BIBLICAL ETHICS SAY SNOWDEN IS A HERO
By Rev. Ted Pike
9 Jul 13
Explosive revelations by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, documenting illegal government spying, are an unprecedented gift to truth and freedom.* They add wind to the sails of those who have labored to inform the public of the massive surveillance and wiretapping by our government on US citizens. Yet is Snowden a hero or a traitor? World opinion seems almost evenly divided. Many leaders and authorities say he is a hero; but Pres. Obama and Republican backers of the CISPA bill, which would legalize much of the spying Snowden has exposed, believe he should be convicted of treason and espionage.
At times like this, the Bible—ethical keel of Western civilization for millennia—must weigh in. Society needs a higher authority than opinion polls, federal law or precedents set by activist judges. Violation of law for the sake of vital good is an option within the redemptive nature of Biblical ethics. Jesus said it is lawful to do good. As Creator and Architect of salvation, Jesus Himself violated the eternal law that God will not coexist with sin. (Listen to Understanding God's Ethics) He gave free will to angelic and human beings, allowing potential for the most grievous rebellion for an ultimately greater good: that we might choose for Christ and live with God forever. (Listen to Jesus, In Every Age the Creator and Preserver of Life)
Christ denied His infinite power and omniscience for our salvation, becoming as finite as a tiny baby in a manger and a weary preacher walking the dusty roads of Judea. On the cross Jesus allowed desecration of His perfection and holiness; "He became sin who knew no sin" in redemptive sacrifice to make us holy through trust in Him. Jesus emptied Himself of His own exalted rights and status so others might live. This was lawful because His motives were transcendently benevolent. (Listen to Going Down for Others to be Exalted in God's Plan)
Jesus, the "Yahweh" of the Old Testament, also violated His own Mosaic law against working on the Sabbath when He healed a man blind from birth, horrifying the legalistic, ruling Pharisees. Hungry, Christ harvested handfuls of grain with His disciples on the Sabbath, illegal under the Mosaic Law. He said man was not made for the law but the law for man. He challenged the Pharisees, saying if their ox fell into a ditch on the Sabbath they would pull it out. Similarly, He righteously lifted a blind man out of the lifetime ditch of sightlessness, even though that broke the law.
Can We Break the Law To Do Good?
When should we follow Christ’s example and violate the law? Snowden obeyed the highest of all laws, the mandate to save life and oppose tyranny. Just as emergency vehicles and police run red lights and exceed the speed limit to save life, so Snowden violated lesser laws for a greater one. He alerted humanity to establishment of a pervasive Orwellian surveillance state that tramples God-given rights of privacy in contempt of the Constitution. America has been blind to the extent of the loss of our freedom. Snowden broke the law of man so the world can see the frightening threat the Obama administration poses to liberty. (See Is Snowden a Traitor or Hero?)
The freedom to disobey ungodly authority was exercised righteously by the Hebrew midwives in Egypt, commanded by Pharaoh to kill every Jewish male baby at birth. The Lord blessed them for lying that the Hebrew women gave birth before they could arrive. (Exodus 1:20)
Hebrew foremother Rachel was also inspired by God to break the law. The angel of the Lord instructed her to exalt her second-born son Jacob over his twin brother, cowardly and worthless Esau. (Gen. 25:23) This was so Jacob, in his obedience to God, could possess the sacred birthright leading to Jesus. Rachel and Jacob stole Esau’s blessing by deceiving and even lying to Isaac, but neither Isaac nor God reproved them. In fact, as Jacob fled the rage of murderous Esau, God appeared to him in a vision, lavishly blessing him for violation of the law of man in obedience to the law of God. (Listen to Joseph and Jacob as Symbols of Christ)
I Samuel 14 contains an episode in ancient Israel strikingly parallel to Snowden’s. King Saul was rejected by God for his disobedience. He reacted with pride, attempting to become the nation’s moral authority. In this story, beleaguered Jewish warriors were barely able to withstand the Philistines in battle. Like Pres. Obama in his many "executive orders," Saul sanctimoniously decreed a national fast with a death sentence for anyone who ate for a whole day. Saul’s righteous son Jonathan, unaware of the perverse decree, discovered a large wild honeycomb, and he and the people with him feasted. He encouraged the people to satisfy their hunger in any way they could. He said his father had troubled the land and that, by eating, his eyes had been enlightened. Jonathan disobeyed not only the fifth commandment, dishonoring his father publicly, but also a federal edict. As a result, his energized army defeated the Philistines! Saul ordered that Jonathan be killed, but the people realized Jonathan’s disobedience made possible a great victory. They stepped forward en masse, demanding Jonathan be saved. Saul had to comply.
