Do We Deserve Freedom?
You probably know people who are concerned about a “surveillance state” developing. Maybe you’re one of them. I know I am.
It’s a reasonable fear.
Some police departments are using drones to spy on people in their homes, peering into living rooms and bedrooms with digital cameras and fining or arresting people who have more than the imposed limit of guests. The justification the state gives for these intrusions is, of course, coronavirus.
These jurisdictions have taken upon themselves to abolish the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Especially the Fourth:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
These Amendments derive from our founding philosophy. That philosophy goes something like this:
God created man and made him dominant over all the earth.
This grants to man certain rights that other men cannot abridge.
Among these rights are the right to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness.
Therefore, man has a right to be free from intrusions into his home, his thoughts, his associations, and his conversations.
When the state (aka, government) violates man’s rights, the state is also violating God’s law by abridging the God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
At this points, we must conclude that the surveillance state is a grave moral sin and must be rejected by good people everywhere.
But we must ask ourselves: do we, 21st century Americans, deserve the freedom guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment?
Man Is Endowed By His Creator… #
The Declaration of Independence, which opens with a summary of our philosophy, carries an implied covenant relationship between God and man, not a mere gifting relationship.
In a covenant relationship, obligations are mutual between one party (God) and another (man). God endows man with certain rights. The implied reciprocal duty is fidelity to God. Luckily, God gave us a book explaining what those duties are. It’s called “the Bible.” Beginning with the Torah and expanded in the Gospels and Epistles, God tells us exactly how to live, both as individuals and as a nation. In other words, we have recourse to a list of our duties, and ignorance of the law is no defense.
Even on a practical plane, leaving religion out of it, this covenant, this bi-directional duty, is obvious. If our Fourth Amendment rights derive from God’s grant of rights, then our access to those rights demands fidelity to the grantor. Since God’s first commandment of the Torah (reinforced in the Gospels) is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind, the Fourth Amendment presumes its protections belong to a people who love the Lord your God thusly. And a people that loves God with all its being will try its best to live according to God’s laws.
Therefore, our rights under the Fourth Amendment are conditional on being a people that loves God and shows its love by trying its best to live according to the plan God gave us in the Old and New Testaments.
So, what happens when we as a people, as nation, become unfaithful to God? When happens when we cheat on God? What happens when we reject the law of the Torah and of Jesus Christ to make our own laws? Often laws that mock or deny God?
We Have Rejected Freedom #
Those who decry the loss of freedom to the surveillance state must come to grips first with our nation’s rejection of its duties under the covenant by which the Fourth Amendment became law.
Most people would agree that, if a man cheats on his wife, it’s reasonable for the wife to deny her husband his marital right, at least until the man has confessed, repented (changed his ways), and adopted a sincere desire never to sin again. Likewise, if a nation cheats on God, it’s reasonable for God to deny the nation its rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
(Coincidentally, cheating on one’s spouse is also cheating on God, since marital vows are made to God, a promise to obey the Sixth and Ninth Commandments.)
No reasonable person could possibly compare God’s laws in the Bible to American society (culture, law, attitude, and behavior) and conclude that we, as a nation, are faithfully living according to God’s plan. From the idols we’ve created of entertainment, amusement, sports, productivity, money, and youth to the license we’ve granted ourselves for sex, murder of the innocents, and perversion, we seem bent on systematically violating each and every law, commandment, and mere suggestion given in those covenants between God and man.
Therefore, since we, as a nation, have rejected and held anathema our duties under the covenant by which the Fourth Amendment was justified, we have lost our reasonable expectation of protection under that amendment. We have rejected the foundation and, by so doing, we have condemned the house built upon it.
“A God merciful and gracious…” #
So, do we just accept that the Constitution is now just an anachronism? a relic of history? Do we accept that individual freedom is lost?
No and yes. First, the no.
For our current condition, the Bible is the good news. In Exodus 34, God tells us about Himself:
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy and faithfulness, keeping merciful love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…"
We have lost access to our rights under the Fourth Amendment by our national infidelity to Him who gave us those rights. We have cheated on our heavenly spouse who has, in turn, cut off our marital rights. Seems just since we, as a nation, still refuse to confess, repent, and amend our ways.
But our Creator is “merciful and gracious,” He is “abounding in mercy and faithfulness.” While the cheated-on wife might turn against the husband forever, God of the Bible is always ready and eager to restore man’s place in His Kingdom.
Therefore, to restore access to our rights we need only call upon His mercy by returning to His law. It is as simple and as difficult as that.
But now the “no” part.
Continuing with Exodus 34:
“but [a God] who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
In other words, we will suffer as a nation for our sins. The longer we remain in sin, the longer and more severe our suffering.
Justice demands that a more serious crime deserves a harsher sentence. Society might forgive the the criminal but that doesn’t mean the criminal goes unpunished.
And if we fail to reform our nation into one that honors its obligations under the covenant with God, we cut ourselves off from His mercy as well as from our rights under the Fourth Amendment.
Therefore, if we are concerned about the surveillance state and the loss of freedom, know that there is nothing we can do about it in this world. We are powerless against man’s creation. But God is all powerful, all merciful, and all faithful. If we want our freedom back, we must first surrender our freedom to God. He is a jealous God who will gladly wrestle the chains away from government.