June 22nd, 2015

Religion and the State: Can Latter-day Man Serve Two Masters?

Jewish leaders conspired to kill Jesus Christ. It was thought by many Sadducees—the aristocratic class controlling the Sanhedrin, Israel’s highest political body—that this act would squash the uprising and neutralize the threat to their power. They thought wrong.

You see, Peter had found his voice; having denied the living Christ, he finally mustered the courage to boldly proclaim Christ crucified. The message was carried on, much to the dismay of the ruling elite in Jerusalem.

“What shall we do to these men?” they asked themselves, scheming how to react anew to this persistent perturbance. “Let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.” And that’s what they did.

But Peter and his apostolic associates continued in their work, having been commissioned of Jesus Christ to carry his gospel to the four corners of the Earth. The teaching continued, as did the miracles. And in response, the high priest and his fellow Sadducees on the council “were filled with indignation,” fueling their animosity enough to actually seize and incarcerate the religious renegades.

Later brought before the council, Peter was questioned as to why he had defied their threats. “Did we not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in [Christ’s] name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

Peter’s response provides the theological foundation upon which Christians have defied unjust decrees in succeeding centuries: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

Jesus Christ himself avoided the murderous mandate of a corrupt government when, following God’s counsel, his family fled to Egypt to escape the democide King Herod ordered upon male infants two years of age and younger.  Later in life, he all but ignored the ruling regime as he went about his Father’s business.

It makes sense why; Christ himself explained in explicit detail that loyalties cannot be split. “No man can serve two masters,” he said in his Sermon on the Mount, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Especially when competing powers pit themselves against one another—God and the state—it becomes clear that, as Peter indicated, it is better to disregard the political pressures of one’s peers in favor of following the divine course.

“But shouldn’t we submit to the state?” Latter-day Saints ask along with their confused counterparts from two millennia ago. “Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?” Again, Christ’s counsel cut to the heart of the issue: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” This leaves to the reader the operative question of what belongs to the proverbial Caesars in our day—which of their claims and mandates deserve our loyalty, and when.

If everything belongs to God—a concept supported by ancient and modern scripture—the question readily answers itself.

Governments throughout history have had an abysmal and tragic track record. The list is as depressing as it is endless—states of all sizes have imprisoned political dissenters, exterminated undesirables, suppressed conscience, confiscated property, devaluated currency, and otherwise been the instigators of injustice and immorality. Operating on the theoretical basis of protecting rights, governments have repeatedly proven themselves to be the chief violators of individual rights—the disease masquerading as the cure.

Even in the so-called “land of the free,” the government plunders property, police kill innocent people, bureaucrats force people out of business, legislators break apart families by incarcerating the breadwinners over non-violent offenses against the state’s vision of society, and faceless foreigners are consistently killed, written off as collateral damage in a siege of never-ending international conflict, now orchestrated by unseen demons from the sky. These brief examples don’t do justice to the magnitude of the problem, and the degree to which the U.S. Constitution has utterly failed to restrain government power.

And yet Latter-day Saints are sometimes encouraged to serve both God and state. Take, for example, a recent Ensign article titled “Religion and Government.” Readers are told that religion is “most successful and most effective” when it “protect[s] and encourage[s]” the government. “A complete divorce” of religion and government, on the other hand, “is healthy for neither.” Properly implemented, the article’s author asserts, religion “encourages good citizenship and adherence to the law of the land.”

What if the “law of the land” compels a Christian photographer or baker to participate in and support a homosexual marriage service?

What if the law requires a Christian to be conscripted into killing innocent people half a world away in an unjust military intervention?

What if the law requires a horribly sick, bed-ridden mother of young children to steer clear of a natural plant that can bring her relief where pharmaceuticals couldn’t, and restore quality of life to her entire family?

What if the law criminalizes speech or condones slavery?

What if the law legalizes the theft of property, outlaws prayer, sanctions the murder of unborn children, or censors evidence of government corruption?

What if the law has been substituted for the laws of wickedness, allowing Gadiantons to gain control?

