Secession and the Christian


With the caveat that I endeavor to keep political commentary far from this blog, I want to digress for a moment to address a political issue from a perspective of faith.

The issue at hand is the right of a state to secede from the United States of America. Currently, there are petitions on the White House website for nearly every state, individually, to secede from the United States (Here is the petition for sweet home Alabama).

I’m not going to get into the historic facts of attempts to secede that have occurred in the past, but I will quote the Declaration of Independence, and the particular phrase that gives everyone cause for the argument of leaving the Union:

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. 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. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

A particular quandary with the current petition approach is this line from the Declaration:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

If the signers of this current wave of petitions believe the current President a reincarnate of King George III, why would they expect a different outcome than the one received by their colonial forebears? We know the course of action that was taken when petitioning failed. There is a theory that history is cyclical.

Are we at that point in this Nation? It is not for me to say.  As a Christian I am compelled to obey the laws of the land, and to render unto Caesar what is his. I think the following passage from the letter written to the Romans sums it up pretty well:

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another; 11 in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer; 13 communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Set not your mind on high things, but condescend to things that are lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Render to no man evil for evil. Take thought for things honorable in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.19 Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath [of God]: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord. 20 But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)

And while we don’t have a king in the United States, but an elected President, the words of Peter are still applicable:

13 Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; 14 or unto governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that by well-doing ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:16 as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:13-17)

 Thus the command to honor the king is applicable to the President, whether we agree with his policies or not. Likewise, we are citizens and not servants, but this command is still applicable:

22Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: 23 whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; 24 knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (Colossians 3:22-25)

So what is my point in all this? Petitioning the White House for the right to secede is futile. It flags one as a dissenter and could be construed as treasonous. Does one really wish to potentially mark himself as an enemy of the state? I’ll not travel down that path myself. I’ll heed the sage advice of Joshua:

14 Now therefore fear Jehovah, and serve him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt; and serve ye Jehovah. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah. (Joshua 24:14-15)

It reminds me of the first verse of a song by Albert E. Brumley, This World is Not My Home:

This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

 In closing, in looking toward eternity, the grievances of this world really don’t matter that much. For perspective, we must remember the words of the Preacher:

13 [This is] the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) 

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