Eye on the World: more news about NSA spying

Earlier this year, many Americans became concerned about their privacy after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information revealing that the agency had been collecting citizens’ phone and Internet data. Now, the NSA faces fresh scrutiny after reports were released showing that it had spied on many world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Roussef, as well as on citizens in France, Spain, and elsewhere. 

Congress is investigating these reports, and may introduce legislation “creating more transparency and accountability at the NSA.” Meanwhile, US officials are meeting with delegations from other countries to try to assuage their concerns over the surveillance programs.

Countries have a legitimate need to gather intelligence, yet the NSA revelations raise many questions about what the proper balance is between keeping citizens safe and protecting their privacy. Thankfully, even knotty issues of international concern are not beyond the reach of prayer, which brings to light perfect solutions that promote safety while respecting and cherishing the identity and inviolability of each individual. 

In praying about the surveillance issue, one place to start is by recognizing that in God’s kingdom there aren’t many competing forces, all working at cross-purposes to further their own aims. There’s only one Mind, God, who directs all His ideas harmoniously. “Praying for our government” explores these ideas, reminding us that we can contribute to both peace and privacy through prayer. God is guiding governments and individuals alike, and He is speaking to policymakers, guiding them to make whatever reforms are necessary to ensure that privacy is guarded and respected around the world.

What to do about spying” offers some helpful spiritual insights about the practice of espionage, and argues that spiritual-mindedness can strengthen our perception and discernment as the Christ reveals our relationship to divine intelligence. The author writes, “Christian Science teaches that God is Mind—the one divine, eternal source of intelligence. Divine intelligence is not a mass of human information.” 

Mental privacy,” published in the Sentinel in 1959, explains that we all have the privilege, and the responsibility, of keeping our thinking clear of any outside influence or intrusion. By maintaining our own mental privacy, we make sure that we’re able to clearly perceive God’s direction as it comes to us. This clarity—the recognition that nothing can interfere with or divert the communication between God and His creation—can surely serve as a model for our electronic communications, as well. 

We can also pray from a standpoint of hope: confidence that because God is truly in control, He is keeping each of us safe and secure, and His government must always be good. As we pray along these lines, no matter what country we’re from, we can expect to see the adoption of governmental policies that respect the privacy and worth of each individual.

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