the slippery slope into a pit of immorality and decadence, and our children can not understand the Bible or the Constitution, and they scoff at both. Government has no place in educating our children; it is our responsibility as the church and as the family.

The result of the slide into socialism is that we now are canceled as old-fashioned, homophobes, closed-minded, delusional bigots who are out of touch with reality. In many cases, our neighbors, family members, friends, and even our own children have developed animosity and bitterness toward us, but more importantly toward the God that created them. Yet, some still spout scripture to justify their attitudes and action, and they even use it against us.

For example, in my home state, our governor regularly cites his faith as reason to implement tyrannical measures to “fight the coronavirus,” yet this same man defies the God he cites allegiance to by celebrating homosexuality and abortion. This man who alleges to personally feel the pain of every loss to this virus has no problem severing the livelihoods of healthy people and shaming those who don’t agree. He tramples liberty and belittles those who disagree.

Submitting to unjust laws is not Biblical. Should the German Christians have submitted to Hitler? Of course not! But it was a gradual descent, one that they probably didn’t see because it started out subtle and continued subtly until they got to a point of no return. It likely would have been hard to recognize as it was happening, unless they were really paying attention. In saying that, I’m not likening any of our government officials to Hitler, but I’m simply saying that, if the German Christians would have seen the whole picture from the beginning, perhaps they would not have submitted to the gradual steps that got them to the horrific place they ended up.

I don’t believe this nation has much longer. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to hold back the darkness as long as we can. I don’t necessarily mean to take up arms. But I do mean that I will not submit to unjust mandates if it is in my power to resist, and I’m not doing it to “demand my rights,” but instead to demand your God-given, Constitutionally-affirmed, rights as His image-bearers. If that makes me unpopular, or if it brings me difficult consequences, so be it. Regardless of how one feels about liberty, it is an absolute, and I won’t give up our collective liberties without resistance.

Awakened from Slumber: Thoughts from a Privileged American

By Heather Walton

I grew up in a home that was as colorblind as realistically can be. I didn’t have much interaction with people of different backgrounds; however, I knew that racism and prejudice were unacceptable. I realize that we naturally have biases, and we need to acknowledge that, and at times even to fight against those preconceptions. I owe my mother a debt for her teaching and example. My children do as well, because I’ve been able to model this for them and I am thankful that her views have blessed two generations so far.

While this is a tremendous foundation, I have long tried to understand what I should be doing, beyond seeing everyone in the human race as equal and deserving of respect, as well as teaching my children to do the same. I try to write things that bring injustice to people’s attention. I pray about it (albeit not enough). I try to learn from those who experience injustice and marginalization, but they don’t always want to talk. Maybe they feel it’s futile because there’s no way they can make me understand their experience.

Even so, I know I haven’t done enough. What little I have done hasn’t been sufficient. Most of this is due to ignorance, but I can’t let myself off the hook, because it’s on me to learn. I’ve also been silent at times when I needed to speak up. Frankly, it’s easy to put something out of mind that is out of sight. For these things, I apologize.

Frankly, it’s easy to put something out of mind that is out of sight.

It’s hard to know what to do, because I know that whatever I do to try to do may offend someone. I might do it wrong. I might inadvertently be insensitive. I might have the opposite effect than I intend. I realize that’s a possibility even in writing this article, but I am risking it, in the hopes that it will make a difference for good. That’s why, if you’re a person of color, I need you to educate me.

Last night, I accompanied my daughter to the protest in our city. That may seem crazy, given that the night before there were shots fired. But in hopes that the protests would be peaceful, and because, even though she’s an adult, I’m still a momma bear, and because I really do want to show solidarity, I rode along. However, we didn’t make it to the protest because as we were walking toward it, teargas was deployed. Don’t get me wrong: teargas doesn’t scare me; I was in the army and have been gassed. I’m not eager to experience that again, but I would do it to defend injustice. I knew it was in response to violence, though, and I do not want to be a part of that if at all possible.

