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Since 9/11 Americans have largely accepted the idea that national security requires a trade-off between government power and freedom. However, recent revelations about the extent of government surveillance have raised serious questions about overreach, abuse of power, and the limits of democracy. How should people of faith respond to these revelations? Amid wide-spread public apathy over drone warfare, surveillance, and open-ended wars on "terror," how can faith leaders provide stronger moral leadership? Do our faith traditions have anything distinctive to say in relation to alleged government overreach, whether by the NSA or the CIA? And how do we assess the ethics of those who expose secret government operations in the name of preventing abuse?

The Patheos Public Square is produced in partnership with Christianity Today and the Progressive Christian Initiative.

Image Credit: Rena Schild/Shutterstock.com

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Featured Panelists

Who Will Watch the Watchers?

Who Will Watch the Watchers?

Rev. Jim Rigby, Presbyterian minister

To claim that the threat of terrorism makes our times unique is to make ourselves impervious to the lessons of history.

Misplaced Trust vs. Radical Obedience

Misplaced Trust vs. Radical Obedience

Rev. Peter Laarman, Progressive Christians Uniting

For Christians, our Easter faith necessarily de-legitimates and dethrones all false sovereignties; it dismisses Pharaoh, Caesar, and all other imperial power.

Edward Snowden: The Honorable Traitor

Edward Snowden: The Honorable Traitor

Alyxander Folmer: Blogger, "Wyrd Words"

We are honor bound to speak out against perceived injustices when we come across them. Óðinn advised us to give our foes no "frið," which is translated here as peace.

Two Words to Live Securely By

Two Words to Live Securely By

Mark Galli, Editor of Christianity Today

We need to embed the national conversation about the security state in light of the grand scheme.

The NSA: From

The NSA: From "No Such Agency" to "New Snowden Age"

Kevin Miller, Blogger, "Hellbound"

Many of the problems the snoops are supposedly trying to solve were virtually created by these very same agencies in the first place.

Secrets, Self-Delusions, and the National Security State

Secrets, Self-Delusions, and the National Security State

David R. Dykes, Dykes Foundation

We have learned all too well to keep the secrets and live in the denials that keep us stuck where we are, more or less paralyzed by our protections and our privileges.

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden's Live Questions and a Few Answers

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Wendy Murray, Blogger, "Poets & Lunatics"

For me, the questions revealed as much about the troubling scenario as did the few answers Snowden remitted.

Commentary From Our Blogging Community

I Reject the Security State

I Reject the Security State

John Beckett

When fear causes you to take reasonable precautions and think about what you’re doing, that’s a good thing. When fear causes you to make major lifestyle changes, keeps you from doing what you want to do, and persuades you to spend limited resources chasing absolute security, that’s a bad thing.

Faith in the New Security State

Faith in the New Security State

Rabbi Rami

I find it curious that we are asking people of faith to speak out about NSA spying: when it comes to surveillance the NSA has nothing on God. While the [Read More...]

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