Christian liberty versus ‘lockdownism’

Feb 10, 2021 by

by Dr Joe Boot, Christian Concern:

Gathering to worship the living God, enjoy table fellowship, and take pleasure in our work are all God’s gifts to man. During the past ten months, much of that has been lost – lives, livelihoods, treasured human relationships and historic liberties. Some were taken from us suddenly, others gradually, with many of the dire consequences being initially imperceptible when submerged in and carried along by a ubiquitous grand narrative. It is the importance of liberty as an indispensable condition of life and human dignity that I want to discuss in this article.

Before the erosion of liberty is possible there invariably comes a loss of perspective. History shows that people will not surrender their liberties unless, driven by fear, they believe they can trade liberty for safety and security from some deadly threat – and that threat is frequently exaggerated to justify authoritarianism or even totalitarianism. Threat exaggeration seems to have played a role in the collapse of liberty in the West this past year. It does not take an epidemiologist or mathematician to notice that the doomsday predictions of last spring regarding global excess mortality and death for 2020 were, however well-intentioned, greatly overstated, making early comparisons to the Spanish flu now look dangerously irresponsible – especially in view of the disease profile and risk to younger people.[1]

This is not to say that the mitigation strategies used in the face of fear and panic have accomplished nothing. For the sake of argument, l am ready to concede that the unprecedented mass lockdown of healthy populations over the past year will have hindered transmission of the virus to some extent and thereby saved some lives – although I am personally sceptical of the efficaciousness claimed for the measures, and I think with good reason.[2]  But ultimately, whatever one makes of the real-world clinical effectiveness of lockdowns for hindering viral spread and death, that is not the end of the matter.  The Christian must think about the whole of the issue through scripturally informed eyes if we are not to lose perspective amidst all the claims, counters-claims, threat assessments and emotive rhetoric.  The Bible is abundantly clear that all life belongs to God, is in His hands and is to be lived on His terms.  Clearly, we are not to lawlessly take innocent life, but scripture does not hold up the prevention of all death as a moral absolute for human society.

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