Sister Priestess Elayne Kalila Doughty has proclaimed yesterday – America’s Independence Day – an International Day of Sovereignty. And in Sisterhood, I am doing likewise.
I think that when priestesses talk about ‘stepping into your sovereignty’, they mean, owning all parts of yourself and being responsible for them; of making your own choices; of becoming all that you are; of awakening and using all your spiritual gifts.
I say ‘amen’ to all that, but that’s not really the sort of sovereignty I want to discuss.
I also think that priestesses mean that stepping into our sovereignty is stepping out of oppressive structures, and awakening to the ways in which we are oppressed or allow oppression to happen; we may even be oppressors. That’s closer to what I want to say.
I’ve mentioned sovereignty several times in recent posts, as the virus – aren’t you bored of that as a character in your world? – has put an ultimate question into sharp relief.
I’m not talking old British coins, or our Queen, or a one time chicken factory group.
I’m not even talking about God, although I will.
I’m taking about us vs the state.
Doing a little research, I was intrigued by the phrase Sovereign Citizen, but I could find no website of such proponents, or even a neutral discussion. Each search result was about the fear of ‘enforcement community’ – conglomerate, more like – of such people. America’s Southern Poverty Law Center is actually about hoiking out extremism – but just how exactly is questioning the state’s role attached to poverty?
What search results really show is what the mainstream wants us to think. Sovereign Citizens – I keep thinking of those chickens – are a threat, we’re told. They’re silly. There’s even a false website with a crude message to would-be sovereigns. They’re dangerous. They do harm. They think they’re above the law. (I’ll analyse that statement in another post). The FBI are after them. They have no legal basis – duh! If they don’t believe in the power of law, why would they even seek a legal basis? However, I have read claims to have found it. I’ve always been against anti-extremist laws, for I can see that this term is a wide net to silence dissent, and that it’s been cast and tightened for some time. As long as there are enough incidents, especially of terrorism, we can allow the law to get stricter. In Britain, we have a regime called Prevent where professionals such as teachers are meant to report, on pain of losing their own jobs, anyone coming into contact with them who sound like they might be extremist. Yes, even toddlers have been reported.
Extremism is clearly meant to be tethered with terrorism in our minds. Terrorism is a broad term and it’s used really about enemies of the state. When heinous acts are committed, we are meant to link these bombings with alternative mindsets; so that for example, the work of the Irish Republican Army and Irish Catholic independence went together. Of course they did not, and there were lesser known Protestant pro British equivalents to the IRA; and still less known were that Irish police and British troops – who the news showed us as necessary peacekeepers, if not heroes – were bullying the people. I only learned that two decades after the peacefire in a museum in Free Derry.
We are being encouraged to see those who declare themselves as Free, ie sovereign, as a form of terrorism, although I’m not aware that Sovereign Citizens have bombed anyone or taken up weapons of any kind, or are even an organised group.
I hate that Wikipedia comes up top of search results – I try to switch it off, for it is part of the Bubble we’re meant to live in, the bubble controlled by algorithms and powerful large corporations as well as our governments and those who work for them, who censor non approved narratives. They seem to have an opinion on sovereignty too.
The first result in a box is that sovereignty is a ‘legal doctrine’. I thought that only religions had those. Oh, I forgot that the Rule of Law is one, which thinks it can override our own principles and faith. I suspect that all faiths have had to miss an important holy day due to lockdown, and that deeply upset me that my government thought that it could tell Christians that we had to miss Easter – our central festival, the fulcrum of our faith. I’ve said that I believe that church and state should be separate, and this statement is usually that established religion should not steer the state; but I mean most of all that the state has no power over faith.
One of my issues with the rule of law is that it makes law – an undemocratic, nebulous, arcane and elitist construct – bigger than our God, and our own conscience.
Law is often not about what’s right, but about control. It often suits a few rather than all and it means that our enforcement officers – I’ll be back with more posts on them – spend their days mostly pulling up on petty actions deemed to be ‘offenses’ which often shift. There are people and groups they are encouraged to worry about, but that is about conditioning. When your secret ‘services’ feel that an appropriate response to green activists is to blow them up (the Rainbow Warrior), when you infiltrate these groups long term and have kids with them to learn of their plans, when M15 know Greenpeace’s membership, it says alot [sic] – and not good things – about the values behind who’s running our society.
One of the questions I want to ask us together is what sort of society we have, and even if we have one. We’re meant to assume that we have a state, can’t escape it – I’m struggling to think of a place on Earth that doesn’t, especially who might be able to read this and introduce themselves.
But even saying this might be considered extremism. And that’s wrong. Look how anarchy – a possible cousin of Sovereign Citizens – is seen as ‘lawlessness’ – a state to fear.
