Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 9, 1964

Civil Rights And Civil Disobedience

J. David Tant

The news media of the nation constantly focus our attention on the "Civil Rights" issue now being debated before Congress, fought over in the courts, and demonstrated about in the streets. While it is not the purpose of the writer to engage in political controversy on this matter, we believe there are certain aspects of the matter which it would be well for Christians and others to consider.

The first aspect is that of "Civil Disobedience." Throughout the land various leaders of the movement are encouraging both black and white to disobey civil authorities in order to bring the rights problem to the forefront. They encourage picketing of businesses and public buildings and demonstrations which clearly violate laws and regulations. It is ludicrous to observe so-called "religious leaders" urge their followers to deliberately disregard law and order.

Of course, the Bible does not teach that we are to obey man if such obedience conflicts with our spiritual obligations, but otherwise we are subject to civil authorities! It could not be plainer: "Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God..." (Rom. 13: 1-2.) Nor it is up to someone to prove that "anti-trespass" ordinances and such like contradict our spiritual obligations. It cannot be done! There may be laws we do not like, and laws that work a hardship on us, but God did not give us the privilege of obeying only that which we have "taken a liking to."

Let those encouraging illegal actions beware: there is a law which they must respect — the law of sowing and reaping. If they expect to sow disobedience and irresponsibility and reap obedient and responsible citizens they have another think coming. As Hosea said, "for they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind..." (Hos. 8:7) "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. 6:7).

The second aspect is that concerning the "Golden Rule." Christ said "all things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them... (Matt. 7:12) Now when a person prevents customers from entering a place of business, or creates a disturbance, or uses his car to block traffic, is he complying with what Christ taught? Most Surely Not! True, the negro is discriminated against, is abused, and is taken advantage of, but Christ even more! Again the Bible says: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12:21) and surely Christ is the best example.

Do not misunderstand. I am as sympathetic to the unfortunate position of the Negro and other minority groups as the next person, but two wrongs do not make a right, and I believe more good and progress can be accomplished in anything by following the simple precepts of Christ. The Lord has not promised social, political, or economic equality to every person, only equality spiritually to those in Christ. (Gal. 3:28-28).

It ill behooves anyone to exploit another, but neither is it right for the one exploited to return evil for evil. I am in favor of full citizenship and equality for white, red, and black, but as in everything else, I am in favor of doing whatever is done in God's way.

— 2394 Wesley Chapel Rd , Decatur, Georgia