Separating governing and morality is impossible in this season of COVID-19

The definition of morality is this:

principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

This statement could be defined as the goal of every religious entity that exists.  It is by nature the responsibility of moral teachers to teach their disciples what it means to live a good life verses a bad one and what it means to have good behavior verses bad.

All of our respected religious leaders have done this.  Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, Mohammed and all other religious teachers that have followed in their footsteps have tried to the best of their ability to help others follow their way.

This begins for most of them by living a life that exemplifies the behavior they teach.  For anyone then that follows one of these teachers, it is their goal in life to model this behavior so well that others will see it in them and be drawn to it and desire this way of living for their own lives.

A key element of all of these religions is to then proselytize and make converts to their way of life.  This is done through many different means but primarily it is done through the words that are spoken and the lives that are lived. Some of the religions are very clear on the fact that proselytizing is a key tenant to their faith, and some are not, but they all ask for devotion and practice as part of their everyday lifestyles.

It has been hard then for humans to not want to take their chosen lifestyle and their morals and push them on others.  We have seen it happen throughout all of history.  People ascend into leadership positions and through those positions choose the right way to live, according to them, and then force their subjects to follow their leadership.  It happens formally and informally all the time even when we do not realize it is taking place.

America was founded on the very doctrine that this type of leadership was not ok.  The Founders of this country came here to find freedom because theirs was being taken away in the land that they came from.  Since the founding it has been built into our countries DNA that our leaders should give liberties and not force morality.

This ideology has birthed in our nation a fight repeatedly over separation of church and state and limiting the legislation of morality.  I am actually in favor of both of these things because in a free country when given the ability to write our own laws, more often than we would like to admit, those laws look a lot like my lifestyle and my desire for how others should live.

Church and state should be separated because in the hands of humans when God and governing become the same thing it never goes well.  We always get it wrong.

We end up incorporating our traditions and beliefs into law at times to the detriment of others.  Without even listing any examples I am sure that there are a number that come to mind as you read this.

Which brings us to the issue at hand, which is how leaders are dealing with the CoronaVirus.  Whether we like it or not leadership has crossed a line.  A line I believe that was necessary because we are dealing with the well-being of the lives of human beings all over the world that need to be cared for.

This line that that was crossed though once again brings us face to face with the idea of legislating and enforcing morality.  In this time, leaders need to think long and hard about how to help discern:

principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

What is right and wrong?  What is good and bad behavior?  And who should be telling me what that definition is?

You can sense the decisions of many state Governors and the President rubbing people the wrong way in regard to how we live out right and wrong.  The rub that we are feeling with the decisions that are being made by our government is that governments are now acting like religious entities.  They are telling us as citizens what is morally right and wrong, and we are not used to our government doing that.

They are also creating disciples who are modeling and proselytizing to make sure that these principles are getting lived out.  It is happening exactly the way that it should.  The model is working.  The problem is it is the government that is using this model and this is not normal.

Governments are acting like religious entities and they are telling true religious organizations to stop acting like they have always acted.  Religious entities are being mandated to follow a new right and wrong that for many is conflicting with the moral compass that they already have.

You can see people wrestling with this new role of government all over social media.  It does not sit well with people because this is not how it is supposed to be.  People are not comfortable with this and they shouldn’t be.

So how do we respond to this current normal?

  1. Be in prayer –

Everything begins in prayer.  Be praying for both political and religious leaders.  They are having to decide what is in the best interest of the people that God has given them responsibility for, and this is a heavy burden.  I truly believe that all of our leaders, according to their worldview, are trying to do what is best for their people.  This is their job and, in their role, I am assuming good intent.  I encourage you to do the same.  They need our support through this trying time.

  1. Be patient –

Second then we must be very careful in how we respond and act.  Patience is key.  This is new territory that we are walking in to and there are no clear road maps to help us navigate this terrain.  Emotions are high and there are many different perspectives that people have, and they can come into conflict really fast.  Slow down.  This issue is not going to be solved overnight.

  1. Be a worshipper –

God is still very much on his thrown.  In fact, we are seeing him more now than maybe we have before.  You just have to look.  Open your eyes to things of God and not things of this world and spend time in worshipping him in this season.

  1. Be a witness –

Your words and your actions matter and will tell people what you believe and will tell them what they should believe.  Do it well!!  My hope is that through this time and in this season, it will be easier for people to follow God because they have seen us.

The future of our country is very uncertain.  We may be on the precipice of something quite large.  Something that is leading us down a path we have never been before, that as we look forward have destinations that could very well end at revival in this land or the revolution of this land.

Wisdom is needed desperately for those that God has put in place for such a time as this.  Looking forward to seeing what God does.