But what of fearing the state?
When you read that the opposite of anarchy – which is merely no organised hierarchical rule – is statism, you realise that having a state is a thing. And therefore, you have an option not to have it. It’s especially questionable when again, the easy answers I despise on the net tell me that my country’s state is the sovereign force in it. Parliament is supposed to hold government to account (do note the word for our leadership), but it’s also the sovereign law making body, and of course, we’re meant to live under the law.
I’ve been looking at law in the Bible recently. What kind of God made all the laws – 7000 odd – that the Jewish people had to live with, controlling every aspect of their lives? I’ll say more for Magdalene day, around the 22nd July; but I want to note how living under the law is about ceding your sovereignty in many aspects of what you do. In a related post offered to the Norwich Radical, I said that who is sovereign and who is accountable go together. I asked that those who are supposed to be civil servants – that’s serving us, not the High Heid’yins – are accountable to the people, not the other way around. I also noted that the services which our government, at any level, provides, almost covers everything we do. Thus by providing it, they also own it and have sway over it. Publicly owned means publicly paid for… for do we really have meaningful say or clout regarding most matters? Think: our streets, our education, our car parks, our pay, who lives with us… all connected to the government: they either provide it, want to know about it, or to give permission for it. They can expect us to ask permission to have chairs outside our cafe and signage outside our church – yet did they ask our permission for new CCTV and other dodgy watching devices? Or even distruptive road works and events?
During the lockdown, most of us round the world have felt that our leadership have tested how far that they can take their sovereignty, in relation to our own. We’ve had our bodies and homes even intruded into; our association and work and places of worship, our special treats and rights of passage – even saying goodbye to people who leave the earth – curtailed or banned. The more we’ve done electronically, the more our transactions have been trackable. Many of us have if not assented, acquiesced by default. We’ve stayed in and 6ft/2m apart and asked our customers to; we’ve queued; we’ve not gone into work or round our neighbours. We’ve followed the arrows (now on pavements!) and stood on the markers, like some game. Indeed, some wonder if this isn’t some prescripted charade we’re participating in…
Recently, some maintenance men wanted to do an annual check. The government expects it, they said. I am sick of the government telling me who I can and cannot have in my home; and why does this stranger, which is quite a nuisance, think that they can come in when my loved ones – save my ‘Bubble Buddy’!! – cannot?
Surely the only person who can really say who comes into my home is…me!
Free Cannabis – yes that’s his name – of Glastonbury, where else? – writes a poem on his website about being given over to the crown at birth via his birth certificate. He couldn’t opt out, not as a bairn nor man. It’s a lifelong non-negotiable contract. Is that legally true? It’s a legitimate way of seeing it – see how law creeps in everywhere? We are kind of slaves to the state, paying into it without choice in return for provision and protection… which sounds very ominous. And we can’t really leave, for the next country, who may not have us, will have its own set of rules and expect sovereignty over us too. Is there anywhere on Earth that we can live in our own sovereignty?
I want to discuss God and sovereignty. Those with faith have sometimes been seen as suspicious to a different faith or no faith government. It’s because believers believe that their ultimate authority is God and not any human leader. It’s why communist governments fear religion, and why the Anglican church feared Catholics – whose head was a powerful man of another empire – and all the nonconformists who just went straight to the Top – ie God. A pamphlet written in this very city four hundred years and thirty ago was burned, and its readers executed, because Robert Browne stated that a judge didn’t have authority in matters of faith. He asked that believers did not wait for the state to allow them to build new Christian communities, and giving civil authorities such power to violently punish made magistrates into gods and ‘worse than beasts’. This incensed our church/state hybrid, whose central pillar was the elevated power of the judiciary. A Treatise of Reformation Without Tarrying For Anie is still a hard book to get hold of.
In a public extremism consultation in Britain, there were suggestions of who might be extremists, and all the faiths we have here were given as options to tick.
I’m not going to reveal where, lest this site is attacked, but I stumbled upon an American Christian website who argues from law and scripture that we are free – that is, sovereign – citizens. They say that as Christians, God alone is sovereign of our lives.
They say that in their country, sovereignty, whilst delegated to the government, remains with the people; that since Jesus, we are no longer under the law; and that we are foreign – in that Christians are pilgrims passing through Earth, whose real home is in Glory – so that a different legal status can be conferred, via the FSI Act, giving them immunity. There’s advice on how to gain that, and what and what not to do.
Living under the law is slavery, they say. Be Not Conformed Of This World!
I have never heard Romans 12:2 used in that way before, but I love it!
