Christians & the Surveillance State

Ed Stetzer has an outstanding article over at Christianity Today about how Christians should think and what we should do about the surveilance state. Here’s an excerpt:

Either way, part of the role of Christians in any society is speaking up against wrongs committed by their government– and to be wise to discern the potential for such wrongs. We have a responsibility to recognize and respond to unethical behavior and the decisions that emboldened such behavior.

So, we should speak up when the government decides it knows best about our personal information and freedom. We cannot sit idly by while they decide to store the phone numbers and names of people we call, touch the private parts of 13-year olds in the name of airport security (using a system that is more about “security theater” than safety), track every piece of mail we send, or know where we drive (note that the USAToday article specifically mentions places of worship).

Part of the role of Christians in any society is speaking up against wrongs committed by their government.

For the record, I don’t watch (much) right-wing television or believe there is a global cabal working toward a New World Order. Furthermore, I think that conspiracy theories make Christians look ridiculous. And, I think that President Bush (under whom most of these policies began) and President Obama (who spoke against many such policies as a candidate but largely continued them when he became President) both want to protect Americans and believe these means do so.

However, I do recall that when this country was forming, it was free-church Christians who said that government could not be trusted with the type of power that is becoming the norm today–and will only grow more expansive with each tomorrow.

This expansiveness is also a concern of retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court David Souter, an admittedly liberal judge from New Hampshire. As he stated in a 2012 forum:

“I don’t worry about our losing a republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion. I don’t worry about it because of a coup by the military, as has happened in some other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed people will not know who is responsible, and when the problems get bad enough—as they might do for example with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown—some one person will come forward and say ‘Give me total power and I will solve this problem. That is how the Roman republic fell. Augustus became emperor not because he arrested the Roman senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.”

You can read the rest here.

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August 21 2013 04:00 am | Blog

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