Shall we submit in each case, and in so doing be considered a good religionist—a model Latter-day Saint?

There have been, and will continue to be, times in which men’s loyalty is split between masters: God and the state. Unqualified subservience to the latter—whether out of fear, duty, or ignorance—is to place the former in secondary status. It is tantamount to disagreeing with Peter, saying instead that “We ought to obey men rather than God.”

Just as rendering unto Caesar requires understanding what he’s actually due, learning which laws actually deserve our loyalty requires an analysis deeper than the several seconds it would be afforded in Sunday School. Inquiring minds can start here.

Religion needs government like a battered wife needs her abusive husband. Maybe a divorce is not the “healthy” option, but it’s best to stay as far away as possible until there is any valid reason to associate with it.

26 Responses to “Religion and the State: Can Latter-day Man Serve Two Masters?”

  1. Steve
    June 22, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    Although the first sentence is not accurate, the rest of the article is great! John 10:17-18

  2. Connor
    June 22, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    Fair point. I edited it to clarify that he was not murdered. Thanks!

  3. David
    June 22, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land. Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet” Doctrine and Covenants 58:21-22

    “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” 12th Article of Faith

    In no less than two separate places that we members of the LDS accept to be the literal word of God we are commanded to be good citizens and obey the law to the best of our ability. The moment of decision is not almost upon us. If we truly believe that the scriptures are the word of God then the decision was made when we were baptized, when we received the priesthood, and when we received our endowments in the temple. And that decision was to follow the command of God to obey the laws of men so far as they don’t oppose the laws of God.

  4. Connor
    June 22, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    The 12th Article of Faith, like D&C 134, is far more conditional than most Latter-day Saints understand them to be. Details here.

    As for D&C 58, it’s utter nonsense unless it’s properly contextualized. Understood as a broad statement—if you keep God’s laws, then you shouldn’t break any single one of man’s laws—then it condones all manner of tyranny and evil as condoned by God, so long as some dictator or legislative body told you to do it. That’s absurd.

    D&C 98, for example, “justifies” us “in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land.” Might it be inferred that we are not justified in obeying laws that are unconstitutional? Is there not room—as the correction interpretation of the 12th Article of Faith holds—for divine approbation for violating man’s laws when it conflicts with God’s?

    Or are the Helmuth Hübeners of the world considered sinners for daring to defy an unjust law?

  5. Tammy
    June 22, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Laws should be followed when they are just, but God’s law is above man’s. I often reflect on the story about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and their refusal to bow down to the kings idol, this was the law and death was the punishment for refusal. They knew that bowing down to that idol would mean death for them, but they also knew that God’s law was above man’s and that it would be better for them to die than to go against God’s law. The king (government) implemented a unjust law and expected everyone to obey it, how many of our laws are like that now? We need to be like these young men and obey laws that are just and compliment the laws of God, and stand up against those that are not.

  6. Joyce
    June 22, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    What if the ‘law’ requires you (though it doesn’t) to pay to the support of another church, a church that is “antithetical” to Christ? Ezra Taft Benson said that socialism is antithetical to Christ AND soul destroying.

    There is evidence that socialism is as much a religion as Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Islam, or Christianity or atheism.

    For me to be forced to support a religion that my prophet has counseled me to eschew – a religion that is an enemy to my King – is wrong and I MUST seek to follow my God and eschew Satan, the author of socialism.

  7. Victoria
    June 22, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    Kudos, Connor. Great article. Miss you in our ward.

  8. Jake Garn
    June 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Ah yes, you’ve nailed the nail directly on the head with this one. My rights as a free being are not protected by a man-made-constitution, they are protected by my immortal soul’s presence on earth. This I have seen and believe, I serve with the two-thirds only. :)

  9. Pierce
    June 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    I think that D&C 98 is THE QUALIFIER for any and all scriptures or Article of Faith regarding obeisance to the government. Either most LDS don’t know that this section exists, they can’t connect the dots because nobody is doing it for them, or they are so obsessed with trying to be “normal” (secular) rather than peculiar (set apart). The Book of Mormon is full of examples of wicked people usurping power, and whether or not the people follow them in their wickedness. How have we missed this lesson and favored being sycophantic?

