Self Defense

If the mainstream media is to be believed — even as I write those words I have to laugh because, of course, they are not to be believed, but if they are — then Democrat congressmen have been the “victims” of death threats and vandalism since their unconstitutional vote to pass what they call “healthcare reform legislation.”

Now, politics is a rough game — especially the Chicago-style politics favored by Barack Obama and his minions. I don’t doubt for a second that their own people are calling in threats to Democrats and throwing bricks through windows as a means of demonizing and marginalizing those of us who are angry with what they’ve done. In fact, I’m convinced that is the case, at least in part.

But just for a moment let’s play “what if.”

What if all of these things have been done by Americans who are angry about the passage of the recent “healthcare reform” bill? Why on earth would they do things such as have been reported? Perhaps an analogy will help…

Let’s suppose you move into a new neighborhood and open up a small business. Let’s further suppose one day a couple of guys walk into your establishment.

“Big Otis sent us to collect your payment,” the first one says.

“Y’know,” says the second, “Your fee for our protection.”

You, of course, haven’t contracted for “protection” nor do you know anyone named “Big Otis,” and you tell them so.

“It’d be bad if something happened to your place here,” says the first guy. “I mean, robberies, fires — it’s a dangerous neighborhood. You’d better just give us your payment and everything will be fine.”

Again you refuse.

They tell you that people who are late with their payments pay a “penalty” — usually a broken arm.

So, you defend yourself and your property against two thugs sent by someone named “Big Otis” — and they leave. It is a cut-and-dried case of self-defense. But who is really the aggressor in this case? Is it the thugs who darken your door, or is it Big Otis?

You are obviously justified in defending yourself against the thugs when they show up, but you know the assaults won’t stop because Big Otis will just keep sending thugs. So, are you justified in finding Big Otis and putting a stop to it directly? Is it still self-defense?

I think the answer is obvious.

So, what is the difference between having your property stolen and your life threatened by a street gang and having your property stolen and your life threatened by a gang that calls itself “the government?”

And before you try to claim that Jesus told us to submit to any and every government I suggest you read Lord of the Law in it’s entirety — because everything that Caesar claims is his is not his. And before you claim that theft and taxes are not the same thing I suggest you read Charity or Robbery — because most taxation is, in fact, the same thing as theft. A majority vote does not justify theft.

Why draw this comparison? Because the actions of a mobster who wants to collect protection money is clearly an assault. The actions of a government may not appear to be so obviously an assault — until you look at it objectively.

Big Otis sent people to take your money for services you neither asked for nor needed. In fact, you stated your objection to the services from the beginning. Big Otis wanted to force you to accept his services. He even went so far as to threaten physical harm if you failed to comply.

Now, the federal government of the United States is sending people to take our money for services we neither asked for nor need. In fact, most of us have openly objected to the implementation of these services. But, like Big Otis, our government is going to force us to accept these services. They are going to steal our money to pay for these services and the services, themselves, are going to so degrade the quality of health care in our country that they amount to a physical assault. In the not-to-distant future many of us will be denied care we need on the basis that it costs the government too much. It is a threat to our health and even our very lives.

And if the people who are threatening congressional Democrats are actually the same people who opposed the legislation, then they are doing it in self-defense. Congressional Democrats have assaulted the American people in the same way Big Otis assaults shop owners in the neighborhood. But, like Big Otis, they didn’t do it face-to-face. They hide behind legislation and government enforcement agencies and pretend they are justified in their actions — which, of course, they are not.

This sort of thing is nothing new.

Augustine of Hippo, a Christian theologian and apologist who lived in the 4th and 5th centuries, commented on this very thing in his book, The City of God

“Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a vast scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms? A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of `kingdom,’ which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity. For it was a witty and a truthful rejoinder, which was given by, a captured pirate to Alexander the Great. The king asked the fellow, `What is your idea, in infesting the sea?’ And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, `The same as yours, in infesting the earth! But because I do it with a tiny craft, I’m called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you’re called an emperor.”

So why even bring any of this up? Because, as Christians we need to understand that wicked men will always try to plunder what they can, whether they wear the title “emperor,” or “pirate,” “mob boss,” or “president.” From time-to-time all of them step beyond their legitimate authority and engage in criminal behavior. And when they do we need to stop pretending that one is any better than the other.

There is only one who is deserving of our devotion. Only one who harbors no ulterior motive and no hidden agenda. There is only one who is righteous, holy, and worthy of our loyalty. And it is His kingdom with which we need to be concerned — which is the whole point of Augustine’s City of God. Give it a read sometime.

About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

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