As a Christian constitutional conservative, I enjoy exposing the abuse of power displayed by despots at every level of government. And I equally enjoy exposing “Christians” and “conservatives” who, in the age of coronavirus tyranny, embrace the unconstitutional and arbitrary government mandates that have directly threatened our God-given rights over the past year — rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Constitution.
On the other hand, it’s frustrating to witness how government tyranny and oppression has become commonplace, so much so that it’s easily, sometimes willingly, accepted by everyday Americans. Instead of resisting government tyranny, most have grown comfortable with the idea of sacrificing essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety (H/T Ben Franklin).
This frustration intensifies when those who claim to be a part of the family of believers willingly accept coronavirus tyranny and oppression under the misguided and incorrect interpretation of Romans 13 (the infamous “submit to government authority” Scripture). Likewise, it can be quite discouraging to see so-called Christians and so-called conservatives in the media with bigger platforms than mine not only surrender to coronavirus tyranny, but watch as they demonize conservatives who disagree with them.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been given a taste of what this looks like, thanks to Senior Editor of The Dispatch and columnist for Time, David French, and Editor at Large at TheBulwark.com, Bill Kristol.
We begin with David French and a recent edition of his weekly “French Press” newsletter entitled, The Spiritual Problem at the Heart of Christian Vaccine Refusal. In the true spirit of Coronavirus Christian theology, French says that refusing to bow to government tyranny by not being vaccinated for COVID means that you’re not acting like a Christian, and you’re not pro-life. Here are a few excerpts:
Only 54 percent of white Evangelicals will “definitely” or “probably” take the vaccine. The next-closest numbers belonged to black Protestants and religiously unaffiliated Americans at 64 percent. By contrast 77 percent of Catholics will take the vaccine and a whopping 90 percent of atheists.
Given these stark statistics, if there is one thing that readers should take away from this newsletter, it’s that Evangelical vaccine hesitancy is both an information problem and a spiritual problem.
In this newsletter I’ve often quoted my friend and seminary professor Curtis Chang. He’s put together a video series making the biblical case for Christians to take the vaccine. It’s empathetic and it’s outstanding. It’s designed to be shared with people who express fears and, critically, to equip those who hope to persuade others. For example, here’s his video attempting to answer the question, “Should pro-lifers be pro-vaccine?”
French then moves on from pointing out the “spiritual problem” and anti-life condition of those who refuse to be vaccinated to those who won’t wear a mask.
But there’s also a deep, heart-level issue that is besetting elements of the Evangelical church. In part because of grifting culture warriors and in part because of the challenges and temptations of our own fallen nature, millions of Christians have confused selfish defiance with faith and moral courage.
This means, for example, that all too many people believe that the refusal to wear a mask in appropriate settings (indoors or in close proximity to others) is a sign of their personal fearlessness. It’s a declaration either that they have faith that God will protect them from the disease or that they don’t fear the consequences of catching the virus.
Yet it’s well-established that the primary purpose of wearing the mask is to protect those around you more than it is to protect yourselves. When I’m standing next to an unmasked family in church, I’m not thinking they’re brave or bold. I’m seeing instead a tangible disregard for the health and safety of those around them.
On the subject of masks, French recently sent out a tweet supporting Bill Kristol for calling conservatives who won’t wear a mask “nihilists,” and accusing those who won’t wear a mask of not loving their neighbor and not being pro-life.
Bill is right. Anti-masking further exposed the darkness in parts of the right. It’s such a small thing to show love of neighbor, but that small thing was and is too much for all too many who claim to be pro-life. https://t.co/uv78PRfSId
— David French (@DavidAFrench) March 5, 2021
Bill Kristol appeared on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams earlier this month, where he defended this tweet:
Mask refusers appeal to liberty. But even staunch libertarians know that checking the spread of disease is a legitimate government function. The hostility to masks isn't libertarian. It's nihilistic. Nihilism has come to characterize a significant part of today's "conservatism."
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 4, 2021
Nihilism characterizes conservatism? I thought that job belonged to Trumpism and nationalism.
For the uninitiated, nihilism is defined as “the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless.” I’m surprised French didn’t use the word first.
The “Christians” and “conservatives” who latch on to coronavirus hysteria are doing so to excuse their surrender to government tyranny and oppression and their submission to shutdowns, stay-at-home orders, and mask-wearing mandates.
Lately, however, refusing to submit to government tyranny not only violates Romans 13, it serves as proof that people who do so are guilty of being filled with hate for our fellow man, and that we are doing the work of Satan himself. At least, that’s what a Facebook follower recently told me:
“Politics has made this issue controversial. That too is the devil’s work. Christ tells us to treat others the way we want to be treated. Not masking is an act of hostility on the weak and infirm [sic]. Masking is an act of love. It is very clear that those who deny masking have hatred that makes them hostile to doing good to others.”
And all of God’s people in the lukewarm cheap grace church said, “Amen!”
Most of the Christians and conservatives spewing this nonsense about refusing to get vaccinated or refusing to wear a mask aren’t motivated by liberty, they’re motivated by guilt; the guilt they feel for bowing to government tyranny and oppression, and the guilt they’re trying to inflict on others who refuse to bow with them.
We are witnessing what could be the last days of liberty and freedom in the country our Founding Fathers fought and died for. And the saddest part is that David French, Bill Kristol, and nearly every other so-called Christian and so-called conservative are too busy submitting to coronavirus tyranny to do anything about it.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.