  10. Nick Millet
    June 22, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    “We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments… … and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.” D&C 134:5
    If we have no right to rebel “while protected” in our inalienable rights and being given the freedom of conscience then it is true that when we are not protected, the law has no just claim upon us for rebellion or dissension. Otherwise the “wise men raised up” to form this country were in conflict with God and the whole foundation upon which the united States of America rest is corrupt.

  11. James Thurston
    June 23, 2015 at 6:30 am #

    Ok I take issue. First off, the Ensign article you mention is not given in full context.

    You state: “Readers are told that religion is “most successful and most effective” when it “protect[s] and encourage[s]” the government.”

    But the article actually states that religion and government “are most successful and most effective when they protect and encourage each other.” You’re slanting the argument along with the Ensign author’s writing to fit your thesis for this article and it discredits your ability and authority as a writer when you do that.

    Then you go on saying “Properly implemented, the article’s author asserts, religion “encourages good citizenship and adherence to the law of the land.” After this sentence you go on to challenge the Ensign “article’s author” as well as the supposed dogma of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by showing how “adherence to the law of the land” is ridiculous given enough extrapolated “what if’s”. But again you are only showing your unpreparedness, discrediting yourself and your authority to speak on such matters.

    The law of the land is in reference to the legal system, not the specific laws created or enacted underneath it, for those laws enacted underneath the system are not timeless, whereas the law of the land historically is the system that is to serve as timeless. The supreme law of the land is the constitution, as it references in itself. So the “law of the land” cannot compel “a Christian photographer or baker to participate in and support a homosexual marriage service” or any of the other examples you give. We do not need to support specific laws made just because they are made, and we are allowed to vehemently fight against those laws we disagree with by using the actual law of the land, the legal process that is the constitution.

    I’m sure you would have understood this if you had received your Juris Doctor like the Ensign “article’s author” has.

    Speaking of the Ensign article’s author, I find it interesting that you don’t say his actual name. In all your references you use actual names. You don’t say “a character” in the Gospel according to John, or the “Author” of the Book of Acts. No you use Jesus’ name, Peter’s name, so why not use Elder Wilford W. Andersen’s name, or state from whence he received his call, authority and mandate? Has he not received the same call “having been commissioned of Jesus Christ to carry his gospel to the four corners of the Earth”?

    Has not “The teaching continued” today through men called of God like Elder Wilford W. Andersen? And yet you skew his words as if its okay because you use “author” instead of Elder.

    Also, God’s law had already been put into place during Jesus and Peter’s time, and the men that were rebelling against the law did so by killing Jesus and imprisoning Peter. Peter’s prerogative to “obey God rather than men” wasn’t a revolt against the current law system, or even against the current laws, but a cry against the men who were willfully transgressing that law and using their power to imprison and kill. Obedience to law is liberty Mr. Libertas. Peter was both obedient to the law, as well as obedient to God. Which leads me to my next point.

    When you state that “Religion needs government like a battered wife needs her abusive husband” the disrespect you show to both of these institutions by your arrogance and frankly condescending authorship is astounding. If you truly understood the role that government and religion play you would not view them as masters to pick between, you’re using a false premise. Truly, Husband and wife, equal although they may fulfill different roles, were both chosen for the health, development and wellbeing of the child. You would not demand a child to choose one over the other, their roles call for both to exist. It is the same in religion and government. Your premise and thesis is wrong.

    You attack government like it is the problem when in reality the government is just a delayed snapshot of the current morals of the people. The problem does not lie within government, it lies within the people. You’re fighting the symptoms of the problem, not the actual problem itself.

    This either/or attitude and the examples you use with your “what if’s” are using the exact tactic you hypocritically condemn in your book Feardom. You are exploiting your audience, aggrandizing your viewpoint through fear at the their expense. That’s ironic.

