On the Lam for Jesus

And of course we should all know that Christians ought not to be scofflaws. We are to be among the best citizens a magistrate ever had — we should be diligent and hard-working, dutiful and responsible, so that we might put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. We should bake the best cakes in Colorado, but not for the homo-fest, sorry.

But wait . . . doesn’t the Bible say that we must do whatever they say we must do — cakes, flowers, incense to Caesar, the works? Well, no (Acts 5:29).

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Pet. 2:13–17).

So let’s take a look at some of the actions of the man who wrote those words — and not in order to charge him with hypocrisy.

“And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him” (Acts 12:7–10).

Peter then went over to John Mark’s house, left a message, and disappeared from the book of Acts a wanted man, on the lam, with his picture in all the post offices.

This was what we might call a jailbreak, and it was not just a bit of innocent fun. The guards involved were executed for negligence they had not been guilty of (Acts 12:19), and yet, despite the seriousness of the issues, Peter did not consult with a bunch of modern Christians, who would have urgently advised that he turn himself in — citing, as they did so, with tears in their eyes, 1 Peter 2:13-17.

An idea worth developing . . .

An idea worth developing . . .

What we desperately need in these times of amoral chaos is recognize that the obedience of the Christian man will frequently be taken by tyrants as something other than the righteous obedience before God that it actually is. What did Jehoiada do? He honored the king. What did Athaliah call it? She called it treason (2 Kings 11:14). While we are not surprised that she would call it that, we are surprised that lots of modern Christian political theory listens to her.

I am reminded of that great line in Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood. “Sir, you speak treason!” “Fluently.”

The Mind of a Free Man

Villainy is not honest. I mean, c’mon.

This means that when rulers are ungodly, we should expect them to be like their father, the devil, who is the father of liars (John 8:44). When they lie, they speak their native language. Bitterness and cursing are under their tongue, but of course never at the press conference.

False teachers do not knock on your door with a brief case full of literature, and say, “Hello, I am here from the devil, and I have come to lead you into eternal torments.” That kind of stuff never makes it into the brochures.

False kings have confidence in the American people. They simper, flatter, and coo. They do what they do “for the children,” meaning of course the ones they haven’t chopped up — but all very constitutionally.

Now this is not just a character assessment. It has ramifications. And the ramifications directly affect, at the end of the day, our compliance. Or, I should say, if we are following the ramifications, our lack of compliance.

Think of it this way. We know that when they say same sex mirage is marriage, they are wrong. It isn’t. When they say that an unborn child, that rejected son or daughter, is just a lump of tissue, they are wrong. He or she isn’t. When they say that we can borrow trillions backed by nothing but the whistling wind, and grow wealthy thereby, they are wrong. We can’t.

All this is obvious to us, and it is why we are having the political conflicts we are having. But take it a step further.

These same people, these people to whom the truth is as rigid as their tongues, which is to say, not very, say things about their authority to impose their legal grotesqueries, and call it constitutional. But this is just as much a lie as the other stuff. Their cargo is two ton pallets of lies, but so is their flat bed truck. And they are just blowing down the road.

They say that what they are doing is constitutional. But it is not. They say that what they are doing is legal. But it is not. They say that what they are doing is lawful. They lie. They say that they have the authority to do these things. They do not. They say that we have to honor their decisions. We do not. God “frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;” (Is.

The legal reasoning is probably over your head. Don't worry about it.

The legal reasoning is probably over your head. Don’t worry about it.

44:25).

In short form — and I know I will need to develop this further — Romans 13 does not apply. We do not have to dutifully honor illegal laws. We are not under the authority of the lie.

Before I develop it in weeks to come, conduct a thought experiment for yourself. Suppose the president appoints a czar, a czar of a task force that is called the We Don’t Care About the Constitution Task Force. They issue decrees and regulations, and, of course, promulgate stuff. They tell you that you and your family must comply with these Ridiculous Measures, and of course, you must do so because of the Crisis. Are you bound, or not?

I am talking about your conscience, and not about judgments of prudence. I might give a mugger my wallet without conceding his right to it, and I have no obligation to tell him about the five hundred dollars in my boot. I might hand over something to the government for the same reasons that I would hand over stuff to the pirates who had captured my ship.

Get the principle down first. They are lawless, and they lie about it.

A Covenant of Salt, or The Politics of Envy

The Lord Jesus compares His followers to two things, salt and light (Matt. 5:13-14). Salt that loses its saltiness is despised by men, and as a consequence is walked on. Light that is hidden from men is not something they respond to at all—because it is hidden from them. So we either have a no reaction of contempt or no reaction of ignorance. In order to get a response, according to this passage, we have to be salty Christians. So what does it mean to be salt?

Our first reaction, of course, should be to turn to Leviticus . . .

“As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour. And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt” (Lev. 2:12–13; cf. Num. 18:19).

Notice that this requirement is given in the context of a first fruits offering, an offering of thanksgiving. It must be seasoned with salt, and this salt is called the salt of the covenant. It apparently means something that is a big deal. And then the law adds that this salt should be added to all their offerings.

