CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IS CONSISTENT WITH CHRISTIAN CONDUCT AND WITH AMERICAN HISTORY
By Pastor Chuck Baldwin
August 26, 2003
While Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's refusal to remove a Ten Commandments display from the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery is not, in strict terms, civil disobedience, many people see it that way. Actually, the federal judge who ordered the monument's removal, Myron Thompson, and those who support him are guilty of breaking the law!
The U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from interfering with the state's or the individual's right to express or acknowledge faith in God. However, for over 40 years now, liberal federal judges such as Myron Thompson have reversed more than 150 years of American jurisprudence by interpreting the First Amendment to be a prohibition of states and local individuals from exercising their God-given freedom to express and acknowledge their faith in God. Such conduct violates the law of the land and transforms the federal judiciary from that of law interpreter to that of law maker. All such laws are, therefore, no laws at all. Rather, they are acts of judicial tyranny! By resisting such tyranny, Judge Moore is upholding the rule of law!
However, in the eyes of many people, by resisting a federal judge's order, Judge Moore is exercising civil disobedience. Even if this were true, Judge Moore is still in the right. Civil disobedience is consistent with good citizenship and with Christian testimony.
America's Founding Fathers and Christianity's church fathers repeatedly expressed the right of Christian citizens to refuse to submit to unjust laws.
In our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [to secure God-given rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it." Furthermore, Benjamin Franklin said, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." In like manner, one of history's most respected church fathers, St. Augustine, said, "Evil law is no law at all."
These sentiments do not run contrary to the American spirit or to the Word of God. The Bible is replete with examples of righteous civil disobedience.
Daniel refused a state order to stop praying to God. The three Hebrew children refused to obey civil authority when commanded to bow to the image of the state. Practically every Old Testament prophet mentioned in Scripture violated copious civil laws in deference to God's commands.
Virtually every apostle of the New Testament likewise disobeyed the evil laws of their governments. It was Simon Peter who boldly declared, "We ought to obey God rather than men." The Apostle Paul was imprisoned and eventually decapitated, being called a "lawbreaker" by government officials.
In sacred and secular history, disobedience to evil laws is considered both obligatory and holy! Therefore, whether one chooses to judge Roy Moore as a Christian or as an American citizen, he is on the right side of history.
Furthermore, the argument that men must submit to evil laws merely because a political or public official orders it done is contrary to modern history. The Nuremberg trials following World War II prove that.
The argument for the defense of every accused Nazi soldier for crimes committed during Hitler's regime centered on the obligation of a soldier to obey orders. Such men could not be held personally accountable for their crimes, it was argued, because they were merely "following orders." That argument was dismissed then as it should be dismissed now!
It was clearly demonstrated during the Nuremberg trials that men were obliged to obey a higher authority than that of their superiors, that men were morally responsible to behave according to the overruling moral principles of natural law, and that to blindly follow evil orders from any political or military official did not exonerate one's personal responsibility and accountability for their conduct.
If we accept the argument today that we must comply with an unlawful, unconstitutional, and evil law, we are ignoring 2000 years of Western Civilization, 2000 years of Church history, and 200 years of American history. Furthermore, we would be ignoring the plain teaching and instruction of God's Holy Word.
No matter how one wishes to assess the conduct of Judge Roy Moore, he is doing right!
© 2003 Chuck Baldwin - All Rights Reserved
Chuck Baldwin is Founder-Pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. In 1985 the church was recognized by President Ronald Reagan for its unusual growth and influence.
Dr. Baldwin is the host of a lively, hard-hitting syndicated radio talk show on the Genesis Communications Network called, "Chuck Baldwin Live" This is a daily, one hour long call-in show in which Dr. Baldwin addresses current event topics from a conservative Christian point of view. Pastor Baldwin writes weekly articles on the internet http://www.ChuckBaldwinLive.com and newspapers.
"The U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from interfering with the state's or the individual's right to express or acknowledge faith in God."