“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
This is from a letter penned by Thomas Jefferson, and serves as a warning and a principle for the governed and those who govern them. It is not normal for a government to be benevolent and restrained — in fact, human nature craves the exact opposite. Those in power inevitably want more and more, unless their ambitions are resisted. Only when offices are held under extreme standards and checks and balances can this tide be stemmed. It may be messy, but this is one pillar that has sustained the United States for centuries. It does not always work as intended, but liberty has always won out.
Freedom, however, is not a guarantee. The Founders also said a great deal about the constant warfare that freedom entails. Not bloodshed, but vigilance and stewardship. Jefferson also said this, quite plainly: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The master poet Phillis Wheatley, herself suffering under a demonic suffocation of freedom in slavery, pointed where freedom truly arises from. She declares: “In every human breast, God has implanted a principle, which we call love of freedom; it is impatient of oppression and pants for deliverance.”
When a government organization forgoes their boundaries and steps over a line that ought not be crossed, outrage must be the response. Not violence or destruction, but focused anger at rooting out injustice. Jesus Himself was no weakling when it came to addressing corruption. He did not only use His voice, but His might when he drove out those who turned the Temple into a place to cheat and oppress the poor.
The apostle Paul lays out what a truly godly government looks like in the oft-abused and misquoted passage from Romans 13. He says,
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:3–4)
This, obviously, was rarely true for Christians living under Rome’s iron fist. But we, in these United States, have long lived (thank God!) under a government who initially aimed to be this very same sword against evil, and servants to those who do good. This, too, has often failed and fumbled, as our own history tells us. But it has not been for a lack of effort, and has produced good for the world.
When a government office flagrantly and shockingly invades a private citizen over something as flimsy and foolish as a document dispute, the people should rise up. When it is yet another fruitless effort by thugs to prove criminal intent, after four and a half-years of the same, the only response should be skepticism. Lawyers, former governors, and former cabinet members alike have all expressed, to varying degrees, how simply outrageous this entire situation with the FBI is.
When the Secretary of State has her devices destroyed by her staff to hide evidence, there is no consequence. When she and the administration behind her refuse to cooperate with authorities, her home isn’t raided. When a degenerate and serial drug abuser boasts about his familial connection to a now-sitting President, and has records of corrupt dealings, it is swept under the rug and buried. That is not justice. Where was the shocking early-morning raid, televised in an obvious attempt to humiliate?
I don’t intend to be a fear monger. But this truly is an unprecedented act, that very poorly reflects on the intents of current government toward freedom. Engaging in a wholly political act that uses the law as an unjust weapon against an opponent is not something that should ever happen. The American people have the right to know the character of their leaders, and to act accordingly. It is essential to liberty that the people be armed with the knowledge that they hold power over those who are meant to serve them:
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right…and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” — John Adams
As an American, I am sick and seething with anger. I will not allow it to dominate me, but I know that this is a wild injustice.
As a Christian, I can (and must) respond with the same cold, powerful will as Christ, when He was faced with far worse and far more evil injustice:
“You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” (John 19:11)
This was said to Pilate, a governor of a pagan and evil empire that represents everything the Founders would rather die than see their American experiment become. Even here, God is God. God endures the evil of man with gritted teeth and billowing heat from His nostrils — and a ready hand to mete swift, measured, and mighty justice. As a Christian, evil does not surprise me, nor do the instabilities of governments, nations, and people. But there comes a time where we must say these words to the faces of those who refuse to do justice:
“You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” (Acts 13:10–11)
No violence, no permanent curses or unrestrained vengeance. Just the truth.
This, also, is the truth:
“The people…are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” — Thomas Jefferson
We are the People. We have the power to take a stand, to do what is right. It will not be done through violence or anger, but we must preserve our liberty, and the liberty of those who will be here when we are gone. It will take courage, and it will take time.
Use your voice. It doesn’t matter whether you supported a specific candidate in the past, but it does matter that you seek out those who would defend liberty to the death alongside those they would govern and protect.
Partner with them— and win.
Let those who flirt with tyranny and mock liberty know they serve YOU.
Remind those who abuse their authority Who put them there.