In the United States, we can see the effect of this mistrust in the form of militias, paramilitary groups mustered from citizens dissatisfied with big government, and expanding federal control. These militias are born of mistrust in the country's leadership and direction. Instead of regaining citizens' rights, their actions present Americans with more rights being removed through anti-terrorist legislation aimed against them and the ghastly specter of civil war.
Some groups are pursuing the idea of "sovereign citizenship." Under this general term, several variations of this status exist, one of which is the Freemen holed up by the FBI in Jordan, Montana. Affiliation with sovereign citizenship ideas causes a person to scrutinize tax, federal, state, and local laws carefully to find flaws and loopholes.
A sovereign citizen—because he is sovereign, that is, he possesses supreme authority—feels justified in not obeying any law with which he personally disagrees. He will often not pay taxes, get a driver's license, pay traffic fines, incorporate his business, get a marriage license, build a home to code, or in any way submit to government. He feels that doing such things will enfranchise him to the state.
Some have carried this concept over into religious areas. The resulting religion, though sincere, is one that requires much effort, as it goes against the grain of more organized churches, and its fruit and attitude are bad. Since, as sovereign, they are above all human authority, they will not submit to the spiritual guidance of the church. They lean on the understanding that they are accountable to God alone, but even in this they have deceived themselves! In their pride they have only made themselves accountable to God on their own terms and according to their own views of God's law.
This attitude of sovereign citizenship is one that is sweeping this country in one form or another. If we are not careful, it can influence us in God's church. In fact, it has already caused several of our brethren to leave us to join the growing ranks of "independent Christians."
John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Should We Obey the Laws of Our Government?