As the actions of our political leaders have been more and more tyrannical by the day, many are considering a turn towards more extreme civil disobedience, to the point of even inciting civil war. The anger of the people is warranted, as President Biden intends to weild the power of unelected and non-representative authorities like the Department of Labor by requiring effectively all workers in the United States to either get the COVID vaccine, submit to weekly COVID testing, or leave their job. Biden is also requiring vaccinations for government employees, military members, and healthcare workers, placing these individuals in the situation of having to choose between getting a possibly unwanted medical procedure and being able to provide for their families. Vaccination is already a prerequisite condition for attending certain events, like concerts, and proof of vaccination may soon be necessary for grocery shopping, attending worship services, and recieving medical care, among other things.
The American People have a right to be outraged at these asinine and tyrannical measures. However, Christians must be diligent to handle this situation diligently, seeking to honor God at all moments. Our government has long shown itself to have abdicated its role as a minister for the good of the people and a deacon of God’s justice on the earth (Romans 13). Many Christians in the United States have adopted a view that the government has some sort of “divine right” to authority, believing that since government is established by God, it can do no wrong, even when it consumes its own people. Historically, this theory has led to the death and ruin of millions. I have written against this view in my article entitled Against the Divine Right of Kings, where I have provided a review of historical Christian thought on the subject.
In light of the hell-bent desire for Joe Biden to make his administration the new Sun King, some Americans have expressed the idea of inciting a civil war against the powers that be on account of the tyranny that we are facing today. Polls suggest a plurality of Americans are expecing a civil war, and some believe that we are currently in a “cold” civil war. Gun and ammo sales are up, as well as sales of protective equipment, food storage products, and other measures that indicate preparatory measures being taken by the American people. Regardles of what will happen, or what is expected to happen, I want to outline some reasons 1) why a civil war would be a really bad idea, at least right now, and 2) what ought to be done for the time being instead.
There is a legitimate reason for war: namely, the desire for peace. This is the principle given to us by Augustine in his works on Just War Theory. Bloodlust and the desire for violence have no place in the Christian heart. War should be desired only as a means to the end of peace and liberty. Augustine’s Just War Theory can be summarized in a set of conditions that must be met before going to war. A just war must be:
A last resort only if all other peaceful means have failed. Many other means of resistance have not been tried yet. This includes street-level debate and discussion, opposition of oppressive legislation, protest, and outright civil disobedience which ignores mandates around vaccination. More and more people are waking up to the fact that the intentions of their government in this time are nefarious, and they are beginning to peacefully engage with the issues of the day in order to oppose tyranny.
For the just cause of resisting immediate, grave, and ongoing evil. While the actions of our government are evil, and may possibly be “ongoing”, their reach is not “grave” or “immediate”. A “grave” and “immediate” tyranny is the beerwolf described by Martin Luther, a government so corrupt and depraved it prowls around like a werewolf seeking to consume its own people at every moment, either by death, imprisonment, taxation, or anything else which severely infringes upon the right to life, liberty, or property.
Under a valid governing authority. Mercenaries, vigilantes, and other men who romanticize the idea of overthrowing the government while acting upon their own authority are condemned in Holy Scripture as evildoers who deserve to be punished for their actions. Legitimate resistance is waged under the authority of an appointed government leader; this is known as the doctrine of the lesser magistrate. Wars are fought between authorities, and the men who fight in them do so under the authority of a military commander. While there are many governors and other magistrates who are opposing the Biden regime, their efforts are currently peaceful ones, and we ought to support them in the same manner. If or when these magistrates organize armies as a means of resistance, and if this organization is rooted in a legitimate, last-resort effort to preserve liberty and peace, then we the people may support these magistrates by taking up arms and joining these armies. Right now, though we may be armed, we have no armies because we need no armies.
Engaged in with probable success of victory. War is hell. It inevitably means both casualties and collateral damage. For many, it means losing a great portion of everything they have ever known and loved. A leader who engages in a war knowing that it will surely result in a total loss bears responsibility for the deaths of every man who will die in battle and the grief of every wife, mother, and child who will never see their man again. With no organized army, there is no chance that those who seek to go to war against tyranny of the Biden regime will win. Those who fight on their own authority will die, and those who are left as survivors will only be subjected to more harsh and brutal oppression than they did before.
Waged with appropriate levels of force, and no more. Deception, interrogation, and keeping prisoners of war should only rise to a level of intensity necessary to ensure victory.
Strategized to be as brief as possible. And not unnecessarily prolonged, as the United States has a habit of doing in recent years.
Knowing that war is a necessary evil, and hence always sinful. Ultimately, even if it is necessary, a civil war is not something that we should wish for or desire over other tenable options. It should be a solemn and calculated conviction which leads us to go to war when everything else has failed, and not a decision made hastily.
Resistance can be initiated long before a war is started. Long before we consider the prospect of war, we ought to be sure that we have given the following a thorough try:
Pray. Without the gracious help of God, we are all doomed. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
Dialogue, assemble, debate, organize. Exercise First Amendment rights. We cannot lead a resistance unless we know what we are resisting, who, where, and why. We may have to clarify our own thoughts or sort out our own confusions, and we may also have to bring others up into agreement with us. We also have a duty to appeal to our employers, our leaders, our pastors, and others who have been appointed to a position of authority over us to consider our arguments. Long before there is a war, there ought to be ample dialogue.
Civilly disobey. Ultimately God is the arbitor of right human behavior, not government. Many aspects of human life, including work, marriage, family, worship, buying and selling, and education were around long before there was a human government to meddle in them. If Biden forbids us to work, or to marry, or to worship, or precludes our participation in some other God-ordained endeavor, we should not feel the pressure to abide by his edict before we abide by God’s. We ought not to underestimate the power of widespread obedience to God in the areas that He has spoken of, even if this participation is undertaken by unbelievers. If we are forbidden to work, we ought to work anyway. If we are forbidden to gather in worship, we shall gather anyway. If we are forbidden to buy and sell, we shall buy and sell anyway. If we are forbidden schooling, we will educate ourselves and our children anyway. Government has no place in these matters.