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Is it even possible that a person protesting on a public sidewalk and observing all of the rules and laws of the land would get arrested and taken to jail – in America? Well, it has happened, and in some places continues to happen.
It is no secret that there are cities in America where the political leadership is so committed to their political ideology that they don’t care one whit if they, themselves, break the law or trample on the rights of those they disagree with if they think they can get away with it. It is not unusual at all these days to see stories where the city or county commission in this city or that makes a local ordinance that prohibits sidewalk counselors from doing their ministry in front of an abortion clinic. When taken to court, so far without exception, these kinds of laws and ordinances always get overturned, but it doesn’t keep these people from trying it anyway.
Well, during the covid-19 crisis, the city of Charlotte, NC believed they saw another opportunity to shut down dissenting voices. They believed that since there was a healthcare crisis, they could use that as a means for shutting up those they disagreed with.
The local abortion clinic, it seems, had been designated by the city as an essential service, so they were allowed to stay open and perform abortions. When this was discovered, Cities4Life, a local pro-life group, decided to continue their work in front of the clinic. When they set up outside of the clinic on a public sidewalk, they took special care to follow all of the government guidelines about sanitizing and social distancing.
The powers that be, however, felt that they had the authority to declare, by fiat, who was “essential” and who was not, and they determined that these sidewalk counselors were breaking the law – since they had not been designated by the city as an essential service. When the council found out about the group in front of the abortion clinic, they sent the police to arrest them.
When the police arrived, they informed the Cities4Life volunteers that they would have to leave based on the city council’s directives. The group’s leader explained that they were not breaking the quarantine rules, and that the city council also did not have any constitutional authority to tell them to leave. If the abortion clinic could stay open and serve customers, they could stand outside on public property and do their work. When the group refused to leave, the officers put them in handcuffs and took them to the police station.
These pro-life volunteers were released later in the day, but what happened in Charlotte is just another example of the authoritarian tactics some people will resort to in order to silence those they disagree with. It is also interesting to note that people who would use these kinds of tactics are actually being completely consistent with their naturalistic worldview.
But America was not established on naturalistic worldview beliefs. Those beliefs don’t acknowledge the existence of any kind of absolute authority source. As such, many Naturalists who make their way into positions where they are able to wield political power don’t recognize the existence of a God who has revealed an absolute understanding of right and wrong. Along with that, they don’t even recognize a legal document, such as the U.S. Constitution, as holding absolute authority for the nation. As a result, they truly believe that what they decree from their positions of power becomes the ultimate authority. The city council in Charlotte actually believed that since they deemed Christian groups non-essential, that they had the power to dictate what those Christians could say or do.
A person’s worldview beliefs not only give direction to what they believe in a religious sense, it also forms the framework for their very thoughts. Those political leaders truly believed that they were the ultimate authority in the city.
It should certainly make any American angry that these politicians could believe that they are above the law. But this one situation is far from the exception in America these days. A naturalistic worldview has come to be so prominent in virtually every institution of modern society, that this kind of thing has become commonplace.
There is only one way to counter this. Since the problem is a worldview belief problem, the solution can only be a change of hearts and minds. It is not enough to push back politically and in the courts (though this needs to be done, as well). The ultimate solution will have to be for Christians to share the life changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who don’t know him – particularly those who walk the halls of political power.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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