Thoughts on authority & whether it should be ignored or obeyed.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES. In previous articles, I have emphasized that everything we do in life is a decision for life or death…and that God has asked us to choose life. In considering whether a particular authority should be listened to…the principle of choosing life is paramount…in other words, it is of the highest priority. In some cases, we will have to choose eternal life and remain faithful to God, our faith & our calling, and sacrifice our mortal temporary life. As this is written, there are Christians who are being beheaded because they would not renounce Christ. They have still made a choice for life…eternal life. Also in line with this principle of choosing life: if a robber is threatening to kill you, give him what he wants…don’t set there and try to tell him he has no authority over you. Yet, if the Spirit leads, one might assert one’s authority. The Bible has many examples of godly individuals respecting illicit authority. Christ told an illegitimate authority, “You would have no power if it were not given to you by God.” God gave the heathen Assyrian army the authority to take 10 tribes of Israel captive. My point is that sometimes there will be proper (God-sanctioned) reasons to obey an illegitimate authority.
On the other hand, sometimes even a legitimate authority has to be disregarded. Assuming for discussion’s sake that a legitimate authority told me that I needed to get a vaccination which I deemed harmful, it would be proper for me to disregard that authority. The Christian has to be very careful in how he reacts to authority, because it is real easy to take on evil spirits and harmful attitudes of rebellion…which the Bible equates to witchcraft. Witchcraft is fundamentally disobedience to God…whether the magic works or not is not the issue, witchcraft (called “the craft”) is something being done outside of the authority of God. In WW 2, when the Nazi’s took over a nation, they and their puppet govt.s became the “legitimate authorities”. Those citizens who had been very law abiding continued to obey those running their govt.s. So in France, the Vichy govt. had the obedience of most citizens, even though the govt. was pro-Nazi. The only effective resistance fighters were ex-criminals, who had the skills and the mind set to resist authorities. They could forge documents, steal necessary items, and carry on activities without being caught. The core of the successful French resistance fighters to tyranny were ex-criminals. Later, as France was being liberated all kinds of people joined & helped the fighting, but for the initial years, it took criminals to successfully challenge the authority of the Nazi rulers. (By the way, I have studied modern resistance movements to tyranny, & occasionally slip some of my findings into my posts.)
HISTORICAL CHALLENGES TO ILLEGITIMATE AUTHORITIES. If one is to examine American colonial history in detail, & compare colonial life to its contemporary English society, one discovers the colonists had problems with authority & legitimacy of authority from the beginning. First off, the colonists were faced with life or death situations, but the far off homeland had authority over them. It was rather like a teenager and his parent. The American settler was like the teenager wanting to explore the world, and the British bosses were like a parent, who at times seemed distant, uncaring and arrogant. (For instance, the Pilgrims patiently waited over 70 years for the King to give them a legitimate patent for their colony, which they never got.) Local power & authority was the answer, but who was a legitimate local authority? In Europe, the class you were born into may have made you a baron & given you authority via heredity…but from the start the settlers in America rejected people having authority based on birth. No, they wanted to see a reason to obey. Again, in the harsh new environment, who one listened to could be a life or death issue. The new World had new institutions & new ways of doing things. There are various ways that an authority is considered legitimate, and each of these new institutions had to struggle in various ways to gain the allegiance of the colonists. Harvard University’s charter (1650) was granted by the Mass. Bay Colony. But Massachusetts Bay Colony’s constitution was considered illegitimate in 1684, causing Harvard to wonder about their own legitimacy. Some colonists simply lived out of the reach of any legitimate authority. And if one disagreed with authorities one could (like Roger Williams) simply leave and move outside of the reach. Did the penal laws of England extend to America? In 1706, there was a big trial in NY over that issue.
John Dickinson was named the “Penman of the Revolution”. Considering the kind of things mentioned in the previous paragraph, you may now better understand why John Dickinson, (a founding father of the USA who wrote the first draft of the Articles of Confederation, & who wrote the 1774 Petition to the King) said that the American Revolution occurred over the crisis of legitimate authority in the colonies.
CRISIS OF AUTHORITY TODAY. Today, we have a govt. that is totally unconstitutional. Wars are unconstitutionally created. “Money” is unconstitutionally created. Executive decrees are verbally given in a totally unconstitutional manner. Congress is a body of do-nothing multimillionaires. The list of significant problems they ignore is long. The list of silly things they do is long. They sent (earmarked) over $13 million to Ireland to help with a World Toilet Summit. (And there are crazier things they have done with your tax dollars.) They set things up to help big pharma & the elite. Farm subsidy payments sounds good. Let’s help the hurting farmer.…David Rockefeller got $134,556 for a year of farm subsidies, while needy family farms went without help. Donate money to their campaign, and it may be used to pay their spouse or brother, who is hired to “help” with their campaign. When Hillary (& other Congressmen) go to the Renaissance Weekend (which I exposed in the early ‘90’s), they don’t pay their way. Harry Truman, as a senator, had his wife on the Senate payroll, for which she was not required to do anything. She didn’t even pretend to show up for work. Our Congressmen have many ways to make money off of their positions, in spite of the few laws in place to slow that kind of thing down. Meanwhile, they themselves ignore the laws & aren’t held accountable, and do little to solve this nation’s serious problems. They don’t represent the people. When the American Revolution took place, the founding fathers repeatedly placed great emphasis on power & authority coming from the people. Hence, the Constitution begins “We the people…” Our Supreme Ct. says the Constitution is “flexible”, which means they can ignore its plain meanings. What do “we the people” mean to those with power?? I have a hard time saying “those with authority”…because so much of what has been done and is being done today is without any legitimate authority.