Civil Disobedience – Religion and Politics

Kurt's Religion and Politics

It might well surprise a lot of folks to learn that someone having lived more than half a century, still supports the idea of refusing to willingly (or even at all) do the things society mandates at times.

To be clear, as with everything else, I choose my battles carefully. On my list of things not to do today, are a smallish number that have been there for less or more time, depending on a variety of factors.

It’s important to realize, the list is not exceptionally long.

I’m not one, for example, who typically disobeys speed limitations on roadways, as so many seem wont to do.

I’ve done the math, and come to realize that the flouting of such laws gains one very little to begin with. I could explain that further, and assuming I don’t already have a post that does so, may use it as a piece of a future writing.

Truth is, it’s not just about following a given rule, law, statute or other stricture. For most everything to which I refuse to bow, there’s some moral or ethical reason beyond what you see in all likelihood.

I truly believe it’s a central expectation of Christianity, that we ought to attempt to live in peace where it’s possible so to do. As such, the idea of working at cross purposes with law and order, seems to be inconsistent with that tenet.

What that means is, when I refuse to do what’s expected of me, my reason should be exceptionally good. It’s also true that how others see Christianity is something that will in part be a result of my statements, actions and behaviors as one who claims to be a practitioner.

This in mind, I try to ensure any choice I make is beholden to the question, “Is this something that tarnishes the name or reputation of my Savior?” If the answer is, “Yes.” perhaps it’s something I ought not do, regardless other reasons I’m doing it.

That said, there are modes of behavior, that I know will be seen as disobedience to various societal requirements—and generally rightly so—that in good conscience, I nonetheless follow.

Lest you think this is a recent thing for either myself or for American society as a whole, let me assure you that’s not the case.

While on the subject of refusing to act as expected for cause of one sort or other, I need to make something clear. When you choose to disobey the mandates of society, where you may not always find it so, very often there will be consequences of one sort or another.

They may be something as small and simple as disapproving looks or comments, but it’s possible they’ll be more severe—things like fines or even jail time.

It’s my hope that you don’t often feel the need to do things that’re likely to result in even temporary confinement. Frankly, I’d be happy if you don’t generally see a need to do things that’ll cost you money, paid often, to an almost entirely uncaring government, either.

At times though, like it or not, that’s exactly what’s called for.

Sometimes the thing expected is really more something that those around you hold as normative activity—something that most of the time, you’ll suffer more minor disapproval for doing.

I often find myself in that place because of my son.

You may not understand why my son being Moderately Autistic, causes me to refuse to act as society says I ought.

Let me begin by saying he’s often not equipped to be who society expects him to. The result is, he bears the brunt of disapproving stares and harsh comments most of the time, before I ever do.

Then folks turn, rightly in my view, to me as his parent. Having had the realization that he’s a child dawn on them, they come to question how I could be failing him so badly as a parent.

Unfortunately for most folks, since they’ve rarely, or more likely never dealt with anything more that Mild Autism, the have no understanding what can and will be helpful to bring a child with more severe forms of the condition, to a place where he or she can better understand how to interact with the world around him or her self.

Being fair, it’s not something I spent much time thinking all that deeply about until I found myself dealing with my son.

These days, I count it normal for many people to be totally unable to comprehend what I’m doing in my dealings with my boy.

And again, this factors into this discussion, because I truly believe it’s better to have people act or speak disapprovingly toward either him or me (or both), than to bend to the whims and edicts of a society he neither understands, nor is understood by.

Put simply, I’m willing to take my lumps—and where possible—his too, if it will help him to become able to work with things around him more readily than if I consistently attempted to require him to maintain a level of decorum currently well beyond his capabilities.

The other option would be to lock him away. That would almost certainly result in his never achieving anything like competence when navigating the world around him.

Time will tell whether my approach, brings him to a place where he can deal with a world to which he largely doesn’t belong. I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the result of people not working to do that, in folks who spent a great deal of time in various “care facilities.”

But the point here, is that my son is a good reason that at times, I literally break the expected norms of society to a degree that he or I might be found guilty of some sort of infraction for which we’re forced to pay with more than disapproving stares or clicking of the tongue.

For my part, when it happens, I’m willing to take that risk, and not just where accommodating my son is concerned, either.

I’m not arguing that civil disobedience should be a way of life. Most of the time, one ought just to accept what’s expected, act accordingly, and move on. At times though, not choosing the course that may cause you to be seen as flouting societal mandates may be more than reasonable, it may be more or less essential.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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