An unlikely ally for me, she who is gay and woo woo friendly, but I do like to find fellowship in wide and unexpected places. Perhaps the very traditional Christians (when I don’t look up some of their other views) are kindred in that they are thinking for themselves and using God alone as their guide. Perhaps that’s why fundamentalism in any religion is literally given a bad press.
The other unexpected Christian ally – found via a nonchristian website – was a Catholic Archbishop, Carlo Vigano. He recently wrote an open letter to Trump d’oiel.
No I do not agree with his idea of what a good citizen is. Family excludes those who don’t have families; I fear that he means the permanent pairing of heterosexuals with values that would make me squeal from here to [titular] Ulpiana. I resented his working to make prosperity for the homeland; but then perhaps this is a clever letter, writing exactly what Trump would like to read whilst being credibly true to Catholic values. I didn’t agree with Carlo’s hell statements either. But I did like that he called out the imbalance of wealth; of creating division; that investigations are showing deliberate use of the virus for nefarious political means by the Deep State.
He even spoke of deep church! Dare I call this man a brother?
He’s awake, and he’s speaking out, against the New World Order, the powers of darkness (not giving you capitals – victory is already given to us, the side of Light), and against those in the church (he means his own, presumably, I mean literally catholic – Universal) who are willing servants by their conformity.
Perhaps in his own words:
I dare to believe that both of us are on the same side in this battle, albeit with different weapons.
This is a time to regain our sovereignty, not to further give it away.
Our governments’ right and method of ruling must be carefully examined. That isn’t extremism – any who call it so are a fearful, controlling bully of a leadership and their lackeys.
I took my faith apart once. I decided, then, that I could rebuild it as it was, but it felt stronger having been prepared to not rebuild, or to rebuild anew.
I am wary of the role of licensing, which gives the government power over what we can do in many aspects of our life, from film viewing to fishing. I am concerned when decriminalisation amounts to regulation, which really means revenue control. We might want to protect our fish and our film industry, but the real protection is proprietory – these are OUR fish; we want money from OUR film. To be explored more another time. It also shows that what’s legal isn’t about what’s good but what the government and the powerful businesses who steer it want in on, or to have the power to stop.
It’s the last of these – about places of worship – that I’ll address before my round up.
In the late 17th Century in Britain, after over a century of persecution (and after Robert Browne), forbidden new – ie dissenting – churches were at last ‘allowed’ to meet openly. They were, as the law called it, generously tolerated. But they needed a license for their chapels, from the state, which was the Anglican church. (Catholics had to wait until the 19th century). Thus the Church of England patrolled its rivals, as its men had done, seeking secret services, breaking up, imprisoning, fining, torturing. Thus it was using fear and punishment to gain full sway, expecting tithes and maintenance by force from those who were not worshipping with it. It meant that it showed itself as sovereign, even though some people had opted out.
In Communist regimes, churches which weren’t banned also required a license, such as in China today. It again means that an all-seeing government feels it must give permission for people to express their beliefs and meet together, and if you give, you can take away – as in the book of Job (he’ll be a sermon soon). But it’s the state, not the Lord, who can hoik back, and make conditions, and inspect us to decide if we’re meeting its standards, and shut us down if not, and thus we are not free.
Another thing that those priestess sisters did was to withdraw consent for all injustice. It began with the awful racist police killings in May, but now we’re asking about the very inequality and bias behind such acts that underpin society.
I like the idea of withdrawing consent.
I even better like what She-Ra – there’s a sermon in her – said:
I will not co-operate with evil.
I wonder how we can show that – and that means enforcement officers and judges; people who could report or litigate or punish something that actually is about prejudice and not fairness. So if you’re tempted to report this or other people’s social media remarks or speeches, think: what am I consenting to and encouraging to happen? (Hint: secular heresy).
When I call a sovereign citizen a dangerous freak to be stopped and weeded out, have I stopped to ask what sovereign citizenry might mean? Have I thought that this attitude of labelling nonconformity as ‘extremism’ is the state protecting itself? Am I suspicious that the remit of all English-speaking spy groups is to uphold capitalism? (Check their websites). Have I considered history or philosophy, psychology or spirituality before I made that critical statement, let alone that arrest or sentence?
So…I withdraw my consent from all the things I’ve spoken out against already.
I withdraw it from a fear based, self perpetuating status quo, from being unable to question, from a nebulous law and state pyramid which is afraid that it’s crumbling, or about to be inverted. (Hear the Magnificat). I withdraw my consent from all isms, and yes, assumed statism is one, and demonising those who dare query it is another.
I am sovereign, under God and the Double Commandment, and so are you.
The next planned sermon will be for Magdalene day