Totalitarianism is what happens when the government seeks to control every aspect of our lives. We allow this when we forget the vital role of the family and church, and the healthy limits of government.
God created three institutions for the betterment of society. And to each, He gave a specific function.
God created the family for the propagation of life. He created governments for the protection of citizens. And He created the church for the proclamation of the gospel.
A society will be healthy to the extent that each of these institutions functions effectively.
Strong families, competent governments and vibrant churches are the three-fold cord of prosperous communities.
Disfunction occurs when one of those components ceases to operate effectively – whether through family breakdown, government corruption or a church that becomes lukewarm or apostate.
Chaos occurs when one of those institutions usurps the roles and responsibilities of the others and starts to operate in areas for which it was not intended.
Stay in Your Lane
You’ve probably heard the term “nanny state”. It’s a term of derision used to describe a government that has taken upon itself decisions that families would ordinarily make.
For instance, parents tend to get upset when the local school starts teaching their kids about gender fluidity. People instinctively understand that it is the role of parents – not a stranger employed by the State – to talk to their children about sex.
Or what about a church that goes beyond teaching family life principles and starts directly interfering in people’s relationships? When that boundary is breached, the church devolves into a cult.
We could spend hours talking about various Popes in the Middle Ages who spent more time politicking than preaching, even commanding armies. As a result of this, both the church and the broader community were impoverished.
For a society to prosper, it not only needs strong families, competent government and a vibrant church; it needs family, government and church to stay within the limits of that for which they were intended.
On the Road to Totalitarianism
As Australians, we are currently wrestling with two significant problems. Our first problem is Coronavirus, a disease that originated in China and was allowed to spread worldwide by the Chinese Communist Party.
The second problem, which in my view is more significant than the first, has arisen because of the government’s response to Coronavirus.
Western governments have tried to control a virus that originated in China by employing methods promoted by China. As a result, the whole world now looks a lot like China – an authoritarian regime.
In attempting to manage the pandemic, our State and Federal Governments have massively overreacted. They have usurped the family’s authority and that of the church. Our governments have trampled civil liberties, destroyed trust, and breached the good faith necessary for a free society to operate.
When the State determines who may or may not visit our homes, it has moved well beyond the bounds of its authority.
When the State dictates who may or may not worship in church, it has assumed authority it was never meant to wield.
And when the State mandates, as it now does, that perfectly healthy people must undergo a medical procedure or else lose their freedoms, it has become a danger to the very citizens it was tasked to protect.
The War We Lost Incrementally
We call it ‘totalitarianism’ when the government seeks to control every area of life – including your home life and spiritual life. The totality of your life is now monitored, regulated and subject to the State. Worse, now we are denied control over even our bodies.
In truth, government overreach has been going on for years. The so-called nanny state has gradually undermined family structures. Anti-discrimination laws have imposed a new morality that has undermined the church.
All of this has happened incrementally, and so most of the State’s encroachments have been met with little more than a shrug. Sure, some people got upset over this issue or that, but they were generally dismissed as overly excitable types who needed to worry less about politics.
The result has been that both the family and the church now stand severely weakened right when we need them most – to stand against government overreach directed towards individuals.
Who Will Resist if the Church is Silent?
The big question confronting us right now is not whether to be vaccinated or not. Rather, it is about how much control the State should be allowed to exercise – even for laudable reasons – over individuals.
It concerns me that the church seems to have nothing to say about this other than “we need to follow government advice”.
If the church will not even defend an individual’s bodily autonomy against the power of the government, who will? Your child’s school? Your teenager’s university? The media? Big tech? The entertainment industry? Corporate bosses?
If the church will not speak out now, what bulwark is left between an individual and the all-powerful State when the next “for your own good” mandate is issued? We can be sure that the next one is coming.
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Image via the Herald Sun.