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0 comments | Saturday, November 19, 2005

In “Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau expressed his distress with the State and ideal of what true civil liberty was. He had somewhat of an unorthodox and probably ineffectual response to the governance of his time, but we can glean from some of his ideas. I don’t think his repudiation to pay taxes will suffice today; however, he truly contained the insight of the individual and collective governance.

It seems today, that no matter who obtains office, perversion always prevails. Thoreau stated that government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Truer today than ever, we are battling with the perversion of government, and dispensing with our own collective wills in silence.

Thoreau, however, does not decree disposal of government, nor do I. We share this thought in common:

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at one no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.
Being a voice is decisive to civil stewardship, justice, and liberty. Thoreau's unwillingness to compromise was not a sign of perversity and anarchy—but of principle. However, this principal has faded away and unfortunately, the contemporary Church as a whole has apparently ignored our stewardship to this country and the protection and preservation of our principles. As the Church grows in numbers and power, our moral grounding and cultural values slowly decay. Why is it that “mega-churches” are uprising throughout America; yet pro-choice and homosexual advocates prevail in legislative battles?

As a body, we have failed to confront the perversions surrounding us. In many cases, for the sake of “tolerance”, the Church has embraced our foes. TV evangelists eloquently speak of “God’s love”, but dare not address the attack of moral values in our society. Thoreau recognized the inherent inadequacy of lip service and said “we love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire.”

Thoreau’s ideal of government is even more distant today than ever. However, though there are crucial problems we battle with, we have the greatest system there is. There is no other country that can reflect the liberty and freedom we have; but were loosing it. This is why it’s important that Christians (i.e. the Church) escape from their isolated bubble and transform the culture from within. Thus, we must make known the voice of our will.

Society is just a collection of individuals; if we begin to effect one individual at a time, we will affect society. Moreover, if we make known to our current representatives our contempt for immorality—we may prevail. This will not be effortless—there’s already an invisible muzzle adhered to our lips. But we must break the silence and stop the decline of our values and of our society. Most importantly—we cannot forget God. For without God—nothing is of consequence and nothing is of virtue.

My concern is afresh from a long decline and removal of what is of most consequence—one that will ultimately determine the fate of America. Thus, I close with the words of President Lincoln in his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, March 30, 1863:

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.*

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