Should Christians Oppose the "Surveillance State"?
Apparently anything goes in the "war on terror"—even spying on your own citizens. That’s the message Americans have gotten from their government over the last decade, and it has only been reinforced by the brewing National Security Administration (NSA) surveillance scandal. Thanks to information leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden—a man who proves that one can be both adored and despised at the same time—we now know details of massive telephone and Internet surveillance programs enacted by America against its own citizens. According to this information, your recent Google searches, cell phone conversations, and even personal emails may have been viewed or recorded by government intelligence agencies.
No wonder the Obama Administration is getting fileted and served up with a side of tartar sauce.
But the President is not solely to blame for the Orwellian reality we’re now facing. It is, in part, the Bush Administration’s policies come to roost. Legal cover for these actions has been provided by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which President Bush expanded with an “Authorization” to allow NSA to intercept Americans’ communications, and the Patriot Act of 2001. The super-secret $1.7 billion NSA data collection center in Utah, where much of this intelligence gathering has occurred, is the “realization of the ‘total information awareness’ program created during the first term of the Bush administration.”
Of course, few people argue that surveillance should never be allowed in a world as dangerous as ours. But what we’re seeing now is a government with carte blanche power to infringe on individual freedoms with almost no restraint. Out of some 8,600 invasive search requests submitted to the FISA court, only two have been denied.
Americans are justified to be outraged as such power run amok. And the Christians among them, even more so.