Before we begin this piece, I’d like to provide you all with an introduction to what it is. This piece is the first in a series that will be published on a monthly basis. This is a collaborative series, that is, a series containing written parts from more than one author. It is the first collaboration you will see on this platform (hopefully the first of many). Your writers for this series are myself and Dia Beltran, whose show I have been a guest on. In this series, entitled Catholic/Christian Conundrums, we will take a look at some of the issues we face in the world as people of faith, from two perspectives. For the purpose of context, I am a Christian of the Catholic tradition, and Dia is a Christian of the Protestant tradition. We both share very similar values, although we may disagree in some areas of the faith. So throughout this series, we may at times agree on the issue at hand, or we may indeed find ourselves disagreeing, both of which are healthy and productive in this space. This first piece covers how Catholics/Christians can respond to COVID-19, particularly as the restrictions become more arbitrary and seek to further segregate society. As a means of distinguishing who is saying what, we have both written a half of the piece, our names above our contributions.
We hope you find this series informative, educational, interesting, and intriguing.
There is no easy way of saying it – humanity has devolved. It is difficult to determine whether this has occurred through any fault of our own. It is more complex than it first appears. I do not think this is simply the fault of the general individual. It seems to be more attributable to a collective evil which has spread like a toxin throughout society, corrupting all it touches; in this case the minds of the general population. And it has left many of us weak and vulnerable, allowing ourselves to be preyed upon.
It began in the most morally compromised – politicians and bureaucrats. Some of the most easily corruptible human beings, they gave in to a greed for money and power, more so the latter, and, as a byproduct, control. All three of these have provided them with a means of twisted delight. They have not suffered like the general public have; they have not lost income, livelihoods, businesses. In fact, they have gained income, they have profited off the losses of wider society. And they show no sign of stopping.
In stoking fear, the media have aided them in their quest for domination over the people of their nations. Their gain? Views, clicks, blind trust. The disease then spread to others in the general population who put blind faith in government and media. This includes people from all walks of life, and all manner of political ideologies, theological beliefs, and general values. No one is immune, unless they are truly able to think critically for themselves.
So now, in a world that seems lost, overrun by power-tripping politicians, bureaucrats, media, and the sheep that follow them all, how can we as Christians restore order and freedom? How can we deal with people who have become hostile to anyone who does not follow the unlawful restrictions set down by those in power, who dob in their neighbours, friends, family, or whoever else just to get a high, or indeed because they have become spiteful, allowing the good in their hearts to become consumed by the darkness, by the evil that lurks within?
Dia will take you through a slightly more detailed history of Christianity’s battle against oppressive forces and how Christians should deal with the issues arising from COVID-19 in the latter half of this piece, with Biblical references to demonstrate. But, while I will discuss the Catholic response, I also want to focus on the faith as a whole during this time.
Catholics will no doubt know that we should obey the laws of Earth, but we should do so while also obeying the laws of God. We should strive to abide by the Ten Commandments set forth in Exodus. One of those Commandments is “You shall not give false witness against your neighbour” (Exodus 20:16), which means we should not lie. As Catholics, we are obligated to tell the truth, to abide by God, the author of all truth.
So begs the question in the current times, and likely in the times to come: what should we do in dire circumstances? Considering in the time of COVID-19 we are subject to arbitrary measures which limit our worship, our faith, and confine us in many ways, how can we navigate this while staying true to the Commandments? For example, what do we do if vaccine passports become a reality (which is beginning to appear more likely), and we who are rightly skeptical of the largely experimental substance and decide not to take it are subject to targeted restrictions? Is it ok to mislead someone on our vaccination status then?
It is an intriguing question. In the interests of defending our faith, or being able to worship, we should. I think God would understand us doing this in order to maintain our ability to go to church, to worship and connect with Him in His Holy House.
Additionally, Catholics should resist compliance with unlawful directions. In the undertaking of His ministry on this Earth, Jesus Christ often said and did things that were considered unlawful by the religious authorities of the time, the Pharisees. He healed a man on the Sabbath (in Mark 3:1-6). He performed many miracles which they attempted to deem the work of evil spirits. So we should take after our great Saviour and Redeemer and do the same. We should refuse to comply with the unlawful arbitrary restrictions set down by our leaders who would rather we worship them than worship God. And we should take heed of the warnings Jesus gave us of bad shepherds, those who lead us astray, those who we could easily follow off a cliff.