  12. James Thurston
    June 23, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    I immediately regretted submitting this^^. It was not nice and I would delete it if I could. I appreciate the work you do and what you’re trying to accomplish. Forgive my insensitivities. Keep up the good work.

  13. Connor
    June 23, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    No problem. You raise some fair points that merit a response.

    But the article actually states that religion and government “are most successful and most effective when they protect and encourage each other.” You’re slanting the argument along with the Ensign author’s writing to fit your thesis for this article and it discredits your ability and authority as a writer when you do that.

    The author states that a=b and b=a so it’s a fair to quote him, I think, as saying a=b. It’s just one side of a mutually supportive equation that doesn’t negate his intent by taking it alone. Yes, in context, he intertwined the two in reverse order, but he’s still saying two distinct things:

    Government is most successful and most effective when it protects and encourages religion.

    Religion is most successful and most effective when it protects and encourages government.

    I found the latter to be relevant to my post, as I find it troubling, so I quoted it alone. I don’t believe doing so separates it from the author’s intent.

    The law of the land is in reference to the legal system, not the specific laws created or enacted underneath it, for those laws enacted underneath the system are not timeless, whereas the law of the land historically is the system that is to serve as timeless.

    No government is timeless, nor are the actions of a system distinct from the system itself. Without providing any qualifications, the article’s reference to the laws of the land necessarily defaults to the common understanding of the reader—every law passed or enforced by the government.

    Speaking of the Ensign article’s author, I find it interesting that you don’t say his actual name.

    This was mainly because, unlike Jesus or Peter, Elder Andersen is not somebody who is known. Of course, anybody could click through the link I provided to the article to learn its source, his biography, etc. It was not meant to diminish him, but to focus on the arguments he raised.

    God’s law had already been put into place during Jesus and Peter’s time…

    Peter was rebelling against the mandate of a political body. Similar mandates are made by political bodies in our day—we often call them “laws”—which are likewise unjust and worthy of derision.

    Obedience to law is liberty…

    Depends on what “law” we’re talking about. Again, context is key—something that Elder Andersen’s article failed to provide readers. And, frankly, this is about the understanding of the average Latter-day Saint, which doesn’t include nuance or qualifiers; most seem to think that if the government says X, we must do X.

    Truly, Husband and wife, equal although they may fulfill different roles, were both chosen for the health, development and wellbeing of the child. You would not demand a child to choose one over the other, their roles call for both to exist. It is the same in religion and government. Your premise and thesis is wrong.

    If the husband were beating his wife and the children, I’d absolutely suggest that the children flee with the mother. That’s the point of the comparison; government is, as I noted, generally quite harmful to our rights, and an impediment to God’s work. It’s silly to praise such an institution, even in its theoretical form, when its track record is so, so poor.

    The problem does not lie within government, it lies within the people. You’re fighting the symptoms of the problem, not the actual problem itself.

    It would be naive to take this single article as a barometer of what, where, and how I fight; I agree that the problem is ultimately the people, and assure you that my work—my “fight”—focuses heavily on the “actual problem itself.”

    You are exploiting your audience, aggrandizing your viewpoint through fear at the their expense.

    The quotes included above have nothing to do with fear. They are legitimate examples showing how and when “the law” can compel people to do wrong things, intended to show how encouraging adherence to “the law of the land” should include some qualifiers.

  14. Denise Hoca
    June 23, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    Connor Boyack raises a good question, one which probably many freedom-loving people are asking themselves these days. Thank you, James Thurston. I’m glad you couldn’t delete your comment, as it was very insightful and I learned from it. (Thank you). As I read this article, I was reminded of a story an older woman told about her family. She said that around World War 2, while there was a lot of rationing going on, her family decided to procure and hide something like 500 pounds of sugar in the caves near where they lived, deliberately breaking the law. That way they could continue enjoying meals like they had previously. Years later, she regretted that action, as most of her family had become diabetics. So it appears that in this instance people who obeyed that current law of the land were blessed, and some who didn’t were not.

