OK, so I have to come clean. I don’t care about the Super Bowl. It gets worse. I could not tell you the week before the game who was playing in it. Don’t get me wrong, I like football. I even played a lot of football in my younger years. I must say though, while participating on the field was fun, I never really felt the same level of enjoyment as a spectator. Then along came the family, business, and study. The next thing I know, I cannot even fathom how I could carve hours out of every week for almost half a year to watch the sport. Oh well, to each his own.
Although I did not keep up with the Super Bowl extravaganza, I did curiously follow one story leading up to the game on Sunday night. It was the story that the game was, as CBS labeled it, “the Super Bowl of security operations”.(1) It was considered a “Level One security event”. Check out a few of these stats:
- Walk-through metal detectors, X-ray machines, K-9 dogs and pat-down searches(2)
- “We are x-raying every piece of equipment, every cargo, every beverage, seat cushion, every piece of merchandise, food…everything that is going in the stadium has to be x-rayed before it goes in.”(3)
- 3000 security guards and 700 police inside the stadium(4)
- SWAT teams present(5)
- High-altitude sniper nests set up in the stadium(6)
- 700 state troopers on patrol(7)
- 4000 local police and private security officers(8)
- 3000 private officers employed by the National Football League(9)
- 100 government agencies involved in the security effort(10)
- Perimeter of the stadium “patrolled by helicopters in the sky and gunboat patrols in the water, armed with machine guns, thermal cameras, radiation detectors, and other high-tech gadgets”(11)
- A no-fly zone enforced by armed Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 fighter jets(12)
- Truck checkpoints located around the city(13)
- The addition of 200 bomb-sniffing dogs by the TSA(14)
Think for a moment about the sheer magnitude of the costs for what you just read. Tens of millions of dollars are represented by the list. We have to stop and ask ourselves, “why?” Why would there be such a colossal resource sink required for one of our favorite American pastimes? Most would just say that it represents a culture that is deteriorating all around us. They could then point to multiple other examples of the same phenomenon throughout our society. But again, why? It is not sufficient enough just to point to the deteriorating culture. We must askwhy the culture is deteriorating and why we are moving from freedom to slavery, from production to protection and from resource rich to resource sink.
Of course for the examples above, much would be the consequence of our modern empire state. But even this is indicative or an outworking of a more fundamental issue. It is the issue of the application of God’s law to all areas of life. God created all mankind and to the extent that his program for life is ignored, society will decline and become enslaved. The outward loss of freedom is a manifestation of the inward slavery to sin. It is inescapable. Decreased freedom and decreased resources go hand in hand. A lack of inward regulation (individual self-government) leads to high costs for outward regulation. These costs stack up. This is the point. Read the list above again. It is no less than the result of a society’s refusal to submit to the Word of God in every area – politics, economics, business, family, recreation, foreign policy – and the list could go on.
Think about this rather simple but profound statement I ran across years ago. It has stuck with me since the first time I read it.
The rejection of God’s law is the most expensive rejection of a capital resource that any man or any society can make.(15)
Why would this be the case? Think about it. If man does not take the framework and commands of scripture to guide lawmaking for individuals, the family, the church and the state then what other source would we be left with? Only ourselves. One problem – we are finite. And if you can’t know everything, you have to test everything to see what works. Listen to the complete quote.
The rejection of God’s law is the most expensive rejection of a capital resource that any man or any society can make. It substitutes for reliable knowledge the unreliability and astronomical costs of constant, universal, and eternal empirical testing – the testing of every fact in the universe. Autonomous man first tests God’s word, and then must test all other words, and all other facts, constantly and eternally. He departs from the paradise of reliable law and enters the barren land of universal testing.(16)
God has designed it where we cannot do an end-around on his law. Laws of our own making will not produce success and the cost is too high if we refuse to simply acknowledge his plan and abide by it. Constant, universal testing of the results of man-made autonomous law over time is impossible. His design is one in which those societies who use a trial by error approach lose more ground than they gain. All the while, those that acknowledge and follow His laws gain the ground (literally). Over time, His architecture ensures the success of covenant keepers. It also ensures the demise of covenant breakers.
This is why it is so important for Christian individuals, families and churches to proclaim the whole gospel and acknowledge the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the world. By definition, if we live faithfully in covenant with God we will obey his commands in every area of life. As we do we will witness His blessings over time. A more Christian society is a safer society. It is more productive. It is more free. And why wouldn’t it be? “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
- Gary North, The Dominion Covenant (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1982), 109.(↩)