I wore my London T-shirt on Independence Day because I am a Tory. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Tory because I am an Anglophile, although I am an Anglophile. I am not a Tory because I hate America. I am grateful for my country and am as patriotic as anyone. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to live in this country. But if I am honest with myself, I have to admit that, if I had lived in the late 1700’s, I would not have been able to support the revolution. I believe that political and social change is best effected by working within the system by peaceable means, not by violence and rebellion against government authority. It may take a lot longer to effect change within the established system of government, but it can and it does work. I also can’t justify violent revolution with the Scriptures. It just won’t jive with the verses that command us to live at peace with our neighbor (Romans12;18), to honor the king and obey all secular government officials (I Peter 2:13-17), to “render unto Caesar” (This verse is found in three of the four Gospels. Repeating something three times, to a Jew, is tantamount to highlighting it, underlining it, and putting several exclamation points after it.)
I am not a pacifist, by any means. I believe we have the right to defend ourselves against an enemy who attacks and tries to take us over by force. I even believe we have the responsibility to wade into the fray in defending our neighbors against unlawful attack. I would have been right there in World War II, fighting against Hitler any way I could. But to attack my own government and countrymen–I just don’t think I could in all good conscience.
Jesus never advocated revolution against the Romans, even though it was a tyrannical and oppressive regime. He made a point of being non-political by taking as His disciples both Matthew, a minor official of the Roman Government, and Simon the Zealot, a member of a political party that used terrorist tactics and guerrilla warfare in their struggle against the Roman oppressors. There is no record of Jesus admonishing or correcting either of these two men, or addressing politics with them in any form. But Matthew left his post as a Roman tax collector, and Simon never went back to his Zealotry. They had more important things to do.
I have been thinking a lot about what would have happened if our forefathers had been more patient and had waited out King George. Yes, he was a tyrannical madman. Yes, something needed to be done about him. But it needed to be done by lawful means. The rule of law was long established in England, land of the great Magna Carta. And the king would not live forever. I’m not saying that living with the insulting taxes and laws levied against the colonies would have been easy. But perhaps it would have been preferable, and not just to avoid the bloodshed of war. If we had remained colonies of England, slavery in this land would have ended when it was abolished by British Parliament, half a century earlier than we managed to do it on our own. It would have ended peacefully, without a drop of bloodshed. It would have ended without rancor or bitterness on the part of either side. There would have been no need for a Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, because integration would have occurred as naturally and easily as it was in England. For that matter, our great statesmen and political thinkers might have helped England along in their extrication from their other far-flung colonies by more peaceable means. Who can say how different the world might be today if our forefathers had all been Tories?
But be that as it may, this world is not our home. We are citizens of a better place, and we should act in accordance with the Laws of that glorious land! Ephesians 3:20!