Highlands Blog

Freedom & Tyranny in Your Small Town

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Posted in Highlands Blog under Community, Government, Politics

Main St. sign.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. As Christians we know what true freedom consists of—freedom from the effects and consequences of our sin. Earthly freedom is of far less importance. A godly man can enjoy a free spirit though imprisoned, as our brother Paul aptly demonstrated. But of course, freedom of speech, of movement, of assembly, are a great blessing and one which we should desire for ourselves and our neighbors.

And that is where involvement in the political systems of our towns comes to bear. Someone will be given the authority to make laws, to retract laws, to spend tax money and determine how it’s collected, to take our freedoms or return them to us. Wouldn’t we rather have a man of God in that position rather than a pagan about whom we are warned: “the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10)?

Small Town Example

There are two types of freedom that we should be about securing for our neighbors, the ones they want and the ones they don’t know they want or are too tainted by sin to desire. If they don’t know God, they can’t appreciate His will and even the gifts He freely bestows. Take my town of Bristol, Virginia. A few years ago the city counsel (five persons) voted to take advantage of a state initiative to allow local municipalities to retain the sales tax from new retail projects of a certain size. Lured by the possibility of “free” money, these misguided folks set about indebting our city upwards of sixty million dollars or about $3,500 for every soul in the city. And that number is growing. The project has moved slowly and may ultimately bankrupt the city.

Perhaps this council could have benefited from a keen godly man who could have reminded them of the slave nature of being in debt. Or that raising our property taxes to pay for this is almost a wicked act, as the property tax means that no citizen can ever truly own his own home—it’s always possible that it is taken away. A brutal assault on our freedom.

The Difference a Godly Man Can Make

Who will make decisions for your family? On the benign end, a government has determined who and how our weekly trash will be dealt with. On the invasive end, a government has determined that they can listen in on our phone calls. Our freedoms are always at stake and as the culture gets darker, the impulses are always toward tyranny and slavery. And the people out there are in favor of both!

But the foolish think don’t that this way and so someone—hopefully us—for the sake of love can help save them from themselves. Every elected position in our towns is either increasing or decreasing the flow of God’s wisdom upon you and your neighbors. You may not be successful given the culture we swim in, the ride may well be against the current. And nasty names may be used. But love demands that Christians oppose evil and champion righteousness. It’s our life’s calling and as we do this in our homes we can spill out into the public square and let our light shine there as well.

But where do we start, it all seems so daunting? Simply attend a meeting. School board, town council, that sort of thing. Listen to what is being discussed. Ask questions as a concerned citizen. Exposure to what is actually happening around us that affects our families and neighbors may well provide the momentum needed to start the process of significant involvement.


This article was first published in the January 2017 issue of Every Thought Captive magazine. Subscribe HERE.

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