Protodeacon Patrick Mitchell on the Church and Government…
The technology, called “biochipping,” already exists and is being marketed as a personal convenience—no need to carry around credit cards, house keys, or health records—but it could conceivably be put to less innocuous purposes similar to China’s “social credit” system, which uses facial recognition to track people’s movements and award credits and debits for different behaviors.
Given the growing hostility of many earthly powers to Our Lord and His Church, it is only reasonable that Christians would view such systems of social control as potential threats and strive to avoid and oppose them. But identifying the point at which faithful Christians must “refuse to accept” a new measure of control and its enabling technology is extremely difficult. Government itself is a system of social control, and yet we are obliged to obey even bad governments so long as we ourselves do not sin in doing so. Our Lord tells us to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). Likewise, the Holy Apostle Paul tells us, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God,” Rom. 13:1). For Orthodox Christians, there is therefore no question of a government’s “legitimacy,” whereby we are relieved of all obedience to an earthly power on account of the “illegitimacy” of its constitution or its policies. Since all governments are ordained by God for His own purposes, all governments deserve a measure of our respect, be they monarchies, democracies, or even tyrannies (as under some Roman emperors). Our practice has therefore always been to assist the State in the doing of good, to resist the State in the doing of evil, and to patiently and prayerfully suffer the State in many things beyond our power to avoid or address or even understand.”
– From ‘Parish Life’ of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington DC
***Now and then we include a particularly thought provoking or inspiring excerpt not from one of our regular ‘Elders’***