Friday, January 16, 2009

Civil Disobedience

I wanted to take some to write about something I have been considering in recent days. My previous post was an article written by a Pastor that I have great respect for, and it was his opinion about what the Bible teaches of Civil Disobedience. I don't believe that people generally think about Christians when they consider the idea of civil disobedience but it is an idea that has deep roots in Christianity. Our LORD Himself and His apostles were prime examples of practicing civil disobedience the right way. Well, what I want to ask is along these lines...
I was raised in a nominally conservative home; I say "nominally" because while my family is conservative it was a conservatism with an emotional base instead of an intellectual one. Today, my political choices are overwhelmingly more intellectual than emotional. There are several political ideas that I have been struggling with, and have come to realize that though I may agree with them with my mind my heart wanders. Gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, etc. These are things that I assent to with my brain but I find it hard to be supportive with my heart...
Which brings me to this; I have great respect for civil disobedience (Here is a good article on a Christians duty to practice civil disobedience) and feel it is an integral part of being a good citizen. But when is the right time to practice civil disobedience? I recently read about this young man who carried some marijuana through a town square in New Hampshire. I respect him for his stand, but I don't know if the legalization of marijuana is something I am willing to break the law over. I would definitely debate or write a letter to my representative...but civil disobedience? I don't think so.

Is there a line? Are some things inconsequential enough to not break the law for? Is the line different for some people than it is for others? I would practice civil disobedience over abortion, eminent domain, attacks on the Bill of Rights, to demonstrate against the one world order, unjust war and there are many others. But I don't think I would do it for marijuana, or prostitution, etc. Perhaps those fights are for someone else who feels more strongly about them, and my fight is for the things I feel more strongly about?
I think that Thoreau, Gandhi, and Dr. King, Jr. were geniuses with ideas that completely bucked societal trends with their purity and honesty. I had just never considered that we may have to be very selective in choosing our battles. If we fought against everything wouldn't we burn out very quickly? Am I missing the boat on this? Should I be more broad minded? I just can't imagine going to prison for certain things.... not out of fear but out of inconvenience.

Thought I am struggling with today:
"I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill."
Mahatma Gandhi