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The ethical-moral high ground is never found in the valley: a brief reaction to the D.C. riot



I can definitely empathize when people get frustrated or angry with the American political system and those who captain it. And I have my genuine concerns about the future of our constitutional republic and the traditional freedoms we hold dear. However, I am still naive enough to believe in the democratic process and its foundations in law. The Constitution remains firmly in place, our state and federal judiciaries and law enforcement agencies are maintaining civil order, and save the occasional rabble-rouser, most public servants are discharging their duties within acceptable legal parameters. Couple all this with the Christian believer's expectation to submit to civil authority as developed in passages such as Romans 13:1-7 and Mark 12:16-17, and I must conclude that the D.C. riot and stormtrooper antics of January 6, 2021, were at best ill-advised and at worst antithetical to the ideologies upon which American democracy and the Christian faith are founded.


Our Constitution, ratified in 1788, catalyzed a unique system of common law that combines human rights, tripartite government, checks and balances, and federalism so as to ensure freedom and equality for all people (after passage of the 19th Amendment, of course). But in order for it to work, American citizens must dedicate themselves to law and order. Anarchy, civil disobedience vice civil discourse, and mob tactics are not effective means of addressing one's grievances. I find it ironic when impassioned Americans purport to be defenders of constitutional law while simultaneously exhibiting riotous behavior. The Preamble to the Constitution clearly establishes justice, domestic tranquility, and security as its principal objectives. How does lawlessness achieve these goals? Clearly, it doesn't. And for the person who identifies as a follower of Christ, the many biblical admonitions unto peacemaking (Matthew 5:9, Psalm 34:14, et al.) should give him/her sufficient pause when tempted by the pangs of insurrection.


So, to those who participated in, encouraged, or otherwise supported the riot in D.C., I respectfully ask you to step back and consider your legacy in American history and, if you are so inclined, your role within the Body of Christ. A true patriot is not one who falls prey to hyper-emotionalism, fear, or violent nationalistic pride; rather, he/she is one who tempers pathos with a reasoned and lawful approach to problem-solving. What is more, the faithful Christian does not resort to fisticuffs when the prospect of peaceful reconciliation is still available. To do so is to ignore the One who forewent violence Himself and instead chose Calvary's cross as a means of eternal redemption, who turned the other cheek, and who blessed the peacemakers. Lawlessness, like a seductive temptress, may seem right in the moment, but it always disappoints and invariably leads to disaster. Indeed, there is no chance of taking the ethical-moral high ground if we travel in the valleys.

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