My daughter tried to explain to me why violence may be necessary, and I’m trying to understand. I think I get it to some extent: People say they’ve tried to get our attention — those of us who are privileged — by peaceful means, but we didn’t listen. Sometimes when people aren’t heard when they ask quietly or respectfully, they feel the need to talk more boldly or loudly. I can understand that, but at the same time I can’t.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that, and “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate… Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

“Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”. Book by Martin Luther King Jr., 1967.

Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mark 3:25). Many who have been discriminated against or otherwise been the recipients of injustice may not feel like we live in the same house. But I have to ask, what happens if we destroy ourselves from within? And what can we do to prevent this? These are genuine questions. What ways can a privileged American make this situation better? For those of us who want to know, we value the input of those who have experienced racial injustice. And the only way for us to truly know is for you to tell us.

I welcome your comments.

Is Gov. Beshear violating the Constitution?

By Heather Walton

Sadly, though I’ve lived here for most of my life, I hadn’t read Kentucky’s Constitution until this week. I suspect I wasn’t alone when it comes to constitutional illiteracy, but I have begun to be enlightened. I would encourage everyone to become familiar with their state constitution, and with the U.S. Constitution, because these are the highest laws of our land, and when our governing officials break the laws that give them their authority, we should consider whether it’s wise to submit.

While I’m not a constitutional law expert, an ordinary citizen should be able to analyze officials’ actions in light of national and state foundational documents. Therefore, I’ve evaluated recent executive orders by Gov. Andy Beshear in light of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as Kentucky Revised Statute 39A, which gives him the authority to declare a state of emergency and outlines his functions.

According to Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.090, “The Governor may make, amend, and rescind any executive orders as deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of KRS Chapters 39A to 39F.” I do not think this gives the state’s chief executive carte blanche. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.100 states, “Except as prohibited by this section or other law, to perform and exercise other functions, powers, and duties deemed necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.” Since the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the highest law of our Commonwealth, it serves as the highest law in our state, and is in keeping with and subordinate to the United States Constitution.

Section 1 of Kentucky’s Constitution guarantees rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, acquiring and protecting property, peaceable assembly, redress of grievances, bearing arms. All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:

First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties. The Governor’s edicts have kept and continue to keep many from being able to work, and thereby enjoying their lives and liberties. We do not have the freedom to live our lives and to practice liberty of movement or fulfillment of our God-given calling to provide for our families, move about freely, attend church, sing and participate in sacraments, decide how many people to have in our homes, go places without a mask or temperature check, or keep our associations with others private. At first, these precautions seemed necessary, but they still would have violated the Constitution; now that the curve has been flattened, our rights certainly should be returned to us.

Second: The right of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences. We have not been able to worship according to the dictates of our consciences. While I’m glad we have been able to use online worship services, we have not been able to meet, and now that we are, we still are not able to do so according to our consciences. We are told not to get too close to one another, not to sing corporately, and not to participate in Sacraments. These things go against Scripture. If a person is sick, he should stay home from church, but that’s common sense and should be exercised at all times, but if he is well, there is not a substantial reason to comply. (He also should theoretically be able to be anointed and prayed over by the elders of the church.) If a person is at-risk, she also should consider staying home, but also should have the freedom to make that choice. For those who are healthy, there is no compelling reason to celebrate faith differently than at any other time.

Third: The right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness. This is an individual right of each Kentuckian to seek and pursue safety and happiness, not a mandate for the government to impose corporate safety on all citizenry. Our governor and other authorities have decided to potentially compromise financial, religious, and informational safety for supposed health safety. And many have been forced to trade happiness for a supposed safety.

Fourth: The right of freely communicating their thoughts and opinions. While I can’t specifically fault the government for this, I see the media inhibiting and overruling the right to free speech and communication.

Fifth: The right of acquiring and protecting property. How can people acquire and protect property when commerce is mostly shut down and nearly half of the state population is unemployed? Granted, many are receiving unemployment, but not all, and there will likely be a future price to pay for today’s temporary provision.