Finally I will say this: Church leaders need to stand against the COVID tyranny we now face. Do not allow the Government to take the place of God. Do not allow Christian persecution to occur unchecked in what is supposed to be a free and democratic society. Worship is essential. Our spiritual and mental health is just as important as our physical health. We should do all we can to protect the faith, to stand by it, and to stay true to it, even in the most trying of times.
There was a time when a certain group of people had to hide their faith; it was not permitted to pray to the one true God (the God of the Bible). This occurred in the story of Daniel in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament in the Gospel of John under a Judaic governance.
Sadly, this is a pattern that is repeated time and time again throughout history which leads to the understanding that as Christians we will suffer, and we will be persecuted.
Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh are the perfect examples of real Christian persecution. In the months of 2009 & 2010 they were imprisoned for 8 months for a thought crime. What was their thought crime? Faith in Jesus Christ.
In Iran, they often give long sentences to Christians for their faith. Evin Prison is renowned for this. However, this type of persecution is not exclusive to Iran; persecution of Christians occurs in North Korea, China, Pakistan and most of the Middle East. What makes this particular age unique is the fact that one would not expect these things to occur in the western world, yet that is exactly where we have arrived.
I am not suggesting that our suffering matches those in Iran, however, with the introduction we have had to persecution in Australia, Canada and the United States among others.
I have no doubt that we have embarked on the slippery slope of Christianity being crucified in the western world. Jon MacArthur, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, Pastor Tim Stephens and Paul Furlong; do you know these names? If not, you should look them up as they are the modern faces of western Christian persecution.
What are we to do in these ever-changing times? Do we obey that of our leaders in government, as well as those in our churches who comply by wearing a mask, doing a check in and temperature check outside the doors of worship, or do we take a stand against those in governance for the sake of being able to still attend church and fellowship with other like-minded adherents?
And he said unto them, render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. Luke 20:25
This Bible verse gives a very clear explanation as to what is expected of us if we claim to be Christian and the laws of man become too convoluted – the only alternative is to follow the laws of God. What if one of God’s commandments came into full opposition with another; for example ‘honor thy mother and thy father’.
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12
What if the child obeying his parents was the child of Satanists? Well, it stands to reason that the law of God takes precedence over the parents in this scenario. As with this hypothetical, we are the children in this example and the government does not serve our best interests, and as such the law of God is the only law we bow to. No amount of Christian persecution will distract me from my mission which is a Christ centric one.
What is my overall message? It is pretty simple: Do Not Comply. Christians these days are letting us down all the time; we have no real genuine role models of Christian or Catholic leaders. It seems they are too obedient to the government’s directives and rather than take a stand for the Lord, they are going about it from a perspective that is understandable but foolishly misguided.
Christians of today desire to practice their faith. This is done by abiding by the rule of the land, which, whilst well-intentioned, is actually a foolish endeavour as it directly opposes God’s law, and so Christians who partake in this obedience blaspheme unknowingly to God’s direct order.
Now the learned Christian will quote Romans 13: 1-3
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Weighing this up with other examples in scripture is crucial. Do the laws of the land today correlate at all with God’s laws? Here is where we require an example of the apostles in the book of Acts; they set out to obey only the law of God, and the men in power were seeking a way to punish Peter and John for the path they took.
19 But Peter and John replied, “Whether it is right before God to obeyyou rather than God, you decide, for it is impossiblefor us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them further, they released them, for they could not find how to punish them on account of the people, because they were all praising. God for what had happened. Act 4:19-21
Above, both Peter and John are in a situation where the authorities want them killed but it does not take place. Today, we are in similar parallels. The examples of anti-government behavior exceed just this one story. Earlier in this piece I mentioned Daniel and the lions, but I can also add the midwives in Exodus who would not partake in infanticide.
What we are in need of now is more of this opposition. Tragically, it seems too few people are willing to make this stand.
Do not comply. Listen only to the law of God and maybe we can manage to fight back for our freedoms.