Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Safety, Security and the Government

The Obama administration has its share of troubles and scandals of late-- Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservative groups and most importantly the latest which is the collection and storage of emails and other electronic communication by all Americans in the name of security.

The scandals have certainly prompted discussion from the kitchen table, the company water cooler and Congress itself over how much privacy and freedoms we are willing to give up in order to be "safe".  We do not live in a perfect world.  We have a choice to make.  Are we willing to trust our government to unlimited access to our personal information? Can we allow our government to target only specific suspected terrorist groups to access their information transmitted electronically? 

It isn't just electronic media that should worry us. There are traffic cameras being installed all over the country that record every vehicle. They are installed in the name of safety but in reality it is a money grab for the local municipalities. However, information is being recorded. The government is also ready to have identification chips installed. The reason? Easier to buy and sell and to have all your personal data located. Obamacare will also make all personal health information available.

Telephone and cable companies also have been selling security and safety in the in-home camera systems that you can control via your smart phone. The bottom line is that if you can see it, others can see it to.  Couple that with GPS tracking devices in your cell phone and automobiles and you have George Orwell's 1984 here in spades.

Most people here fear another 911 attack and under the guise of additional security for the nation, the Patriot Act was born. However, even some of the people behind the Patriot Act are alarmed at how far the government has gone in gaining information.

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton in 1887 wrote the following: "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

As much as I want to be safe, I value my personal liberties more. I don't trust my government to do the right thing. It certainly didn't when it failed to send any help to the U.S. ambassador to Libya and the security team. They died as a result and an apparent  cover-up ensued. The IRS has admitted it targeted conservative groups seeking 501-C status. That has generated more traction than Benghazi because money is involved. When you start affecting our pocketbook is when Americans begin to get concerned. People dying on foreign soil not so much but start affecting our pocketbook and we that's another matter.

I don't want our government to have that kind of unbridled power where secret courts with secret judges can target just anybody. Blanket general subpoenas are nothing more than a dragnet.  Subpoenas have a specific purpose and they should be used judiciously.

We pay a price for freedom in this country.  The question is whether we want to pay the price of losing all our freedoms to a government that can take them so very easily.

For the Christian,  anything that supplants God as our source of trust, peace and safety is misplaced.

David writes in the Psalms:

 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
(Psalms 18:2 NKJV)

2 O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
(Psalm 25:2-3 NKJV

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about  fear and that Christians should not have fear because of who they are in Christ and what Christ has done for them. Paul wrote:

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

Paul also tells the Thessalonian church that in the last days people would be feeling secure and safe before the coming of the Lord but in reality would not be so. Paul also says to watch what is happening.  Paul wrote:

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
(1 Thessalonians 5:2-7 NKJV)

If you are not a born-again Christian and are trusting in your government to do the right thing with personal information or anything else, I suggest you think again. It isn't going to happen despite what our government spokesmen say-- Republican or Democrat.  Instead look to what the written word of God has to say about safety and security. That would be a great kitchen discussion topic.
Jesus is the only way a person will have safety and security for eternity.  If you want peace of mind no matter what the circumstances you find yourself in right now, you will find it in the person of Jesus Christ. Not a church or a system of beliefs or magical incantations or anything else. A Person who is the Son of God who died for your sins and rose that you might have life, safety and security. There's a bumper sticker that says it best:
No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.



Personal privacy is albeit gone.