Sixth: The right of assembling together in a peaceable manner for their common good, and of applying to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance. People have been allowed to protest; yet they have been demonized for doing so. Have their petitions been acknowledged or addressed? It doesn’t appear so.

So far, we have only looked at Section 1. In Section 2, absolute and arbitrary power is denied.

Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority. It seems to me that there has been much absolute and arbitrary power in the republic and in the commonwealth. Gov. Beshear made many executive orders which were presented as law and did so while the legislature was out of session. He was partially checked by the courts, but many of his edicts have been made without anyone being able to do anything about it. Not only has he exercised absolute power, but his decisions have appeared arbitrary. A large store could be open and lots of people could be inside, while a small business had to be closed. People couldn’t get cancer screenings and “elective” surgeries, but they could get an abortion. People could pack the hardware store or go to a liquor store, but could not go to church. Kids can now participate in contact sports, but nobody can go to a public pool.

Section 15 says that the General Assembly is the only one with the right to suspend laws, but it seems that the governor has done so time after time during this “crisis.”

Section 26 sums it all up well by stating, To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void. I understand this to mean that several of Gov. Beshear’s executive orders are essentially void.

This brings me to my last point, in Section 4, which states that power is inherent in the people. Right to alter, reform, or abolish government. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem proper.

We have a governor whom I believe to be well-intentioned, yet in many ways wrong. He may be a nice guy, but nice is not a leadership qualification. Gov. Beshear has, in the name of saving “the most vulnerable,” neglected many vulnerable taxpayers, small business owners, people with health conditions other than COVID-19, school children, unborn children, and newly born children. Our Constitution gives us the right to alter, reform, or abolish our government as we deem proper. Is it time to exercise this right? We have petitioned Gov. Beshear. He has refused to listen, and in many cases, even to acknowledge our grievances; perhaps it is time we consider requiring him to step down from leadership, and restructure the government to provide greater checks and balances, that we may not be subject to absolute and arbitrary leadership from any future governor.

Author’s Note: I am not condoning violence in any way. Those who have threatened the Governor do not represent the best interests of Kentuckians, and should be held accountable for their actions.

A Conflict of Liberty?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

There is a divide in the church today. Unfortunately, this statement could likely be made at any time in history past, present, or future, until the Lord returns.

I just read an article about a local megachurch, in which they had taken a survey of their members. According to the pastor, there was about an equal split between members who believe they should meet in person immediately, those who think they should wait the situation out a little longer, and those who believe they should wait till there’s a cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Right after reading that, I read a post from a Christian leader who believes it’s cowardly for pastors not to immediately open, especially given that the President said he supports churches opening right away, even though some governors have kept them closed or placed lots of restrictions on them; she was discouraged that many pastors elected to remain closed.

Our small church did open today, allowing for following CDC recommendations, while not demanding churchgoers follow these protocols. We had some folks in attendance, as well as some watching online.

Christian seems to rise against Christian, some claiming we need to stand up for our rights, while others say that doing so violates Biblical principles. While I agree that the Bible trumps the Constitution, I also would posit that the Constitutional framers did so with Biblical principles in mind. Initially I asserted the view that we should lay down our First Amendment rights for the greater good of protecting our brother from harm; however, I’ve appreciated some contrary perspectives, and, while I don’t claim to have a perfect answer, I want to propose consideration of these thoughts:

