Excerpts from Letting Govt. Get Under the Church Tent | Andrée Seu Peterson
This year a dozen women in our local church taught ESL to non-native English speakers in the community and offered child care during class time. It was fun. At the debriefing in May our director discussed workbooks, summer follow-up opportunities—and mentioned in passing that child care will not be offered next semester.
The child care decision was explained as being due to a new state law requiring that all church personnel involved with children must receive official criminal background clearance. The far-seeing ESL director realized the implications and judged that it would be prudent to scrap the baby-sitting: Fewer people would be willing to take the extra step of filling out the necessary forms. The resulting smaller pool of workers would mean that our ESL cadre would be in competition with the Women’s Bible Study ministry and the Sunday nursery ministry for manpower.
Would we have been sad but obedient when the 1933 “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” barred people of Jewish descent from employment in government? Would we have had searchings of heart but complied with the 1935 “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor” that interdicted marriage between Jew and German? Would we have sighed but acquiesced in 1938, when government contracts could no longer be awarded to Jewish businesses, and in October of that year when Jews were required to have a “J” stamped on their passports?
If the local church cannot be trusted to know its people well enough to decide who is fit for nursery duty, there is nothing much to say except that we had better get back to a New Testament model where pastors knew their flock.
In 1 Chronicles 12:32, the tribe of Issachar is commended for being “men who had understanding of the times.” We Christians must recognize govt. intrusion for what it is, and be prepared to defend religious liberty.