You may call me paranoid, but I don’t like this one bit: The Guardian newspaper released a report on June 6 that the National Security Agency secured a judge’s authorization in April to compel Verizon to hand over millions of phone records. Not of suspected terrorists. Of ordinary Americans.
They know whom you called, when you called, how long you talked, and where you made the call from. To make it worse, it’s probable that all the major telephone providers are included in this or similar court orders.
That’s bad enough. Later that same day The Washington Post reported—and it was followed up on June 7 by The Guardian--that the NSC has accessed the email accounts of the major internet providers. Ninety-seven million people’s records—perhaps more—billions of emails--are now on view by the government.
They’ve got your videos, your pictures, your Skype conversations, your Facebook account. Even your credit card records. The IPs deny cooperating with the government. One senior executive said, “If they’re doing this, they’ve done it without our knowledge”. Believe whom you will.
Add this in: It has been going on for the past seven years. But the surveillance of you has geometrically expanded in the last four years.
Consider it from a different perspective. The Bible says God is omnipresent. It says God is all knowing. And he not only hears everything we say but he is aware of every thought we think. “The Lord knows the thoughts of man,” says the psalmist. (Psalm 94:11)
Before the great flood of Noah’s time, Genesis 6:5 says, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continuously.”
There is a difference between God and the government. God is good. And He is righteous. And God shows mercy to tens of millions of those who love him. (Exodus 20:6) Because I know God loves me in spite of seeing me at my worst--that causes me to love him back. With great passion. And I want to please him out of gratitude.
But I don’t trust the government like I trust God. Intention aside, the government is made up of men like me. They are afflicted by prejudices and tempted by the lust to control. If they do not like what I say or do, they can bend me to their will. If I am a criminal or a terrorist, that may be fine. But I am not a criminal.
Who would you rather have listening in on your thoughts--God or the government? I'd pick God in a flash. When I telephone you, my friend, or send you an email, and we share the ordinary pieces of our lives, I don’t feel good about some government agent watching over my shoulder. Someone with power to coerce and punish.
When God told David that because of his sin (of creating big government) he had a choice of consequences, David replied, "Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man." (I Chronicles 21:13)
Perhaps we need to pray the prayer of David.
Dr. Rick Perrin is Chairman of the Board of WRF and senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cherry Hill NJ. He writes a weekly blog called ReTHINK which may be accessed at www.rethinkingnews.wordpress.com. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.