  1. If someone slaps me on the right cheek, I can offer him the left; however, if someone slaps all of us on the right cheek, or if slapping me on the right cheek could lead to abuse of others, I should strongly consider standing up for our collective rights.
  2. I should examine my motives; if I’m driven by fear, greed, unrighteous anger, or any other sinful attitude, I should reconsider my position. Once my motives are pure, then I need to establish the best plan of action and follow it.
  3. What precedents are we setting by allowing our Constitutional rights to be infringed upon? How will our response impact future generations? We need to be wary of giving up rights that our God-fearing forefathers and generations of military members secured for us, many of them giving their lives, and all of them being willing to do so. More importantly, we need to prayerfully consider what is worth giving up the freedoms for which Christ set us free. We have been commanded not to be subject again to a yoke of slavery. The enemy of our souls can make a very convincing argument, and we need to be vigilant and discerning, lest we be led astray.
  4. What effect do our actions and inactions have on those who witness them? What will most glorify God to the watching world? There is a prevailing thought that Christians need to be compliant, docile, and unassuming at all times. Jesus called us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. Some people believe that, since Jesus was described as meek, we are not to assert ourselves. However, meekness isn’t weakness. Meekness is power under control, not a lack of power. Jesus stood up against oppression and injustice. He spoke out against the Pharisees, who placed unbearable yokes on others, and against the moneychangers, who took advantage of others. He did not gloss over sin, but lovingly confronted transgressors. Should we not follow in His steps?
  5. How has our culture shaped our view of what it means to be loving? Is being nice the same thing as being kind? In this era of political correctness, we have been brainwashed into trying to please everyone and to avoiding actions that may offend others. To love another means to want his or her best. I would never condone shaming someone who doesn’t feel comfortable returning to church, to work, or to society because they are in a high-risk group; we are called to prudence. However, if we give the impression that the only way to be loving is to watch church at home, to keep our businesses closed, to wear a mask everywhere, and to support the governing authorities’ every decision, we may not be giving the full picture. Isn’t it also loving to visit the sick (provided we are healthy and not caregivers for others in a high-risk group), to contribute to our neighbors’ livelihoods by utilizing their businesses, to contribute to society with meaningful work, to uphold truth, to confront error, and to preserve our countrymen’s God-given rights?
  6. Do our actions show favoritism to any person or group? It seems that we are listening to the counsel of some medical professionals but not others. There are plenty of solid medical personnel, some of whom use conventional medicine and others who use alternative methods, who say that the recommended measures are inaccurate and even counterproductive. Even though many are using recent data or reliable research to verify their stance, not only are they being discounted, many are effectively being silenced, because their recommendations don’t fit the prevailing narrative put forth by many in government and the mainstream media. We also seem to be showing favoritism to those vulnerable from a health standpoint, to the exclusion of those vulnerable from an economic or spiritual standpoint.
  7. What is the highest authority in our country or state? It is not the president or governor, and it definitely isn’t any worldwide organization or philanthropist. The Constitution guides our government, and the government is “by the people, of the people, and for the people.” Who are the people? The citizens of this country. When governors, presidents, legislators, or judges violate the Constitution, we need to question whether obedience is necessary. If we follow the Constitution, we are not breaking the law, even if we are told that we are.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, a masterpiece of logic, morality, and theological exposition, as applied to the issue of segregation is the source of the famous words, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Do you know the audience of this letter? Dr. King addressed this apologetic for “civil disobedience” to white pastors who thought he had gone too far by encouraging his followers to break the law. He echoed Augustine, saying that an “unjust law is no law at all.” He said that a just law is in harmony with moral law, that any law that degrades human personality is unjust. We must ask ourselves if quarantining the healthy is in harmony with moral law. We must consider whether destroying people’s livelihoods, keeping them from attending church, and imposing social isolation, especially in the midst of compelling evidence that this virus isn’t a serious threat to otherwise healthy people, is the correct coarse of action.

Pastors and other Christian leaders are called to be countercultural. We are to obey the authority placed over us, but in this country our highest authority is the Constitution, which was primarily written from a Biblical worldview. The Apostle Paul appealed to Caesar in the face of injustice; in America, the equivalent would be to appeal to the Constitution. Our Constitution says that nobody should prohibit the free exercise of religion, of speech, the press, or the right to peaceably assemble (Amendment I). Furthermore, “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Amendment XIV).

Some of you live in open states, and may wonder what all the fuss is about. Churches in Washington State and Minnesota have unjustly been kept from operating, and many still fear government reprisal. This morning, the Chicago mayor was reported to have sent police to shut down a church gathering in her city. Churches, daycares, and small businesses in Kentucky have far too many restrictions to practically operate. Everywhere the mainstream media mafia perpetuates fear and censors informed citizens in an attempt to control the narrative.