It also appears (to me) to be the passage that Paul is alluding to here:

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

Notice also that this element, whatever it is, enables you to know how to answer every man. This includes discourse in the public square, in addition to conversations over the back fence with your neighbor. Our language is sacrificial, and is to be seasoned with salt, seasoned with gratitude, and full of grace.

Then Jesus gives us an odd juxtaposition between being salted with fire in judgment and salted with salt. He says that to be salted with salt is good, and He ties it in with the sacrifices. And He then ties those sacrifices in with our lives in community.

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another” (Mark 9:48–50).

Taking these passages together, I understand salt to be a type of thanksgiving, a type of gratitude. And this means that salt is freedom from envy.

On Ransacking the Penumbrae

When confronted with the prospect of a devolution into tyranny, most Christians are clear on the nature of such tyranny, and the fact that it is bad, but are unclear on their liberty to oppose and disregard it. No, I should say more — on their duty to oppose and disregard it.

The evangelical baker and the Roman Catholic flower arranger who are hauled off into sensitivity training for refusing to strike an insufficiently celebratory pose over same sex mirage are being abused, no question. But . . . what about Romans 13, and the lions, and the coliseum? Shouldn’t we just take it?

Well, yes and no. If we were in the position of the early Christians, building a new civilization from scratch, we should do exactly what they did. When we are not starting from scratch, we should live up to what we have attained. And one of the things we have attained — because the Spirit has been at work in the world on this particular project for two thousand years now — is the rule of law.

Our current system of administrative rules, regulations, laws, and penalty kicks, is not just a bad system of governance, although it is that. It is — all of it — profoundly unlawful. Most of it has gone well past the point of being unconstitutional, and is now overtly anti-constitutional.

The system of governance we are operating under today is the very kind of governance that our constitutional system was designed to preclude and prevent. Administrative law, hidden for a time under the executive, is the assertion of the old absolutist prerogative. What Obama has been doing is taking the dictatorial impulse that has been running riot in the agencies for some time now, and exercising it out in the broad light of day, along with an invitation to “sue me.”

Dog and Madog. Apropos of nothing. Do not try to relate this to the content of the post.

Dog and Madog. Apropos of nothing. Do not try to relate this to the content of the post.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the outlaws are those who are violating it. The outlaws are not those who want to live by it. Should I go over this again?

But — and here is where a knowledge of the American War for Independence is necessary — what if the authorities designated by the Constitution to determine whether such things are constitutional say that everything is a-okay? What then?

Numerous Piles of Blue Ruination

Boehner has announced that he disagrees with the growing calls for the impeachment of Obama. This is tactically shrewd, but nobody should mistake what I mean by tactically shrewd. When Jesus said that a king should take care to determine whether his ten thousand could take the king with twenty thousand, He was not saying anything about the actual merits of the case (Luke 14:31).

There is no question in my mind but that Obama deserves to be impeached. But he has gotten to this particular imperial point, disregarding the law with all the disdain of a sun king, for the same reason that any attempt at an orderly process of impeachment would devolve into a Washington circus maximus ten times worse than what happened with Clinton. He has gotten away with being corrupt because all of Washington is corrupt.

On being informed that the Justice Department was going to conduct an investigation to see if there had been any malfeasance.

On being informed that the Justice Department was going to conduct an investigation to see if there had been any malfeasance.

The impeachment process forced Richard Nixon out because the media was in full-throated cry against him, and then as a result his political base of support collapsed. Everybody thought that 18 minutes of conversation that went missing on the White House tapes was beyond fishy. We are now dealing with years of missing emails from Lois Lerner, and while there is outrage on the right, the whole thing can still be called contained. Call this fishiness inflation. If there is water to be carried, the media will carry it.

But that is a read on what it is like inside the Beltway. It is a read on how the cultural centers of Manhattan and LA would process any law-abiding attempts to remove Obama by rule. When we get to this point in the game, the rules are a hindrance to those who follow them, and a help to those who are willing cheerfully to bend and break them.

And Free Chocolate Milk for All . . .

The uproar on the left over the Hobby Lobby decision has an explanation. That explanation is that we have allowed our understanding of what is meant by rights and liberties to become badly degraded. In fact, to simplify, the common understanding of rights has gotten into a condition of extreme labefactation. So to speak.

The left tends to think of political rights in terms of stuff — the right to affordable housing, the right to health care, the right to contraception, and so on. Conservatives tend to think of political rights in terms of non-interference — the right to free speech, the right to assemble, the right to worship God freely, and so forth.

Now rights always imply corresponding obligations. If I have a right to life, others have an obligation not to shoot me. If I have a right to keep and bear arms, others have a responsibility not to take those arms away from me. If I have a right to peaceably assemble, then others have the obligation not to disrupt my peaceful assembly, and so on.

In a similar — yet strikingly different — way, if I have a right to free chocolate milk, then somebody has an obligation to provide it for me. If I have a right to free health care, then someone has an obligation to provide free health care. If I have a right to free contraception, then someone must buy it for me.

Actually, the First Lady called. She wants to change it to free soy milk for all.

Actually, the First Lady called. She wants to change it to free soy milk for all.