  15. Phil P.
    June 23, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    James,

    You make some interesting points in your critique. Your manner aside, I agree that there is a difference between the law and those who administer it. Christ obeyed the law, but disobeyed the administrators of it. However, the law he obeyed was the law He Himself had written. Where the Mosaic law had been added unto (the traditions of the elders) he disregarded it when it violated the intent or letter of the Mosaic Law. Although not a perfect parallel the constitution would be the mosaic law and the laws of Congress and regulations of the various agencies would be the traditions of the elders.

    You also truly state that Obedience to law is Liberty. However, it was capitalized incorrectly. Obedience to Law is Liberty. That is obedience to God’s Law is Liberty. You seemingly use the same sleight of hand that you accuse Connor of when you imply that obedience to man’s law is Liberty. Which in the shallowest sense is true that by obeying man’s laws it keeps you from being imprisoned, for now.

  16. Mike Orton
    June 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Hi Connor,

    Great article. One comment though. In your response above you agreed that “the problem is ultimately with the people”. I would maintain that the righteousness of the people has been affected by the actions of the government and it’s fellow travelers. Thus, the problem is ultimately with the government and the secret combination that influences or controls it.

    I look forward to your articles and the discussion that follows. Thanks.

  17. Monika
    June 23, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Great article Connor. I would like to say something to Denise. If the government forbids us to store food and the church tells us to store food and essential items we certainly would follow the church and we have been doing it since the church warned us of the coming times. Now the example you gave about the sugar is kind of strange. Who just stores sugar? But on the other hand her family survived WWII and didn’t starve to death while thousands of people died of starvation even into the 1950. Who knows if the two things are even related.

  18. James Thurston
    June 23, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    Connor,

    I appreciate the reply. Thank you for the clarification on each point. It satisfied my nitpicking. Again, apologies for the tone, and know that I appreciate your work and what you’re doing, keep it up.

  19. Seth
    June 23, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    “Unqualified subservience to the latter—whether out of fear, duty, or ignorance—is to place the former in secondary status. It is tantamount to disagreeing with Peter, saying instead that “We ought to obey men rather than God.”

    This seems to be the thesis of your entire article, and I tend to disagree.

    I don’t see an issue or a “conflict of interest”, at all. You do what you can. You’re not expected to do more if you are forced otherwise.

    When Alma’s people were forbidden to pray vocally, they still prayed silently. They didn’t break the law of the land and put themselves in danger needlessly, just to satisfy some rule or custom they must’ve had at the time, to pray aloud.

    When polygamy was ended, it was because the leaders (finally) wanted to obey the law of the land.

    We have a voice, and we are encouraged to use that voice by means of voting, etc. so that we can at least try to make a difference rather than sitting idly by. But if our efforts fail, and the government wins, and our freedoms evaporate, we are not automatically expected to be martyrs just to satisfy our conscience and avoid the moral disparity.

    This mentality of having to fight every little inconvenient rule the State offers up, merely on the grounds that it doesn’t fully agree with religion…is silly logic when you take into account all the scriptural examples otherwise.

    Maybe I missed your point, but just wanted to put in my $0.02 either way.

  20. Iimx
    June 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    I am not sure what the agenda is here, but just take a look at the countries in which abortion is completely illegal or severely restricted.
    http://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/4541/abortion-laws-map-center-for-reproductive-rights

    Most of them have low education, and/or very impoverished. And I don’t particularly see any greater degree of freedom from these countries. Some are actually very violent, so preventing violence probably isn’t a motivating factor. There record on human rights issues such as treatment of homosexuals are also very, very low. Some do however manage to have a theocratic state, either Christian or Muslim. I am not sure what the take home message should actually be…

  21. Lilli
    June 30, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Most active LDS assume their church or scriptures or leaders or Joseph Smith can’t be wrong or false or fallen. But when you compare them with Christ’s teachings you find that the Church has never followed Christ and thus can’t be true, nor any of it’s leaders or it’s scriptures from God, for they teach contrary to Christ.

    Thus it doesn’t matter what Joseph Smith’s scriptures & opinions on government were it only matter what Christ’s teachings were.