Christians, we must not be silent. Pastors, part of your calling is to admonish the flock according to Scripture and to equip us for participation in all spheres of life, including the media and the government. Please challenge us to speak into the culture, rather than to assimilate. Please give us permission not to be nice, but rather to be holy and effective at fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Please activate us in the spiritual war that has the whole world in its grip. Please don’t sit down and shut your doors. Please don’t bow to those who rule unjustly, no matter how “well-intentioned” they may seem. Please bow only to God, and refuse to allow His commands to be twisted into irrelevance.

In the words of Dr. King, “it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends … it is just as wrong, or even more, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.” Let us be neither complacent, nor arrogant. Let us not use our liberty as an excuse for sin, but also let us not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. We were bought with a price. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Let us walk in that freedom, for the good of our country and our fellow countryman.

Conspiracy … or Prophecy?

By Heather Walton

I’m not afraid to admit that I sound like a conspiracy theorist. Isn’t a conspiracy simply a secret plan by a group of people to do something harmful or to cover something up, or both? There seems to be a decent basis for this kind of thing going on right now.

Today there are many people inside and outside the church arguing about things like government overreach, vaccines, civil disobedience, masks, social distancing, governors, and the list goes on. But soon arguments will likely cease. The government is making arrangements to ensure that a vaccine is fast tracked and that everybody gets it. I’m not just talking about the U.S. government. There are many global players with common connections who are working on this effort. The United Nations is working on an initiative to bring about world peace by the year 2030. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a small army of organizations working on vaccines that will ironically help the world to be less populated. (Does it seem counterintuitive that those who want to bring the population down are both asking us to stay at home to protect each other AND working on a vaccine to keep us from getting something that actually could take the world population down?) We are told that such a vaccine may be available by the end of 2020 and that the military is going to help get it out. Not only that, but in the meantime, we have contact tracers to help identify those with the virus and everybody they’ve been in contact with, so that all of those people who’ve potentially been infected can be tracked down, quarantined, and tested. And those who resist may be required by additional means. Those who can’t stay at home may even be separated from their families, even though they’ve already been around their families, who also will have to quarantine until they can be proven to not be infectious. There’s a lot about this pandemic that doesn’t make sense.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be considerate of others, not by any means. I’m not saying that, if you feel you need to stay home, wear a mask, or take other precautions, that you’re living in fear and that you’re doing something wrong. If you’re in a risk group or otherwise feel you need to do this, then that is your right, and I don’t fault you for it. But I believe, if you’re in a high-risk group, you probably already were used to taking some of these kinds of precautions. And if you’re in a high-risk group and you don’t want to take those precautions, for whatever reason, I also respect your rights. I don’t say any of this to downplay how difficult this is on high-risk groups.

But given the fact that the mortality numbers do not appear to be substantially higher than other, similar infections, and that the overall death rate does not seem to have skyrocketed, and that the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths have been in people with comorbidities that would likely have been fatal when combined with other common infections, and that the majority of the population does not have significant risk of mortality or severe infection, the government’s response does not add up.

Unless, of course, it does.

If you’re trying to get a group of people to combine efforts, one of the best tactics is to identify a common enemy. If you’re trying to get all people everywhere to combine efforts, the enemy can’t be human. What better way to unite people than with a global health emergency?

How many of us have heard something along the lines of, “We’re all in this together,” or “We’re going to get through this together?” Everyday our governor says, and asks everyone (at home) to say this with him: “We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together.” I thought it was his thing, until I realized that it’s all over the place. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “We are in this together – and we will get through this, together.” Not a bad sentiment,  but we really aren’t all in this together; instead we are social distancing, sequesters in our homes and getting most of our information from media, many of whom are literally reading from the same script.

