1985 Oct 13 – 28th Sun Ord Time (Bulletin Letters)
This is the second in a series of four segments of key concepts to help explain why some of us priests are ready to use direct non-violent means of intervention to help keep family farmers on their land. Last week we dealt with Civil Disobedience. This week we are dealing with Divine Obedience. The next two weeks we will be dealing with Love Based/Faith Centered Nonviolent Direct Action and Rights/Property/Persons. I welcome any feedback you might have.
Divine obedience is a religious equivalent to civil disobedience. Of course we are to be obedient to God at all times. However, this phrase was coined by people who have broken civil laws because of a higher law of God. Religiously motivated lawbreakers can be found throughout the whole history of Christianity. Christian lawbreakers go back all the way to scriptural times. Tradition has it, that every writer in the New Testament, except for John, died at the hands of the state a martyr’s death and therefore law breakers every one of them. More important was Jesus’ relationship to the laws of his time. In his curing and feeding of peop1e Jesus demonstrated his disregard for many human made laws. Jesus repeatedly put in practice the principle of persons over law. The strongest statement of Jesus’ dis-regard for law was the Resurrection. The Resurrection, the act that changed the direction of history forever, was an act of civil disobedience. When Rome condemns a person to death – especially an enemy of the State – that person is to remain dead. The Resurrected Person of Christ was a lawbreaker and the law has been after Him ever since. Maybe that’s why we Christians throughout the ages have never really been at home with any political power. Dorothy Day said it best, “When you render unto God the things that are God’s, there is darn little left for Caesar.”