When to Disobey the Government
- Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at email@example.com.
To the many who’ve asked me to address the issue of civil disobedience,
Once upon a time I walked the picket line holding a poster of a fetus who had been killed by an abortionist. I wanted to carry the picture poster of the little girl who was floating inside mommy’s womb, sucking on her finger. But they gave me the shocking one.
They told me to stand by the curb and hold it prominently so passing motorists would be certain to see it. My poster engendered a few “thumbs up” but most took one look, scowled, and said bad words at me as they passed. At least I assumed they were bad words—I’m not good at reading lips. However, the middle-finger salutes were easy to interpret.
I was in a group of 200 or so encircling an abortion clinic, being careful not to come closer than one hundred feet as required by law. The police were there to maintain order.
A number of women had abortion appointments that morning. Some looked at the picketers and left. Others held their heads down and crossed the line fully intending to terminate the child growing within.
I had no trouble justifying my marching in protest. God told me to do it. He said, “
Rescue those being led away to death.
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, "But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? (Proverb 24:11-12)
Many of our church pastors and congregants were marching that day. We felt empowered and unified as we fulfilled our duty to God and to those being led off to slaughter. Then, commotion ahead! Some of the picketers were crossing the line and were immediately arrested and led off to jail! There was Bill, one of my closest associates handcuffed, being led to a police car.
This was civil disobedience in action. It was one thing to legally picket against a law that we considered immoral. It was another thing to break a law.
Bill didn’t do too well spending two nights in the “tank.” He’d struggled his whole life with claustrophobia. No joke, his eyes were still wide open and darting in fear a full day after his release. In a sense Bill’s worth and reputation soared several notches as I explained to our congregation why he was in jail.
As I see it, our government is becoming less and less godly. Taxes are used for social engineering. Too many pro abortion laws are still on the books. It is illegal to mention Jesus in schools. A high school valedictorian is denied her free speech rights and told she cannot even mention the name of Jesus in her speech. We are entering wars many protest as immoral and yet the government fights on. Civil disobedience may soon be a choice we’re all forced to face.
My eighth grade daughter and her best friend were forbidden to sing their favorite Jesus song at the school talent show. We protested to no avail. They sang the song any way and replaced the name “Jesus” with humming and a finger pointed toward God in His Heaven! Everyone knew just what was going on! Jesus got a lot of glory and honor that night.
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