The most sacred duty of the civil government is to protect the people to whom they are accountable….to protect their lives, their liberty and their property.
What has happened in recent days is that civil government presented us with a binary and false choice: Liberty OR Safety, when in fact they are responsible for safeguarding both. In case after case, civil government has responded in a way that counteracted their purpose; they have actually done harm to the people they are to protect, largely because of constitutionally dismissive over-reaction to faulty information.
Very quick history lesson: Providentially, in 900 AD, King Alfred the Great of England established a system of civil government that was quite literally based on the higher standard of biblical law…..as opposed to the prevailing Roman system in Europe that had its foundations in the wisdom or whim of an emperor. That system of a limited civil government, accountable to law and required to protect God-given (not government-granted) individual liberties, met challenge after challenge in England. You see, to hold civil government to its proper role is difficult and requires vigilance!
This happened in 1215 with Magna Carta; it happened again in 1640 and Parliament’s Petition of Right called King Charles I back “under the law.” The king’s refusal to abide by law led to the English Civil War (and the loss of his head). Meanwhile, this English system of rights to life, liberty and private property had been planted in America and was universally acknowledged to be a GIFT OF GOD to the American people.
When Great Britain began to violate the Magna Carta “rights of Englishmen” to which American colonists were entitled, strong voices of opposition were notable but not widespread. An early hero of liberty is Jonathan Mayhew, who in the 1750s objected to encroachments on religious liberty by the mother country. There was James Otis, a Massachusetts statesman who vocally resisted improper search warrants, and Patrick Henry, a brand new delegate to Virginia’s House of Burgesses who had the audacity in 1765 to submit resolutions condemning the “unconstitutional” Stamp Act, when the other “establishment” burgesses were still willing to bear this “small burden.”
What Mayhew and Otis and Henry recognized was that liberties lost to an encroaching civil government are not easily restored. As Jefferson would later say, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”More importantly, however, they knew that these were God-given blessings of liberty and believed it was treason against God to sit quietly by and allow their countrymen and future generations to be robbed by a tyrannical civil government. Henry said: “It is impiously irritating the avenging hand of heaven, when a people who are in the full enjoyment of freedom desert those axioms which alone can preserve liberty”…and Samuel Adams: “The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of men to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”
We, as Americans, have not been taught the proper role of the civil government,how it must be held to its proper jurisdiction, and why that MUST be done in order to protect the function of the other God-ordained spheres of authority in the family, church and individual. There is also a tragic ignorance of the sources of our liberty…..that we were founded on “God ideas” not just “good ideas” and that they’re worthy of being protected.
So what to do? I’m not calling for rebellion…..far from it! There is a biblical process for resisting a civil government that is outside the law and it begins with PETITION. Working within the representative system we’ve been given, now is the time to communicate with elected officials, particularly at the city, county and state level…. to point out the faulty information on which decisions have been based and your support for them as they restore LIBERTY immediately. You can do that with emails, phone calls, and via their social media.
One last thing….and it’s important. What makes liberty work is self-government. Nearly every man and woman of the founding generation said it and it’s true. I’ve put my little diagram up. . . the one that’s taught the first week of every class I offer. We should be speaking up against an encroaching “external” civil government and I pray they listen quickly and restore civil liberties. But remember, once it is, to wisely exercise self-government! While a self-governed people stands and requires liberty, that liberty also requires self-government.
’ll leave you with one more from Patrick Henry, written AFTER American liberties were secured: "Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others."