Obedience to Government

lunamoth

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A question sparked by Bananabrain's thread on non-violence in Islam, but this is for all religions having a law concerning obedience to one's government.

I know that in the NT Epistles there is a statement to the effect of obeying the laws of one's government, I know that Baha'i also have a law that they must obey, and also just learned that this is an Islamic law. I personally do not consider the NT statement a commandment from God (as I believe that Christians are under the law of Love), but it seems that most people who do consider this a law of God have the caveat that they must obey their government as long as it does not conflict with their religious obligations or laws.

The question then is...how do you decide which laws of government are OK to disobey because they go against your religious beliefs?


Could you hide a Jew in your attic if you were living in Nazi Germany?

Could you help a runaway slave on the Underground Railroad?

Could you protect a Baha'i in Iran if you are Muslim?

Can you refuse to go to war against a nation that has not provoked you if your government drafts you?

Can you give food and shelter to someone who is in need, but declared an enemy of your country?



This law about obedience to one's government seems like one that can't be treated rigidly as we must follow our conscience on matters like those above.
 
Hi lunamoth--I like the way you stated the question, and I too am learning from the thread that inspired it.

In "Tramp For The Lord", Corrie Ten Boom writes, "Faith is like a radar which sees through the fog."

If that fog happens to be issued by a less than forthcoming government, then I will have to rely on the eyes of faith rather than the law of the land.

InPeace,
InLove
 
Could you hide a Jew in your attic if you were living in Nazi Germany?

Could you help a runaway slave on the Underground Railroad?

Could you protect a Baha'i in Iran if you are Muslim?

Can you refuse to go to war against a nation that has not provoked you if your government drafts you?

Can you give food and shelter to someone who is in need, but declared an enemy of your country?
I would hope that when called to do anything similar to any of the above that I choose to follow a power higher than one created on paper.

'scuse me, someone is pounding on the door.
 
Well, this doesn't really go to your question directly, but as an American I have an implied duty to uphold and defend the Constitution. I actually swore to do that when I joined the military, but I think that it's an implied duty for all citizens. Under those terms I have an obligation to break the law when it is unconstitutionally formulated or enforced. I find that this point of view compliments the spirit of Christ's philosophy because it obligates me to stand up for the rights of the poor, disposessed, and against inequity and inequality of every sort.

Chris
 
Well, this doesn't really go to your question directly, but as an American I have an implied duty to uphold and defend the Constitution. I actually swore to do that when I joined the military, but I think that it's an implied duty for all citizens. Under those terms I have an obligation to break the law when it is unconstitutionally formulated or enforced. I find that this point of view compliments the spirit of Christ's philosophy because it obligates me to stand up for the rights of the poor, disposessed, and against inequity and inequality of every sort.

Chris

That's an interesting (and refreshing) take on the inherent meaning of the Constitution. Thank you for your input Chris!
 
It seems to me the most overlooked part about citizenship and the military oath is that we are to uphold the Constitution against all, foriegn and DOMESTIC. It often appears to me the folks that endangering the US and its constitution and its citizenry the most are in public office or other posititions of power...within our shores.
When one reads the Constitution, and the Declaration it can easily apply to many of the questions in the OP.
 
The Citizen's Oath...

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God. In acknowledgement whereof I have hereunto affixed my signature.

source: Ben's Guide (9-12): Citizenship -- The Oath of Citizenship
 
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