This different conception of rights is why the right and left reacted in completely different ways to the Hobby Lobby decision. The left paraded placards that said they wanted their boss to stay out of their bedroom. But they sure wanted their boss’s wallet in the bedroom. If they have a right to free contraception, then their boss has an obligation to follow them into the bedroom with that free contraception. They cannot demand this, and then object to his presence there.

But they do object. They object because they are depending upon the “give me stuff” conception of rights, while still trying to utilize the old rhetorical power of the “leave me alone” conception of rights. But this is trying to have it both ways — and we have gotten way past the point where you can have it both ways.

Keeping the boss out of your bedroom is similar to keeping the government out of it. The government out of the bedroom, aye. This, from people who want the government to dictate how far apart the sheetrock screws in the bedroom wall have to be, how flame resistant the mattress is, how big the window is for an escaping adulterer’s ease of egress, or perhaps because of fire, and whether or not one can buy an incandescent light bulb for the lamps in that bedroom.

Time to Go Buy a Glue Gun

When it comes to appointments to the Supremes, there is supposed to be — as all pretend — no litmus test to be applied. There actually is one, however, and the Democrats do a much better job reading the results of said litmus tests. Their appointees turn out true blue, for the most part, while the Republican appointments are hit and miss.

Nevertheless, elections matter, and nevertheless, who makes the appointments matters also. In the Hobby Lobby case just handed down, a significant protection for our religious liberties was kept intact, and here is the breakout.

Voting for the majority on this case were the Republican appointees:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. (George W. Bush)
Antonin Scalia (Ronald Reagan)
Anthony M. Kennedy (Ronald Reagan)
Clarence Thomas (George H.W. Bush)
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. (George W. Bush)

In the dissent, we find all the Democrat appointees:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Bill Clinton)
Stephen G. Breyer (Bill Clinton
Sonia Sotomayor (Barack Obama)
Elena Kagan (Barack Obama)

I am not withdrawing prior criticisms of the Republican appointees, particularly on issues like abortion. They should have done a lot better than they have. At the same time, it is a matter of grateful astonishment to me that we have had almost six years of Obama, and we still have a Court capable of a decision like this one. It is quite possible that we will make it through the next two years of Obama’s tenure without him being able to move the Court leftward at all. I am very grateful to God.

Also, by the way, if you live within driving distance of a Hobby Lobby, go in there and buy something random, like a glue gun, just to say thank you.

Contempt for Sharkey Law

The difference between an unbelieving libertarian and an unbelieving leftist is quite simple to grasp. The unbelieving libertarian wants to go to Hell, and the unbelieving leftist wants to do the same thing, but wants me to pay for it.

Both need the gospel, and both present a problem for the evangelist. There is a spiritual problem in both instances. But the leftist, in addition to his spiritual problems, is also a public nuisance. He creates political and cultural problems, mostly having to do with various forms of coercion, compulsion, mandatory regulation, and forced labor for the pyramids. All these are covered by his all-purpose favorite euphemistic verb, which is “to ask.” We want to ask the well-off to pay their fair share. We want to ask small companies to provide health coverage they can’t afford. We want to ask the pyramid slaves to get their butts in gear.

They are the dyslexic party. They look at compulsion and read compassion.

Now none of this makes the libertine libertarian a fine fellow. Pot-smokers are not going to build anything, much less the City of God. But while they may not be any help to us in what we are seeking to build, neither are they “asking” us to buy their pot for them. The problem they present — and it is one — can wait for another day.

But in the meantime, the idol of the state has a maw that can gulp down trillions of dollars at one go. It all began with disguised coercion, moved on to corruption and coercion, and it is now ending with open corruption and open coercion. We are rapidly approaching the point where the only reasonable response is open defiance.

What Kind or PersonThe enlistment of the IRS as a partisan organization, designed to run interference against lawful political organization is an example of high wickedness. The president famously said there was “not a smidgen of corruption” with the IRS scandal. That’s right. It was not a smidgen, it was a smoking pile.

When the law shows open contempt for an honest citizenry, it is not long before that honest citizenry — in order to remain such — must show open contempt for what is being called “the law.” And for those Christians who are not well-read in the history of biblical civil disobedience, contempt for Sharkey-law is not the same thing as contempt for the rule of law. Just the reverse, actually.

“All right, all right!” said Sam. “That’s quite enough. I don’t want to hear no more. No welcome, no beer, no smoke, and a lot of rules and orc-talk instead” (The Return of the King, p. 977)

“What’s all this?” said Frodo, feeling inclined to laugh.

“This is what it is, Mr. Baggins,” said the leader of the Shirriffs, a two-feather hobbit: “You’re arrested for Gate-breaking, and Tearing up of Rules, and Assaulting Gate-keepers, and Trespassing, and Sleeping in Shire-buildings without Leave, and Bribing Guards with Food.”

And what else?” said Frodo.

“That’ll do to go on with,” said the Shirriff-leader.

“I can add some more, if you’d like it,” said Sam. “Calling your Chief Names, Wishing to punch his Pimply Face, and Thinking you Shirriffs look a lot of Tom-fools” (p. 978).