In the course of human events, the lines between religious and civil responsibility can become blurred. We are at such a time. President Biden has issued a mandate to employers and they are blindly following the edict. In the flurry of perspectives on the issue, cowardice has emerged at the forefront of American life. Individuals are more concerned with the “vaccine” rather than the principles upon which their decisions should be made. Christians are putting forward what can only be considered religious excuses. Religious exemptions, in this context, do not help the common good. They only help an individual looking for a transcendent “out” from their intrinsic responsibility to make decisions that stand on the truth.
Human beings are bound by natural law, not divine law, to reject abusive and unjust laws. This is because natural law, in this life, pertains to all human beings while divine law applies only to those who freely submit to its obligations. Christians are held to a higher standard. They are required by God to demonstrate a true following of his natural order. With Christ as their guide, they are to demonstrate a peaceful and willful acceptance of the consequences when political and societal persecution inevitably arise, whether that comes from enemies or complicit friends and family.
The vaccine mandate is an unjust decree by a President who believes himself to be a king. We do not serve kings; we serve God and His common good. As such, it would be a contradiction to exercise a religious exemption from the vaccine. In using a religious exemption, Christians would be seeking their own good at the expense of the common good. You may have legal authority to reject these vaccines on religious grounds, but is that what’s best for our society? Are we looking for Christians to be a “special” class of citizen that the government must tip-toe around based on the claim “I prayed about it, so I don’t have to do it.”? What kind of precedent are we setting for other erroneous religious claims?
We must resist based not on an exemption, but on the truth. The truth is always better than an exemption. The truth is that human beings and their bodies, whether they are religious or not, do not belong to an institution, they belong to God’s created order and as such they are free to live according to that order. Citing a meaningless exemption equivalent to “I prayed to the spaghetti monster, and he said I ought not do this” is not a religious exemption; it is a misuse of our religious rights. I would argue it is also sinful because it does not reflect the truth that Christians and human beings alike are to live according to truth, not exceptions. God never commanded us to use our religion as an excuse to avoid government lawlessness. On the contrary, Christ, who was murdered by the state as a religious-political enemy, took up his cross and accepted the consequences for his decision. During His crucifixion, the lines between the religious and political were completely merged and the consequences were unforeseen to the common man. But God…God saw the way to use the fire of hell and the blood of his Son to create a world that benefited, not just Christians, but all mankind.
Losing one’s job is a small price to pay in the hall of martyrs, saints, and heroes. If we Christians can’t suffer in this way at the hands of fellow believers or at the hands of the world blinded by fear, then Jordan Peterson is correct: “who dare say he believe in God!” What we face now is a mere splinter compared to the crosses that Christ says we are to bear. We have had many benefits in this life due to the sacrifices of men and women before us. But now the demons are carving the wood, they are sharpening the nails, and they are taunting you and me, saying, “Did God really say…take up your cross? God wouldn’t want that for you. He wants your family to have nice things. After all, it is written, ‘Does a father give his son a snake when asked for bread?’” Our response should be a resounding, “Our Lord did say this. But it is written that we should not fear the world, for He has overcome the world. It is also written, as our Savior boldly prayed, ‘Not my will; but Your will be done.’”
We must realize that the world may fashion our cross in the form of laws and decrees, but it’s God who gives us the power to bear it. It may break us; it may cut us; it may destroy us. But we must remember to fear not man, but God; for this is beginning of wisdom and a life well lived.
Very eloquent, moving, and most importantly, true. Thank you for your stand. Every such stand helps create courage in others.
Thanks for the kind words, James.
May God inspire others through you.
Thank you Laura. Appreciate it.
Thank you Daniel – May the Lord continue to work through and bless you for standing firm and sharing your written experience and conviction!