The Christian "Roll Over" Argument
Obviously since people have devoted entire books to the topic of the American Civil War, I cannot possibly do it justice in a short amount of time. (For those of you who are interested in delving into it, I highly recommend William Safire's book "Freedom").
However, there is a renewed interest in the Civil War at this time, due to the current Federal government's continual references to The Commerce Clause in the Constitution. There are rumors that states may, once again, try to secede.
I have heard some Christians cite scripture from the Bible, who say that it is our obligation to bow to the government, with little exception. (The exception would be if the government demanded we do something which is against what the Bible teaches).
But How Do You Define Government?
There were 13-16 states that defined the confederacy in 1861, out of a total of 33 states at that time. So it was a significant number of states (almost half) that decided to exert what they considered to be their state rights.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Kentucky Resolution:
"Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that by compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: That to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party....each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress."
Yeah, he was the master of the run-on sentence.
What It Boils Down To
But what it boils down to is that Jefferson (the third President of the USA) felt that the States called the shots and created the Federal government, thus the Federal government wasn't supposed to reign over the states, but was supposed to be ancillary to them.
Jefferson also wrote the famous "Separation Letter" which set the precedence for the separation of church and state, and contributed to a great deal of thought as to how government should work in the early stages of our republic, so let's not quickly dismiss him as a crackpot.
So, What Does it Mean?
So, is it truly rebellion if the states try to secede again? And if so, is it contrary to what a Christian should do? And, perhaps more importantly (as Christians are a minority), is it something that should be considered by a citizen of the USA?
Rebellion, like history, is in the eye of the beholder. It can certainly be slanted to justify whatever we might want. However, this is a topic which we need to begin to consider, as the Federal government continues to extend its powers via the excuse of the Commerce Clause.