For reasons that are far too numerous and complex to delve into in a blog post, the US government is becoming increasingly intrusive. So has the California state government and the County of Los Angeles, so we can probably just sum it all up as Government intrusion.
In a country that used to pride itself on its freedoms, we now have more and more regulations designed to save us from ourselves. Every time there is a crisis, pretty much anywhere in the world, our government officials start talking about how they can protect us from that same eventuality.
Consequently, after another school shooting, there has been, as predicted, a great deal of discussion about how to regulate guns. In all this, I’m more troubled that the number of gang deaths, often from guns, doesn’t rile the country up in the same way as the Sandy Hook deaths. In 2010 alone, there were over 2000 gang-related homicides (see the National Gang Center). I suppose to qualify as a game changer, however, a shocking number of deaths would need to occur at one time.
That’s why the tragedy in the Brazilian night club triggered another round of discussions about safety measures and regulations in similar venues here in the US.
Of course, nothing unleashed more regulations than the attack in New York on 9/11. From surveillance cameras to body searches at the airport to electronic eavesdropping and tracking to drone surveillance, measures designed to keep Americans safe have clearly reduced privacy. It is this Government intrusion that seems especially to bother a good many people.
In response, there’s been a growth in the number of libertarians who want to see a reduction of regulations–or more precisely, as little Government as possible. For example, in 2012, the Libertarian Party candidates for President and Vice President received more than twice as many votes as their 2008 counterparts.
I know a number of other conservatives who are doing considerable hand-wringing because of the recent increased Government intrusion. Many reason that this Big Brother watchfulness will one day be turned on Christians to impinge upon our freedom of religion.
And that might actually be true. But here’s the thing. If a person isn’t breaking a law, then he has no reason to fear the Government watching him. Unless the Government outlaws worshiping God. But if that happens, is the answer to continue to do so privately, secretly, out of view of those who want to regulate it out of existence?
I think of Daniel, confronted with the same situation. The sudden outlawing of worship of any but Babylon’s king did not dissuade Daniel from continuing to worship the One True God, and to do so without hiding. He didn’t flaunt his decision by praying on the palace steps, but neither did he go into his closet where the watching eyes of hostile government officials couldn’t see.
When I was a kid, we sang a song in Sunday school or Vacation Bible School that contained the line, “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone.” I tend to think there well could be a time when Christians in the US will need to make a stand similar to Daniel’s. We won’t be alone in the same way, but we well may be without the protection of the Government preserving our religious liberties.
Perhaps our concern now shouldn’t be so much in fighting Government intrusion as it should be in preparing to face the consequences when that Government intrusion is turned upon us. How prepared are we to keep praying if someone in Government says to stop?
Peter gives us the perspective we need:
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:13-15)