I’ve been concerned enough about the Coronavirus that I haven’t left my home in almost 6 weeks and have taken extreme precautions to protect my family and myself. It wasn’t irrational fear about getting sick, but respect for the guidelines so we can get this over with. But there is something that scares me worse than a virus and in fact, scares me more than death itself. I’ve made arrangements both for my physical death and my eternal life once that happens. But I’m genuinely afraid that we are losing our civil liberties and our fundamental freedoms as they are ripped from our lives. Shockingly, many American are actually cheering about it. To quote Jesus, “Father, Forgive them-they know NOT what they do!”
In KY, it took a smart and “rule-of-law” federal judge on Saturday afternoon before Easter Sunday to declare that the government couldn’t forbid a Louisville church from offering a drive-in service to its members. The federal judge noted that there was irony in that people were free to visit a liquor store drive-through couldn’t attend a drive-in church service and that he doubted that consumption of alcohol was somehow considered more “essential” than attending church on Easter Sunday.
In Greenville, MS the mayor sent cops to a church to forbid the people from even sitting in their own cars in the church parking lot for a drive-in service and gave $500 tickets to each person sitting in his or her own car. The only violators of safe social distancing were the cops, who went right up to car windows and barked orders and handed tickets to startled worshippers. Thank God, Attorney General Bill Barr has decided to review clear violations of the 1st Amendment in cases like this.
In Michigan, the Governor moved from nanny to tyrant by forbidding people to buy seeds to plant gardens, even though the seeds were on shelves in stores that were open! That resulted in hundreds of people driving around the State Capitol, honking their horns in protest. The Governor stubbornly asserted that she was right. So people planting their own gardens and eating produce they grow is somehow more unhealthy than going to a supermarket and handling produce that may have been touched by dozens of strangers?
In addition, a father was arrested and handcuffed for playing catch with his own daughter in a completely deserted public park. People have been threatened with arrest for setting foot in their own backyards. The New Jersey Governor, when asked about what gave him the right to suspend the Bill of Rights, said, “that’s above my pay grade…we weren’t thinking about the Bill of Rights when we did this.” Obviously not! Well we all need to be thinking about it!
I don’t want any of us to get sick or die from a virus that probably came not from bat-soup, but a Chinese bio-lab. But if we freely surrender our basic civil liberties now, don’t think we will ever get all of them back. I don’t trust government. I was in government long enough to know that the only thing between freedom and tyranny is a vigilant citizen who remembers that government works for us—not the other way around.
I fully understand the Biblical mandate to obey civil authorities, but I also understand that when civil authorities demand of me to do something immoral or against the law or Constitution, I have not merely a right, but a responsibility to resist and to willingly suffer the consequences. Thank God for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and for that matter the entirety of our Founding Fathers who revolted against racism, Nazism, and tyranny but willingly suffered for doing so because they valued liberty and the law more than life itself.
It’s fine to be afraid of the virus. It’s wise to take precautions. But be afraid of a government that can take your life, your liberty, and these days, even your freedom to worship your Lord.