In the time of the Judges, because of their sins, the Hebrews languished under Philistine occupation. God created in Sampson a young man of superhuman strength by whom He intended to wreak vengeance on the Philistines and deliver Israel. To this end, Sampson needed to freely move in Philistine territory. In violation of His own law forbidding intermarriage with Canaanites, God inspired Sampson to marry a Philistine woman. His parents were horrified. But Scripture tells us: "They did not know it was of the Lord, that He sought an occasion against the Philistines." (Judges 14:4)
Similarly, the chaste and upright prophet Hosea was commanded by God to marry a harlot. Unbelieving Israel was and remains the mother of the principle of spiritual whoredom. Today, after 1600 years in Babylon, Jewish supremacism is Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth described in Revelation 17. (See 'Babylon the Great' is Israel) Hosea’s shocking experience of being compelled by God to violate God’s own commandments against sexual defilement reverberates powerfully to us today. Jesus knew that in the latter days His church would be massively deceived by the great harlot, Israel. Christians would desperately need the searing reminder of Hosea to wake them to realize that they and their forefathers have built up the evil empire which will one day persecute Christians to extermination. (Rev. 6:10-11; Rev. 17:6)
In the Book of Acts, apostles Peter and John defied the ruling religious authority in Jerusalem, the Pharisees, who decreed it a speech crime to witness for Jesus. The apostles said, "We must obey God rather than man." In Romans 13 Paul stressed the necessity that everyone obey the government, imperfect as it may be, to the fullest extent possible. But our obedience must end when the law means violating or becoming accomplices in violating God’s eternal law, such as through unjustly taking the lives or freedoms of others. This is illustrated by those who broke slavery laws in the South, smuggling slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad—but not by those who murdered slave masters. It is illustrated by those who do all they can to end abortion, persuade women out of abortions, advance adoption, and help post-abortive women—though not by those who murder abortionists.
Contrary to feminist mischaracterizations, Paul also provided for wives to disobey ungodly authority. He said a wife should be subject to her husband but not when he required violation of her conscience. If a husband demands his wife join him in sinful behavior, she may separate.
Obama Should Be Impeached
Today we see a wicked President caught in the act of destroying the U.S. Constitution and taking away our sacred privacy. If there ever was a dictator on the make, it is he. It is Obama who should be fleeing federal prosecution as a traitor to America and the Constitution. It is he who should be tried for treason. He should be impeached. But he wants to imprison and destroy the career of the young man who, like Jonathan, broke the law but caused the eyes of America and the world to be enlightened. As a result, humanity can no longer ignore how far America's degenerate leader has taken us toward an Orwellian police state and one-world government.
It’s time for all lovers of freedom to speak out loudly, like the people of Israel in Jonathan’s defense, against Obama and in praise of a patriot whom Snowden’s father calls a "modern-day Paul Revere."
This article has not been written to encourage violation of the laws of God or just laws of man. The apostle Peter commands Christians to submit themselves to every ordinance of man for conscience’s sake. But there may come times when God’s law requires us to violate lesser or unjust laws.
It did in the Bible. It has in the case of Edward Snowden.
*Edward Snowden is a former technical contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA. NSA has been illegally wiretapping and spying for years on our private telephone and internet communications. Initially, he leaked, through The Guardian newspaper in the UK, that NSA ordered internet providers to provide complete records of everyone using a cell phone or computer, internet, email, etc. Thus, NSA is taking America toward a surveillance state beyond anything allowed by Congress. The CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) bill would give the federal government legal rights to perform of what has been done illegally by NSA. (See Protest "CISPA" - New Federal Internet Takeover) Since The Guardian broadcast Snowden's revelations to the world in early June, there has been an upheaval against Obama. Very quickly, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration. Meanwhile, Snowden has fled the country, pursued by the U.S. government as a traitor and saboteur.
(This article is recorded in my Bible study at Truthtellers.org entitled "Biblical Ethics say Snowden is a Hero.")