Recently, in defending the Administration’s immigration practices, Attorney General Sessions said:
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”
It’s not the first time the Bible and, in particular, the Apostle Paul, has been used to justify governmental action and quell dissent. For a long time, slavery was the beneficiary of such moral reasoning.
Having been reared in the Christian faith, I find such reasoning ludicrous. After all, it was the state that executed the leader of this faith tradition and it was the state that executed Paul. The suggestion that Jesus thought one should always obey the government or any human authority for that matter is ridiculous on its face.
Governments throughout history have blood on their hands resulting from what any conscientious person would consider immoral acts.
Yet people like the Attorney General and presumably his boss the president (since Mr. Trump did not dispute the remarks or reign in his A.G.) continue to use the Bible to justify their acts and quell dissent.
The way I see it, Vera, is that the rule of law is important. Yet not all laws and government action warrant respect or obedience. Sometimes, one’s moral conscience requires one to disobey, recognizing that disobedience can carry stiff consequences.
I hope you never find yourself faced with this dilemma. But the odds of it happening are not remote.
So what is one to do?
That’s a decision for each person to make in light of his or her own principles and beliefs. No matter what you decide, I do think it’s important to own your decision and not try to pass it off on the Bible or words of a long-dead man who’s perceived as being holy or righteous or as having had a direct link to the divine.
Own your decisions. And decide whether, in your life, the highest authority is your government. Or something else.