I am sure that NSA surveillance program has achieved a lot in saving American innocent lives from potential terrorist attacks and to protect our country’s strategic interests from foreign powers. I believe that for now NSA’s (or any intelligence agency for that matter) purpose isn’t evil and is operating within the confines of the law.
So, how should Christians view NSA surveillance program in the light of Bible?
I am reminded of a biblical passage from the Epistle of Romans which fits what is being discussed here:
Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
This text refers to how Christians should deal with any kind of government, be it democratic or tyrannical. Apostle Paul is telling us that as Christians, we should be subject to the governments, because they are not a terror to good works, but to the evil doers. A government may be tyrannical in its conduct toward its citizens, but for Christians, as long they follow the law and don’t cause trouble, they should not be afraid of government and always strive to live in peace with all men as much as possible.
We should be also mindful of the fact God is the Sovereign and always in control of men’s affairs, including whom is entrusted with the rule over his people or nation. God ordained that we as Americans are responsible to elect men to the office and giving them our consent to rule over us. Obviously, no government is perfect and has a tidy record on human rights, but its powers and legitimacy is derived from God’s decree that we are to have a government to rule over us.
Of course, it doesn’t mean Christians (or anybody else for that matter) won’t be persecuted or mistreated cruelly by their own government but rather that God has given the governments authority to pursue and punish the evil doers. As long we follow the law, we need not to be troubled by how the government is doing to capture and punish the lawbreakers. NSA surveillance program is one such tool used by the government in order to prevent further terrorist attacks. Therefore, NSA surveillance program has some benefit even if we don’t always agree with its purpose or feel there’s not much benefit for us.
Nonetheless, there is a corollary to NSA surveillance program. By permitting a such program to run in secret despite doing so within the confines of the law, there are major ramifications that will determine the course in which our society is heading. First, due to corruption and scandals abounding, the level of trust between the public and government whom is entrusted with governance of our country is at an all-time low. The trust is already fragile and the public is so used to politicians lying to us all the time there comes a certain expectation that this is what government normally does even if it isn’t always true. Certainly there is a common perception if somehow mistaken that NSA surveillance program is really evil and will be used for evil purposes such as blackmailing politicians and spying on the citizens for no other reason than government is simply too corrupt to be honest and actually operating within the confines of the law.
Obama administration has destroyed its credibility in face of various scandals popping up. Take IRS scandal as an example. If IRS could target conservatives and their non-profit organizations, then it stands to reason that it’s entirely possible for Obama administration to use NSA for dirty political purposes. It may turn out not to be true, but you have to admit that the suspicion on NSA surveillance program is certainly plausible. Right now, Obama administration is muddling through so many scandals and various kinds of corruption, can we really trust them to operate within the confines of the law? There is always a chance that Obama administration could at times bypass the secret courts and extract the information directly from NSA surveillance program for their own political purposes. Like it or not, this possibility exists and is entirely plausible.
Once again, I am reminded of another biblical passage, this one is from the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Always remember that sometimes the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. NSA surveillance program is one of them. I believe that one day it will be most definitely used for evil purposes. It is in our human nature to twist the good for evil purposes. Often in the beginning a certain program is good and beneficial to the people, but over time its negative effects render any benefit moot. For example, Social Security was originally intended to help the elderly to survive their last years and as a safety net for them. But now it is overrun with high costs and a severe financial burden on our shoulders. It may very well prove to be our own undoing. The same principle can be applied to any social welfare program where it used to serve the greater good but now is considered a grievous liability which no one could get rid of easily. Again, it can be equally applied to the police and military. They exist to serve the public and protect them from the enemies from within and without. However, on the flip side, there is always a possibility that one day they will be used for sinister purposes.
In the end times, the Bible tells us that Antichrist will control most of the world. The only way for Antichrist to rule the world is if he has a lot of power in his hands. Once again, NSA surveillance program can be used to keep the tabs on particularly troublesome people like Christians and Jews. It can cooperate with other surveillance programs around the world and be used to track down dissenters or political opponents. The police and military will do Antichrist’s bidding and for him to achieve total control over the world, they will need tools in order to accomplish Antichrist’s goal.
In my opinion, we all should be wary of such programs that are purported to do good and beneficial for the public in different ways. And let’s not forget that some politicians and agencies will press for greater policing authority ostensibly for the necessity of enforcing the law but misusing the authority in other ways. Do we really know what is going on behind the walls in NSA? If we can’t answer that honestly and put our complete trust in NSA, then perhaps we should start worrying about that. But whatever it is, I think we’re too late anyway as we cannot go back to the old days before 9/11 occurred. Such days are long one and our society is changed forever. I fear the change is for worse.