    And Christ said the greatest commandment is to obey God & Christ ONLY, for they are basically one, and to not put anyone or anything before God, that includes people, precepts, personages, prophets, politicians, presidents, kings or any of their teachings, laws or decrees that are contrary to God’s & Christ’s laws.

    We should only follow God’s/Christ’s laws, for Christ said it’s impossible for man to serve 2 masters, even if he tried, in fact in just trying to serve both, you serve neither.

    If we are forced to obey a tyrant because we are in slavery, as we are today, then that may be different, but we should use our free will when possible to only support laws that are in harmony with God’s/Christ’s laws, as taught in the 4 Gospels.

    Thus it seems no politician or prophet since Christ’s time as proven worthy to trust with power or obedience, for who has followed all of Christ’s commandments, like Christ said ‘his true disciples’ always would?

    Unless someone is near perfect and only preaching, practicing & promoting Christ’s teachings, they should not be trusted, supported or followed.

  22. Iimx
    July 4, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Lilli,
    Why is there a difference between what is written in the NT vs the OT about money? Why is there a dichotomy between serving god and serving money in the NT and not in the OT. Maybe I am missing something, but in general wealth was considered a good thing in the OT. If there is a solid case against wealth in the OT I would like to know where that is found.

  23. Lilli
    July 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    Iimx,

    For starters, I believe the NT, especially the words of Christ in the Gospels, trumps everything in the OT. The OT was written by very fallible mortals, as was most of the NT, but Christ’s words, though written down by mortals, were supposedly the exact & perfect quotes from a ‘God’ who walked the earth.

    There’s a big difference between quoting a living God vs writing down what we think was revelation from God, when it could have more easily come from our own mind or the Adversary.

    For even the best of mortals & men fall for false revelation & evil, all the while thinking & claiming God told them to do or teach something that He really didn’t.

    So Christ’s teachings on money are what we should go by, no matter what anyone else in history ever said. And Christ did not think it was good to be rich, at least not until there were no more poor among us. He even taught that it’s basically impossible for rich men to get to heaven, for if they were righteous they would do as Christ told the rich man to do, go and sell all he has and give it to the poor (except for what is needed to take care of his own family).

    Not sure I answered your question but those are my beliefs on money. Oh, and Christ never taught the idea of ‘tithing’ or ‘10%’, (that was again man’s idea & supposed revelation that doesn’t match what Christ taught, so we know it’s wrong).

    While Christ said to give 100% of our excess money all to the poor directly, so we know for sure it gets where it should and not into the pockets & projects of church leaders.

  24. jpv
    August 2, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    James Thurston,

    Replying and being so civil after your initial post was so classy.

    Rarely seen on the internet these days.

    Thank you.

  25. Spencer Morgan
    September 1, 2016 at 7:06 am #

    The position reflected here is not anarchism at all, but just a more removed and divine form of authoritarianism. You’re trading the “earthly ruler” for the mystical and divine one.

    Authoritarianism (in either of these forms, but especially the religious variety) undermines the validity of the human mind and volition, which is the ONLY rational basis for individual rights.

    The moral is the chosen, not the obeyed.

    Also, you’re giving WAAAAY to much implicit credibility to the new testament accounts you cite. Check out Dr. Ehrman’s material.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The LDS Church Should Abandon the Boy Scouts—But for the Right Reasons | Connor's Conundrums - August 2, 2015

    […] I would hope it would be different in the Church of Jesus Christ. I believe my son, as a spiritual son of God, has an identity shaped over eons of premortal study, interaction, and progress. I believe he has talents, interests, and priorities that need not be programmed, but discovered. I don’t want him to become an “upstanding citizen,” since this pathetically low benchmark has produced, throughout the world’s history, droves of mindless drones that follow tyrannical orders “because it’s the law” or “because it’s their duty” or “because they were ordered to.” I want my son to discover his true identity and mission in life, use his agency to fulfill his divinely appointed stewardship, and pursue his path where it leads him. He is an individual—a child of God. He is not a “citizen” whose duty is to King or country, especially since one’s duty to God often requires defying Caesar’s demands. […]

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