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!
- Read. Research. Reflect.
- Consider that the media has a bias and an objective, and ask yourself if it aligns with yours.
- Seek out scholarly, peer-reviewed research about things like masks, vaccines, isolation, pandemics, and more.
- Consider why the government cares so much about this virus as opposed to others, especially things that cause more harm.
- Consider why certain people and activities are targeted and others aren’t. Are there commonalities?
- Start conversations. See if others are thinking as you are.
- Do the math on the virus. Compare the math to other illnesses and activities.
- Read about those who have stood against injustice.
- 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.?
According to our founding fathers, a higher Governor gives us our rights.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego agreed:
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:
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:
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:
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!
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.
“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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.