I Will Not Obey
The term “politics” is a broad term that can refer to the administration of affairs in different contexts. In a sense, the word has taken on a negative connotation, and we use it shorthand for the evils of statism, the bureaucracy, or decisions that protect an institution at the expense of individuals. When I say that Christians should disassociate themselves from politics, I am referring to these. Of course, Christians should be concerned with politics as it relates to the realm of legitimate governance, that is, based on God’s centers of authority – the family, the Church, and those who carry out social functions based on natural moral law principles. What I see as problematic, and I am aware there are Christians that disagree, is when professing Christians seek to harness the power of the State instead of wanting to see it abolished, when professing Christians submit to the State instead of opposing it, and when professing Christians consider the “Righteous State” to be the source of salvation rather than the Church.
It appears that some professing Christians care more about advancing the well-being of an Empire than opposing the Empire as Kingdom of God people. They seem more interested in protecting and advancing the institutions of the Empire, rather than identifying the Empire as an enemy of Christ and his Church. The interests of their preferred earthly kingdom come before making disciples of all nations.
America has its own religion, patriarchs, holy documents, religious hymns, and ideology, and they have nothing to do with Christ and his Church, even if they mention the title “God” from time to time. Many professing Christians worship at the altar of Americanism, thinking their “Christianity” and service to the Empire are somehow compatible. Doug Stewart, CEO of the Christian Libertarian Institute, said it right, in my opinion, when he said there is something wrong with any version of Christianity that is not a threat to Empire (*See footnote). Yet so many Christians try to form an alliance between the two that is untenable, and in my opinion, idolatrous.
Former Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, has been writing, speaking, and sitting for interviews, and many think it is due to political aspirations – he may be gearing up to run for the presidency. Pence professes to be a Christian. I do not know him and will not confirm or deny his claim. When speaking about homosexual marriage and abortion, Pence says that he is “for” traditional marriage, between a man and a woman, and that he is staunchly pro-life. Yet in an interview on Face the Nation, when asked about his views on the codification of “homosexual marriage”, Pence stated: "We can disagree with Supreme Court decisions, but we can't disobey them.” “I respect the pronouncements of the Court. And I actually think it's just as important as we go forward as a nation, that we make it clear that we don't believe in discrimination against anyone because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe." (Source)
We can’t disobey them? I respect this pronouncement? Spoken like a “good” American. But not like a Christian. Maybe this was just a careless answer. Perhaps he was being diplomatic. The former could be excused, if clarified (though I don't see how this could have been a mistake). The latter is inexcusable for a professing Christian. Imagine Peter saying the following when he was commanded to stop preaching in the name of Christ:
“Well, sirs, we don’t have to agree with your pronouncement, but we have to obey it.”
No, he didn’t say that. But then again, he wasn’t running for elected office in the Empire.
Peter, in defiance of an illegitimate political and religious decree stated:
“.....We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
Again, I do not personally know Pence, I can only go on what I see and hear. But his words sound like the words of a person that does not want to offend the sensibilities of perverts or those who support their perversion (voters, media), to go against the legislation of the Empire (even though it contradicts the moral law of God), or to undermine American institutions (the god of many), and not the words of a man or woman that pledges allegiance to the Kingdom of God alone and defies the institutions of the world by saying – Do what you will, but only God defines marriage, and as a member of the Body of Christ I have no part nor lot with your kingdom rules.
What the Church does should never be impacted by what the Empire does. They have no connection. Whatever happened to “come out from among them and be ye separate”? You don’t impact the lost by joining their institutions. They will see that you validate their institutions and de-legitimize God’s centers of authority just as they do. How disappointed I was to read those words, but not surprised. “We may disagree, but we have to obey.”
Let it be known that I pledge allegiance to no earthly kingdom or its institutions. I do not respect the decisions of unbelieving courts and judges, as Paul, who said: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?”, and “But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.” He did not speak positively of the institutions of Empire, but rather spoke of them with scorn. He said that matters of dispute, politics if you will, are to be dealt with in the Church – not before the pagan courts.
I will not promote the State, or an Empire, or any nation of people (America is not a nation, it is a State that rules a territory where, historically, nations have existed) as being the world’s hope, nor will I accept their pronouncements as legitimate.
I will not obey the American State – I submit to the Kingdom of God alone.
~No King but Christ
(*) I do not claim the label "libertarian" when speaking to people or when I write, I just say that I am a Christian, but I feel strongly that the State (in every form) is an enemy of Christ and Christians and thus I share the libertarian stance against it. I suppose I can say it like this: my opposition to selfishness, secular humanism, Satan, and the State is as a Christian, and I find the principles of anarcho-capitalism, when it comes to how people should interact with each other in the world, to be consistent with the moral law of God.