The media is exploding with the latest news about this NSA whistleblowing scandal. I was looking over this today and this got me thinking: as a Christian, how should I be responding to this and if I were in this situation, what would I do? Do I face persecution from the government for exposing unethical practices or do I remain quiet, follow the letter of the law and quiet my own conscious? What is the appropriate response as Christians and as law-abiding citizens?
This is a very interesting question. There isn’t really a Christian response to the PRISM program. You can’t turn to a Bible verse that gives you the definitive answer on the right to digital privacy and how to act if it is violated. This is the case with almost all political discussions. There isn’t such a thing as a Christian political theory. So that means a couple of things. It means we have to do some thinking and evaluating on our own, and it means that there is room for disagreement.
The clearest things that the New Testament says about government is that you should pay your taxes (Mark 12:17) and you should respect the authority of government (Romans 13). The amazing thing about representative, elected government, is that you can fulfill those commands while totally disagreeing with the government and trying to affect change. You can organize, protest, and campaign against a policy and those politicians who support it, all while respecting the institutions of government and being respectful of those people with whom you disagree. Some people go way to far and are violent or angry or hateful with such protests, that is pretty clearly un-Christian.
The political discourse in America (and I would imagine other countries) is driven a lot by anger and fear. A lot of that fueled by a news media that has to fill 24 hours and makes money off of controversy. The Bible is very clear that the people of God should not be driven by fear (2 Timothy 1:7) or contentious anger (Matthew 5:22).
Unfortunately, some religious people try to take those two negative forces from secular politics and mix them in with Christianity. These same people tend to go on about how important the Bible is, while blatantly ignoring something it clearly says. Go figure.
So, while there is not a “Christian” side of most political issues, we can gleam a biblical method for arriving at our decisions. If somebody is trying to convince you to come to their way of thinking using fear, anger, and vitriolic name calling (fascist, communist, unpatriotic, etc) that is not something that should factor into a follower of Jesus’ decision making process.
God gave you a set of priorities and a unique conscience. Those will not be the same as other people’s. That can lead to people who love Jesus having differing takes on political issues, and that is okay. The thing to remember is that all of our political theories and allegiances are secondary to our subjugation to the kingship of Jesus Christ. Your politics do not define you. Christ defines you. It is okay to have opinions, to be passionate, but it is integral to remember that Jesus is over all.
-Matt from The Bridge