After my post on Rand Paul and National Review, I got various responses, and so I want to write about two divergent but representative takes. In effect, one response is that things are better than I think, and the other response is that things are way worse than I think. Because I am Chestertonian in outlook, I am quite prepared to believe that both are correct in some fashion, but I still want to skootch around a bit in reply.
First, I know that a number of Christians are employed by the intelligence community, and I know that their intention in doing their work is to protect the nation. I know that they believe that there are reasonable safeguards in place — otherwise they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing. So none of what I have written is intended as a slam on people in that position.
At the same time, the safeguards are clearly not adequate, and this is true whatever view you take of Snowden. If Snowden is right, then the federal government has access to all kinds of information about me and mine that they ought not to have. And if Snowden is a treasonous little sneak, he — a low-level functionary — somehow managed to get his mitts on truckloads of sensitive information. Who let him do that?
My argument on this is simple. It is not that the metadata is currently being abused, right this minute. My question is what should we expect if a scandal in this area did arise? Given Snowden, this is entirely possible, right? Why would we think that Obama’s spinners and the national media would play it any differently than they have played the other outrageous things that have been happening? Obama got elected to the Senate in the first place because his opponent’s sealed divorce records were made public. Obama plays Chicago ball, and no, I am not referring to the Cubs.
So Christians in the intelligence community should remain right where they are, and do their level best to catch the next Boston marathon bomber. That is noble work. But given the political climate, they should go to work every day prepared to wreck their own careers for the sake of principle. They should know what the trip wires are, and they should identify those trip wires long before any pressure is being applied to them.
If they have not thought through such contingencies, they are not prepared to be in the place they are in. Many departments in the government are already run by the corruptocrats, and they want to spread to all the others. Christians in the military, for example, are being squeezed out. What makes us think the same thing won’t happen in the intelligence community? So if you are in the intelligence community, use your intelligence.
The second point is that the bulk of Christians are clueless as to what has happened. “Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?” Now I do know that conspiracies abound. The kings of the earth frequently take very little persuading regarding attempts to reject the rule of the Lord Christ.
“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof” (Eze. 22:23-25).
There are conspiracies, but the Bible tells us where to look for them. Color me suspicious, but if a global cabal is doing their thing by extending all their tentacles, I am unlikely to discover the deep secret because of a Facebook post about Monsanto.
“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Is. 8:12-13, ESV).
Ezekiel says that the real problem was a conspiracy of prophets. His language there is probably being echoed by the apostle Peter, when he says that the devil is seeking to devour the saints (1 Pet. 5:8). A conspiracy of prophets — kept prophets, let us call them — who have maneuvered themselves to that cozy place where they can reassure or alarm the saints at their leisure. The reassurance will no doubt concern same sex mirage, and the alarm will have something to do with stewardship and climate change.
And the solution — the only solution — to all the perils that confront us is a great and deep reformation. It will happen, according to Isaiah, when the church honors the Lord of hosts as holy, when we fear the Lord properly, and when He becomes our dread.