A local pastor is walking dozens of miles to raise funds for the poor and hungry, many of whom have been created by the government’s COVID-19 economic lockdown. That’s a nice thing to do. But his own church in the Washington, D.C. area remains essentially closed, except for “private” displays of Christianity. Some of his parishioners entered into the church to fill the pews with pictures of the people who used to be there. That’s sad.
It is America 2020 and the police are showing up to arrest ministers of the Gospel – at least the few willing to challenge the modern-day Caesar.
Early Christians were willing to be imprisoned and killed for their faith. A popular Netflix show, “Better Call Saul,” is about a lawyer who represented a drug dealer. The early church has their own Saul. In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn about a persecutor of the early church named Saul who had a Damascus Road conversion after experiencing Christ and was also known as Paul the Apostle. The reading is that “something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again.”
With scales on their eyes, today’s Christians for the most part seem afraid to challenge secular authorities and various “executive orders” about how they should worship. They have resorted to drive-in or drive-by “worship services,” so they don’t get out of their cars. This is a dramatic perversion of Christ’s directive to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Caesar, the State, should not dictate to the churches. The State does not own the churches. But many Christians today act as if the government is in charge.
This country was born in a revolution over global taxes imposed by the King of England, as well as rejection of an official state-imposed national religion. Freedom of religion and of the press was supposed to be guaranteed in our First Amendment. Yet, as a result of the coronavirus, freedom of the press has been guaranteed and freedom of religion has not. Most pastors, preachers, and priests acquiesce to their government masters and their demands for empty pews.
On the national level, unfortunately, our elected representatives go along with the emergence of this totalitarian state. Attorney General William Barr has issued a memo on "Balancing Public Safety with the Preservation of Civil Rights,” which is too little too late. Our God-given rights are not to be sacrificed on the altar of what unelected “health experts” have to say abut how we live our lives.
We need more than a memo, Mr. Barr.
Conservative media fret over the Deep State’s frame-up of Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security advisor, and that was truly an outrage. But the rights of the people in general have been stripped away, too, for months. What they did to Flynn they are doing to all of us, in a much quicker time frame. As Elon Musk has commented, they have taken away our freedom and subjected us to a form of house arrest. He calls it “fascist.” It’s also communistic.
“FREE AMERICA NOW” he says. It’s time for our religious leaders to follow his example.
“Better Call Saul” is advice they should be given and take.
In the story of Saul, we are told that a light from heaven flashed and a voice said to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul asked, “Who are you, sir?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise; go into the city, and you will be told what to do.” William Barclay's Daily Study Bible refers to this passage as “the most famous conversion story in history.” Barclay explains, “We must try as far as we can to enter into Paul's mind. When we do, we will see that this is not a sudden conversion but a sudden surrender.” Eventually, the scales fell from his eyes.
Grassroots Christians are crying out for leadership. President Trump recommends various on-line services every Sunday, but this is really no substitute for the ability of people to worship at a church or synagogue of their choice.
At various locations around the country, pastors are rebelling in the name of Jesus Christ. Some are recommending that their parishioners practice social distancing and even to wear masks when they come to church. But that is not good enough for the mostly liberal governors in whose states they live or their police forces who arrive with citations and arrest warrants.
We are seeing persecution of the Christian Church in America and too many conservative Christians are silent. Many pastors and preachers act like chickens, afraid of the secular authorities, and then act like sheep on the way to the slaughter.
Today, many pastors, preachers, and priests have been too quick to surrender to the State. They are blinded by the legal-sounding razzle-dazzle of “emergencies” and “executive orders,” with no basis in the Constitution. In Washington State, the situation is so bizarre that local authorities are providing beer and cigarettes (and until recently marijuana) to keep addicts in quarantine.
Marijuana has become the Soma of Brave New World, in order to keep the people satisfied.
For those who didn’t read the Aldous Huxley classic, Spark Notes provides this information: “Soma is a drug that is handed out for free to all the citizens of the World State. In small doses, soma makes people feel good. In large doses, it creates pleasant hallucinations and a sense of timelessness.”
I’m not saying our ministers are dope fiends. But if termination of religious services is not the tipping point, what about the cancellation of elections?
“The Democratic Presidential Primary rescheduled for June 23, 2020 has been cancelled,” proclaims the New York State Board of Elections. A left-wing progressive group, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA), is protesting this decision as an exercise in one-man rule by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. But where is the rest of America? Where are Republicans and independents rising up in protest?
Since our media enjoy protected status under various emergency or executive orders, they could care less. They will continue to swoon over Cuomo, who is assuming the role of pastor and care-giver. Never mind the state law which relegated the elderly to coronavirus death camps known as nursing homes.
It’s time for America’s religious leaders to come out of the closet and gather together to save freedom – and lives – in America. What will it take for the scales to fall from their eyes? The freedom they save may be their own.
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.