Thanks to Edward Snowden and the Guardian (British newspaper), those of us in the U.S. have now been informed that tons of internet (email, Facebook, Google, etc.) data is being collected by the U.S. government. We also know that Verizon Wireless customers have had their metadata collected by the U.S. government. It's a pretty safe bet other phone companies are being required to hand over their metadata as well--even though we don't have those news stories at this point.
I remember reading 1984. Anyone else having flashbacks?
But here is the thing for me: I refuse to unplug. I refuse to watch what I say. I refuse to code my language or cease and desist from saying certain things on this blog or on my Facebook account. I refuse to get rid of my cell phone. Was there a desire to do so? Yep.
Don't let them look at you.
Now, I like my privacy. Don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly thrilled with the knowledge that someone is monitoring every word I type or put out there. I'm not exactly thrilled that there are those who might try to use what I say as fodder for coming after me in one fashion or another.
But if I give into those fears, then I've truly lost my freedom.
If I give into those fears, then my voice gets lost because of a perceived or real threat.
If I give into those fears, then I have to run into a field to hide and find just a little bit of escape. (Remember that from the book?)
I refuse to do that.
There were those in early Judea who tried to silence Christians. Thankfully, the early disciples and followers refused to keep silent. What would the world look like if they had kept their mouths' shut?
There were those in the Roman Empire who tried to silence Christians. They even went so far as to kill and feed Christians to wild animals in arenas. What would have happened if such tactics would have silenced those Christians?
Where would the Church be if those souls had ceased speaking about Christ and His death and resurrection? What if they would have succumbed to the pressures of government and the authorities? History would be vastly different, that is for sure.
In many ways, we as Christians shouldn't have to worry about such matters. St. Paul instructed us in Romans 13:
Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval;
4for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.
5Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing.
7Pay to all what is due
to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due,
respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
This is not rocket science.
Of course, we are to remember who the ultimate authority is:
But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority. --Acts 5:29
So, if we are commanded to do something against the will of God, we are to disregard any rules which would force us to do this; otherwise, we are to go about our business--doing good; proclaiming Christ; being responsible; working to make the world a better place.
The world includes the internet and the technology of cell phones these days. I don't believe in running away from this. I believe in being courageous--and not living in fear.