But, I’m starting to believe the powers of this world mean it when they say “we’re all in this together,” as in “let’s all collaborate internationally on a solution to this pandemic, and while we’re at it, let’s just make some kind of massive worldwide collaborative organization to ensure we are prepared for whatever situation comes up next … Oh yeah, and we might as well make sure Bill Gates has a lot to say about whatever we come up with. After all, he’s obviously a medical expert.”

Why is this a problem? In Revelation, we are told that the end times will include one world government. God repeatedly told people to scatter and fill the earth. When they tried to remain united at Babel, He confused their language so that they would have to disburse. Now, because of their pride and atheism, they conspire to unite in defiance of God and what He stands for. Instead of seeking God in prayer and asking Him to deliver us from this worldwide emergency, they believe they have it under control and that they know better than God, that indeed they are god.

So now we Americans have had a compelling reason to give up the majority of our rights, our previously booming economy has been functionally destroyed, churches have been moved online, and we are preparing to start giving names of those we’ve been around in the past two weeks if we’ve tested positive. There are even apps for identifying contacts now.

On March 14, 2020, did any of us question the fact that the world seemed to change overnight? Yes, some did, but I think most of us didn’t. We believed the measures taken were necessary and would be short-term. Who among us really thought we would be looking forward to a promised “new normal” months or years from now? Who among us thought we would be wearing masks, social distancing, turning in names of our neighbors for “infractions,” doing school at home, and looking at the possibility of people being removed from their homes until there’s a vaccine and everybody gets it? Who among us expected the military to be involved in distributing this vaccine? Who among us expected churches to be blamed for spreading the virus?

Who among us thought we would ever hear a judge say, “During public health crises, new considerations come to bear, and government officials must ask whether even fundamental rights must give way to the deeper need to control the spread of infectious disease and protect the lives of society’s most vulnerable” (Judge John Mendez of California). My understanding is that fundamental rights are fundamental, and therefore non-negotiable. But it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

The world is just unpredictable enough these days that if a bunch of people were suddenly to disappear, and the government told you it was an alien abduction, you might just be tempted to believe it. Maybe it’s not aliens, but there would be some kind of semi-plausible explanation that most people wouldn’t have believed a couple months ago. If in the next few months or years a lot of people are suddenly gone, and you notice that all those people had the common denominator of an unusual degree of allegiance to Jesus Christ, please consider that perhaps the answer is in prophecy, rather than conspiracy.

The Bible tells of an event most Christians refer to as “the rapture.” Luke 17 tells of a day when two people will be together and suddenly one will be gone. We are told that the man of lawlessness will be revealed after the one who holds him back is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). The one who holds him back is presumed to be the Holy Spirit, which inhabits every true follower of Christ. In order for the Holy Spirit to be withdrawn, it stands to reason that believers will be gone. The Bible tells of a time when people will have to get a certain mark in order to buy or sell. Clearly, our world is set up for such a possibility in the near future. Believers are not to take this mark, and people who take it are showing their allegiance to the antichrist, and will not be able to change their minds.

Believers are commanded to stand firm, to be steadfast, during this time, to spread the Gospel, and to disciple others (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; Matthew 28:16-20: Romans 10:9-13). Unbelievers need to repent, choose to trust Jesus as Lord, and spread the Gospel.

It’s not too late. Someday it will be, and that day will come upon us quickly, whether by natural death, rapture, or Jesus’ second coming. We don’t know the day or the hour for end times prophecy to be fulfilled, but we are told we should know the season (Matthew 24). It’s the season — be ready.

If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord, you can do that right now. This takes an honest and genuine acknowledgement that you are a sinner, that you can’t do enough good deeds to be right with God because He is holy and we are unholy, that you need Him to save you, and that you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to govern your life. Baptism is the outward expression of this inward decision and should be done publicly and by immersion, in an act of obedience, submission, and testimonial to others. You also should read the Bible, pray, gather with other believers, and obey God’s commands, not to be saved, but out of gratitude for salvation, a desire to grow in your relationship with God, and in hopes of winning others to the Lord. If you have any questions about that, reach out to a believer you know, begin fellowship with a local church, and/or reach out by filling out the contact form below.