Sunday, March 9, 2008

Important Disclaimer

After writing my last post, and giving some additional thought to the matter, I've decided that I need to post an important caveat. Now this caveat wouldn't be needed, except that--well, this is the internet, after all; and you don't know who's all reading your stuff.

One has to be careful when writing commentary on current events, if you ever decide to base an argument on the logic of the Declaration of Independence. After all, the Declaration was used by its drafters to justify an armed rebellion.

For the record: I am not attempting to justify an armed rebellion. I am not sending out a coded message to my legions of fans that it is time to start watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.

After all, right after Jefferson et al. wrote:
...That whenever any Form of Government becomes deſtructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to aboliſh it, and to inſtitute new Government, laying its foundation on ſuch principles and organizing its powers in ſuch form, as to them ſhall ſeem moſt likely to effect their Safety and Happineſs.
...they then went on to say:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long eſtablished ſhould not be changed for light and tranſient cauſes; and accordingly all experience hath ſhewn that mankind are more diſposed to ſuffer, while evils are ſufferable than to right themſelves by aboliſhing the forms to which they are accuſtomed.
Boy, howdy. Ain't that the truth.

My argument in my previous column is that parents have an unalienable right to raise their children according to the dictates of their consciences, and that this right includes the right to educate one's children as one seems best.

But note, should there be anyone confused on this point: I am not advocating violating any laws whatsoever. I am after all a Christian, and Romans 13:1-7 says:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Not to mention the fact that any violations of law on the part of homeschoolers would set back our cause in both law and in the public opinion.

We need to understand what our rights are, and (just as importantly) the theory of rights that underlies our government and legal system. And if and when the government engages in any violations, or starts treating the people as subjects instead of citizens, we need to call them on it.

But nothing I have written should be interpreted as a call to literal arms, nor as a call to general disobedience--civil or otherwise. So don't use my column as a justification to do anything ſtupid. I'm already feeling rebel enough after changing my own lawnmower batteries last week instead of letting an Authorized Service Center do it. ;-)

Again, if I knew for a fact that every reader of this blog was a logical, rational Man or Woman of Good Faith, I wouldn't consider this caveat necessary. But again, this is after all the internet....


Jarrod J. Williamson, Ph.D. said...

Romans 13 is within the context of the civil magistrate being a terror to evil doers and a protector of those who do well.

Apparantly, Paul did not consider the Roman Empire (as rough as it was) to be bad enough to merit an armed rebellion. Hence, I conclude that America is not sufficiently bad to merit an armed rebellion.

It will not be until the American civil magistrate is a terror to those who do good and protects those who do evil, and the government has gotten more oppressive than Rome, that we can talk about armed rebellion.

Timothy Power said...

It will not be until... the government has gotten more oppressive than Rome...

My point exactly. I may gripe from time to time about individual court rulings and the occasional clown in high places, but we have a long way to go before we get more oppressive than the Roman Empire. At least we're not yet feeding homeschoolers to the lions...

Jarrod J. Williamson, Ph.D. said...

...we have a long way to go before we get more oppressive than the Roman Empire. At least we're not yet feeding homeschoolers to the lions...

Which is my response to those Christians who argue that the concept of separation of church and state is not found in the Constitution and want the gov't supporting the Church. (I am not speaking of Christians who merely want and support godly laws.)

2,000 years ago the Roman gov't was much more hostile to the Church than the US gov't is. Yet the Church flourished in Rome because of the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who argue the gov't should support the Church, as opposed to fair neutrality towards all religions, are making a tacit admission that they need the power of the gov't as they have lost the power of God. IMO.