Mainstream Republicans, virtually of Democrats, and most bourgeousie Christians read Romans 13 and conclude that we must do whatever the government tells us to do. They point to the example of the early Christians and say that must be our model for all time. But this is sloppy reasoning for a number of reasons:
- Is our situation the same as the early Christians’? Alarmist conservative cries to the contrary, it is not. We have over 1,000 years of common-law heritage and constitutional rights, which are binding on both magistrates and citizens. The early Christians–and the majority of people in the Roman empire–cannot make such a claim.
- If the lesser magistrate, a sheriff or something, interposes himself against a violent and genocidal president or king, must the Christians, based of an inane reading of Romans 13, side with the latter? The very posing of this question destroys the bourgeoisie Christian worldview, which says that “authorities” (never defining that word) must always be obeyed. The problem, though, is that I just posited two contradictory authorities. Only one can be obeyed.
- If Obama surrenders the U.S. to the U.N., must I now obey the U.N.? I would view U.N. authorities as invading troops.
More reductios can be thought of. Rutherford thinks of several. To use one of Rutherford’s examples, if a magistrate sends his troops, based on some arbitrary and ad-hoc law, to rape and sodomize the women of a particular county, can the citizens resist? You are a sick human being if you say no. If you say yes, then you by necessity agree with me.