Do Christians have “democratic rights” too?

In many parts of the world of late, especially in our western nations, government has run roughshod over people’s wishes. And for some odd reason we, the public, allow it, even if legislation enacted is not what we want, it’s not in our best interests, and it severely limits our freedoms.

So how do we Christians react to this? Are we stuck with Romans 13:1 which mandates that “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established”? So, whatever government says we’d better go along with it, or be “rebelling against what God has instituted,” right?

But Romans 13 also mandates what governments do too. In verse 4, for instance, the government “is God’s servant to do you good.” To qualify as “government” in biblical terms, then, its central goal and reason for existence is being a servant of God, which it fulfills by being a servant of the people “to do them good.” If a government is not meeting that double mandate from God, is a Christian still required to do whatever the government says? Should Christians have obeyed Stalin, for instance, who starved millions of his people to death, or submitted to the Nazi euthanasia program? 

Well, many Christians didn’t submit, and widespread Christian protest during World War 2 got the euthanasia program halted. But were the people right in holding the government’s feet to the flames, or were they disobeying God by not conforming to the government edicts? In other words, where do we Christians stand when our government is either blatantly breaking its God-given mandate, or it isn’t consulting us, the citizens, before enacting legislation? 

Take Canada, for instance. Canada is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy, founded on the rule of law and respect for rights and freedoms. The government acts in the name of the Crown but derives its authority from the Canadian people. It is the people who have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation, and the people who choose whom they wish to enact it. Our role as citizens in our government, then, is huge. We have power vested in us legally to decide what legislation we feel is in our best interests. 

Unfortunately, we’ve handed over our constitutional birthright to government for so long that the government now feels free to enact legislation without consulting its citizens, even when a majority of citizens heartily disagree with it. 

So where do we as Christians stand if a constitution gives its citizens rights? Does that clash with Romans 13, or can we Christians claim the rights allowed by our constitution? And can we stand by our rights – and even protest too – if our government is not doing what either God or the constitution mandated it to do?…

(More on this tomorrow…)

One thought on “Do Christians have “democratic rights” too?

  1. Government officials have as much of an obligation to obey God and keep their own constitutions as does the average citizen. If EVERYONE stood up and protested any proposed amendment or bill that is deemed contrary to God’s laws, then what are the leaders going to do? They would be vastly outnumbered.

    Unfortunately, the majority of the people have fallen into slumber. They seem to be attached to their “pacifiers” and “security blankets,” and would “bawl” if these are taken away. And so, slowly, one by one, they lose their rights and freedoms, and end up at the mercy of these tyrants.

    “How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep—So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” (Prov 6:9-11)

    It’s long past time to “wakey, wakey” and stand up!! It’s long past time to join in unity and say “No” EN MASSE to tyrannical governments. Governments were instituted by God to protect the people, not enslave them. Thus, it’s long past time to exercise our constitutional rights.

    Take the example of Peter and John in Acts 4. They got arrested for preaching Jesus, and were held in custody overnight. But the authorities had to let them go the next day for fear of the people (verse 21). This is kind of the power that people have when they ALL stand up together for what is right.

    Although, no one said it would be easy…..

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

    “If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited. Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter. If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,” won’t He who weighs hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work?” (Prov 24:10-12, HCS)

    “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Gal 6:9)


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