When it comes to dealing with those in authority who have unmoored themselves from the Constitution in order to set sail for a new land of tyrannical overreach, agenda pushing, and delusions of communistic grandeur and dictatorship; when fear (sensationalized or real) for one’s safety is thrown into the mix; then combine these facets with a Christian’s responsibility to love God, his fellowman, and to follow the laws in place; the correct course of action is difficult to discern while we attempt to balance fact and feeling in a Biblical and legal context. Perhaps this is why our all-knowing God gave to us Micah 6:8; “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
Michigan’s Governor Whitmer and a large number of other governors have opted to extend their powers during this pandemic of Chinese origin; in many cases breaking the law which they swore an oath to protect— the Constitution. Of course, a large part of their responsibility includes protecting the state’s citizens; but not at the expense of our natural freedoms that are protected by the law—our Constitution. So, as Christians, when responding to the governor, we must ask at least three questions: 1) Does Governor Whitmer have a constitutional right to do what she is doing? 2) We know we have a constitutional right to redress the government; but in so doing, are we acting Biblically?—many will be quick to point out Romans 13:1. 3) Are we doing what is required of us by God—do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him?— thereby fulfilling the greatest commands to love God with all that we are and to love others as we love ourselves.
In answering the first question, yes, she does have some limited constitutional rights granted to her by the legislature; but, many would say that she has gone far too far. Many crowded the streets of Lansing to peacefully protest her unconstitutional overreach and her mandates that are extremely dangerous to our economy. While certain governors may receive authority to develop emergency measures and to enforce rules and orders to protect the public during a health crisis, state law does not have the power to supersede or suspend the constitutional rights of American citizens. I thank God that there are some constitutional sheriffs stepping up in Michigan, and other states, refusing to enforce questionable executive orders that infringe upon our inalienable, God-given rights.
The second question is a bit more difficult; but becomes easier when we have a better understanding of what our governing authority is. In America our governing authority is the Constitution. Unfortunately, a piece of paper needs flesh and blood to enact its governing principles; that’s why we elect people to uphold our governing laws. That’s why our founders put enumerated powers within our Constitution; it’s meant to put reins on and limit the power of those elected, not to shackle the people. If those in authority go outside the bounds of the Constitution, we are to remove them or continue to follow the written law of the land under a lesser magistrate, ignoring the illegal or unrighteous law that those in power are attempting to enforce. While it’s certainly difficult to parse out all the ins and outs, we aren't to bury our heads in the sand and accept whatever the various branches of our state, federal, or local governments try to force upon us without the foundational backing of the Constitution.
Looking short term is not enough. One needs to look at the whole picture, taking into account and weighing out the various dangers of all the problems—two of the biggest being the immediate health of individuals and the long term and devastating damage done by closing the economy. A destroyed economy won't help anyone and will kill more people than the virus itself.
Patrick Henry famously said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” If we are going to be so fearful of death that we are willing to forgo our own liberties and insist that our neighbor loses his as well, we are just kicking the can of death down the road. If we don’t reopen our economy soon, we will find death. If we give our freedoms to tyrannical dictators, we will eventually find death. This is a moment of decision; will we move back toward the constitutional republic God graciously gave to us through our founding fathers or will we move toward the death of this republic, the death of freedom, and eventually our own death and of those who come after us.
We must be discerning and wise, recognizing harmful agendas and looking at the destination of the road on which we are being led. We must be informed of our rights and we must be willing to stand for them as well. We must recognize a corrupt government that would run roughshod over those whose livelihood depends upon a working economy. Is it compassionate to bring our neighbors to economic ruin? The affects run deep and wide. Is it loving our neighbor to allow those in authority to illegally wrest freedoms from their hands-even if they think it’s a good thing? To just sit and watch our religious, civil, and economic liberties be ignored and destroyed by a corrupt act of government is not loving; it's unconstitutional.
This brings us to question number 3. To fulfill all that is required of us we must recognize that compassion and constitutionality and Christianity do not have to be (nor should they be) separate domains. We must strive to be Christians (walking humbly with God) who are constitutional (do justly) and compassionate (love mercy). In all that we do we must do it unto the Lord and to the glory of God. It will be worked out before a watching government and a watching world. Therefore, we must earnestly pray for discernment and strength to that end.
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