Romans 13 and the Stay-at-Home Order

A week ago, on April 3, Governor Mike Parson issued a draconian stay-at-home order.

I understand the impacts of the Coronavirus, but I also believe we can adapt to our situation. Closing everything down is wrong and a violation of our rights.

COVID-19 is a horrible disease and, as of this writing, has taken 91 of our fellow Missourians. But it’s not the only risk to our lives, and it would be foolish of anyone to disregard the negative impacts some of our emergency policies can have.

To challenge the Governor placing Missourians under house arrest without due process, I made an executive order for myself and shared it on Twitter.

WHEREAS, on April 3, Governor Mike Parson issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order; and

WHEREAS, that “stay-at-home” order becomes effective at 12:01 am on Monday, April 6, and is to last until 11:59 pm on Friday, April 24; and

WHEREAS, I Section 1 of the Missouri Constitution states, “That all political power is vested in and derived from the people; that all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole”; and

NOW THEREFORE, I, Jeremy Cady, ONE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by my Creator, hereby grant myself permission to leave my home as I see fit and designate all my activities as essential.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand, in Jefferson City, on this 5th Day of April, 2020.

Jeremy Cady




If you like it, you can download a copy for yourself.

Note, this isn’t a legal document. It won’t save you from a police officer who doesn’t care about your rights or a legal system that is fine with government overreach.

I received a number of replies saying I was responsible for the deaths of others. Not true. I know how to be responsible without government directing me to be. I social distance, I stay-at-home, and I wear a mask when I do need to go out – voluntarily.

My executive order was little more than an “official-looking” play on the GIF of Ron Swanson, from Parks and Recreation, handing over his hand-written permit.

One reply I received was, “What would be your take on Romans 13?”

I should remember not to get into discussions with progressives who pick a single verse/chapter and then apply it alone to our lives, disregarding the rest of the Bible. I should also remember that when this occurs, the responder likely has a vague understanding of the Bible anyway.

But, I thought it was an interesting question, and I dived into the rabbit hole.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Romans 13

The question is, in light of Romans 13, if Governor Parson tells me I must stay home, should I submit? Must I do what the government tells me?

First, must we always do what the government tells us?

The answer is a definite “no.”

There are several stories in the Bible when the Israelites did not submit to the ruling authority. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

We have two examples in Daniel. 

  1. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered everyone to worship the statue, but Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego did not.
  2. King Darius proclaimed that if one made a prayer, they were to offer it to King Darius, but Daniel did not.

These actions landed Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego in a furnace and Daniel in a den of lions, from which God spared each of them. 

In Acts, the Sanhedrin directed Peter and John from teaching about Christ, and they did not. In Acts 5:29 Peter says, “We must obey God rather than man.”

The author of Romans, Paul, wrote many of his letters while in prison or house arrest.

But one could make a distinction and say God doesn’t command me to defy a stay-at-home order. Staying-at-home isn’t a sin. And Dan, from above, agreed with me on this but refused to go any further in the discussion. 

Romans 13 does tell us to submit to the governing authorities, but it also tells us what the role of government is. What some want to do is ignore verse 3 and on. 

Government’s role is to protect the righteous and punish the evil. That is the government to which you submit.

If the government is not performing its proper role, must we submit?

It reminds me of Ephesians 5, where it tells wives to submit to their husbands. But we’re wrong to neglect the other half of the commandment, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

Is forcing law-abiding citizens to stay-at-home and punishing them if they do not, protecting the righteous or punishing the evil?

Are you evil for wanting to go to the park or the grocery store? Are you evil for wanting to keep your business open and your employees working?

Does a stay-at-home order fit the role of government defined in Romans 13?

If we only adhere to verses 1 and 2, and we must submit to the government regardless of what the government says, then it would be logical to call our founding fathers sinners for opposing King George. It would be reasonable to label anyone who opposed Adolf Hitler, a sinner. Fortunately, I don’t believe that’s the case when we look at Romans 13 in its entirety. They were right to revolt against England, and they were right to depose Hitler.

My last thought on this issue is a constitutional one. 

Can I submit to the governing authority while opposing Governor Parson’s stay-at-home order?

In our system of government, we have the rule of law rather than the rule of an individual.

We recognize that all humans have rights, granted by our Creator, and the design of our government is to protect those rights and limit the interferences government can impose on those rights.

Usually, the government requires due process to restrict your rights further than what is generally acceptable. You must have committed a crime, they must present evidence, and your peers determine that the proof is valid and supports the government’s claim.

In a blanket stay-at-home order, what is the due process? What wrong has everyone committed?

If we make a case that the constitution, US or Missouri, doesn’t give the governor the authority to force us to stay-at-home, then it is the governor who is not submitting to the government. Those who challenge such an order are justified in doing so.

What’s your position – does the government have the constitutional authority to keep every citizen locked away in their homes?

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