By David Hegg
It happened last week. All around me I saw camels with broken backs. They had borne the weight of incremental governmental sticks but it was finally too much.
Really, Gov. Gavin Newsom? With all the real-life problems that surround us you’ve singled out singing in church as the villain? You officially permitted and personally participated in protests where thousands repudiated masks and social distancing but now you are intruding into the way we worship God?
This last straw actually falls like a giant steel beam on the backs of those of us who have honorably submitted to the regulations to this point even though the facts upon which those regulations rely have been disputed, changed, and dubiously proclaimed again and again.
Let me make it clear. We are tired of being treated like infants unable to think for ourselves. We are tired of being treated like those in need of potty training.
And mostly, we are tired of governments that believe we need their regulations and restrictions in order to know how to live our lives.
I will admit that we are all to blame. Little by little we have given away personal responsibility to government. What was meant to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” has morphed into a belief that government is the parent we still need to tell us who we are and how to live.
We have foolishly looked to government to solve our problems, make us happy, and most of all, tell us what to think. Well guess what? It is supposed to be the other way around.
Here’s the problem. True freedom demands the twin attributes of mature thinking and personal responsibility. Where lack of critical thinking and personal responsibility exist, government steps in dressed as a nanny, and over time, she tells us how to think and act while insisting we can leave the ordering and well-being of our lives to her.
We need to remember and recover the truth that governmental power is derived, not inherent. And while I do not envy any of our governmental leaders is this “no-win” COVID-19 season, I do demand that they not panic and give in to their politically driven sensibilities. They simply must give we the people more respect, more credit for being able to think and order our lives.
We are Americans. We understand what life demands. We recognize the challenges and risks of this present season. We agree that, for those who are dangerously selfish in their thinking, it is good to have some level of regulation.
But when the camel’s back breaks we must protest.
To go after singing in church is simply a bridge too far, and the implication speaks to far more than our modes of worship. It represents an egregious over-step, the kind that opens the door to far more intrusive regulations fueled by the equally egregious manipulation of statistics and the models based on them.
We demand to be treated as adults who bear the responsibility of our choices rather than like children who are so uninformed that they need their Mommy when the lights go out.
We also demand to be honored as the citizens who hold the real power in this country, as the camels who actually carry the load. We’re mostly good people, who will carry our burdens with courage and honor.
But we will not cede our freedoms to those who desire to evaporate them from us, little by little.
With you all, I’m praying God will stop this virus, and end this season of persistent apprehension. But let’s not miss the lesson to be learned. Our lives belong to us, and to our community, not to government. They work for us, are empowered by us, and must be accountable to us.
We need leadership that works with us rather than lords it over us as though we were incapable of critical thinking and personal responsibility.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go practice singing a little more softly.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.