Australia has been getting some uncharacteristically negative international headlines due to its perceived extreme reaction to Covid-19. So far, we have looked at some of the harsh, headline grabbing actions that have occurred in ‘the land down under.’ In Part 02 we examined some of the reasons for this reaction. In the third and final part, we look at what how you can respond, in Australia and the rest of the world.
Has Australia Gone Covid-Mad? Part 03 – How to Respond
So far we have looked at the heavy-handed approach by Australia’s state and territory governments in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Their tactics have gained international attention and censure. Melbourne has been singled out for the most onerous (snap) lockdowns in the world. ‘Quarantine camps’ have sprung up in Northern Territory and Queensland, with more planned elsewhere. The visa cancellation of world tennis champion Novak Djokovic in Melbourne also brought renewed attention to the land ‘down under.’ Vaccine mandates have divided family, society, and even churches. It is no exaggeration to say that normal checks and balances of a parliamentary democracy have been challenged during this crisis.
In Part 02 we looked at some of the reasons for Australia’s Covid-response, including progressivism, hunger for power by some, isolationism, culture war fallout, apathy, media, and irrationality, which has been shown elsewhere.
In this third and final part, we ask a simple question:
What can we as normal citizens do?
Not Just in Australia but the Western World?
If you value a return to democracy and normalcy, please consider:
- Pray for leaders: This is the most important thing and is a clear Biblical command. Start with prayer for the prime minister and the state premiers. (or the president and state governors in the United States). Ask God to bless, protect, prosper, grant them wisdom and peace. Also, to restrain and reverse any actions that are undemocratic and harmful to society. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says it succinctly: “pray without ceasing.”
- Speak up: Leaders and concerned citizens should lift up their voices against the creeping tyranny and injustice, no matter how well-intentioned. This is a time for courage, not cowardice. Lawful protests are one way to do it.
- Parliamentary democracy: If your jurisdiction is under decree by leaders or bureaucrats, rather by the parliament, then demand a return to the ‘rule of law’ and ‘parliamentary democracy.’ Democratically elected parliaments are the law-makers of the land.
- Emergency powers: Some leaders have receive wide-ranging executive powers that upset the balance of power in the government, which protects democracy. These emergency powers are meant to be temporary, with a sunset clause. If they aren’t, they must be pointed out and repealed.
- The facts, please: Insist on true, verifiable facts, not slogans, when it comes to how lethal Covid-19 is, and all other related issues, like the vaccine, lockdowns, quarantine camps.
- Regarding the Vaccine: We do not publicly encourage nor discourage vaccines; ultimately, it should be a personal choice. The issue is coercive mandates. You can be ‘pro-vaccine’ yet ‘anti-mandates.’ For example, The Daily Wire conservative media service with Ben Shapiro has taken a pro-vaccine stance, yet has taken successful legal action against the current US administration over its vaccine mandates for private businesses. It is important to make such a distinction. As a free people, every individual should be able to make an informed decision about this issue, to ‘vax or not to vax.’ Forcing people against their will to get vaccinated and causing them to leave their jobs is inconsistent with a democratic society. This is not a ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ vaccine stance; it is a ‘pro-freedom’ position.
- Federal intervention as a last resort: State and local governments, whether in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, are sovereign and can rightly resist federal encroachment and overreach. The federal government, under normal circumstances, must respect state’s rights. Yet, when a state is acting in a prolonged anti-constitutional, anti-democratic and/or dangerous fashion, or in a manner that causes risk to the nation, the federal Constitution and its freedoms must be enforced. However, unlike America, Australia has no ‘Bill of Rights’ and, as of this writing, no religious freedom protection bill (though a religious discrimination bill is on the parliament’s table). Until now, these codified rights seemed nice but not necessary. Well, the times have changed. Prudence decrees that we look into this situation, and remedy it, before an even worse abuse of power comes in the future.
A Biblical Response: Be Balanced
We should all respect governing authorities – even if we did not vote for them – as Romans 13:1-7 requires. Pray for them, as commanded in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. This also includes the police: let’s be grateful for their protection, service, and sacrifice. We should not support any ‘defund the police’ movement nor legislation that favours criminals at the expense of society (euphemistically called ‘law reform’ in the United States).
At the same time, our cooperation with earthly authorities is not absolute. Acts 5:29 tells us “we ought to obey God rather than man.” The apostle Peter uttered these words in response to the Jewish high priest – his religious leader – who commanded the apostles not to teach or preach in the Name of Jesus. Compliance to this command was not an option, especially since a higher authority commanded “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” Mark 16:15.
In the United States and elsewhere, some churches chose to conduct worship services anyway because they believed it was God’s will, quoting Hebrews 10:24-25. Pastor, if the government says that you cannot have in-person church services or prohibits unvaccinated people from attending your church, what will you do? Only you can decide so be lead by the Holy Spirit. And if another pastor or another church makes a decision you don’t agree with, remember to demonstrate Christian charity towards them during these difficult times. Colossians 3:14: And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. We don’t need division in the household of faith during a pandemic.
Yes, these are very challenging times but never forget: crisis is the womb of God-given opportunity. Pass the test, and God will enlarge your place (Psalm 4:1).