Approved by a 8-0 vote of the Scroll editorial board. Abstained by 2 votes.
Nicaragua is under siege by their leadership. As the country experiences civil unrest, they have begun the climb up a never-ending hill leading to disorder and rebellion. Nicaraguans are protesting changes in their social security system, which included increased costs for employers and their employees.
Missionaries have been evacuating Nicaragua since May 22 because the protests have gotten out of hand and many civilians, including one American citizen visiting the country, have been killed because of it.
Citizens have armed themselves, standing against the police and aren’t hesitating to fire. This puts the missionaries at greater risk of being injured or killed in riots, which is why they were taken out of the country.
According to The Boston Globe, 100 Nicaraguan rioters were shot by police snipers positioned around the Dennis Martinez National Stadium in the city of Managua, Nicaragua, on May 30.
We, the Scroll editorial board, send our thoughts and prayers to the missionaries and families affected by the emergency evacuations. We also wish peace and rest to come upon Nicaragua during these troubling times. We at Scroll also understand that there is a time for free will, and there’s a time for law.
Sadly, this is not the first time that Nicaragua has seen major unrest. According to The Washington Post, the controversy started when current President Daniel Ortega and his wife-turned-vice president, Rosario Murillo, took office 11 years ago and have run the government in their own way, which citizens have rejected.
“Just as our prophet is inviting us to pray for doors to be opened, doors are being closed to gospel preaching,” said David Magleby, a professor in the Teacher Education Department. “Perhaps we add to our prayers the need for the rule of law to prevail, so it is safe for the Lord’s messengers to go throughout the world.”
Magleby is referring to comments President Russell M. Nelson made in his most recent youth-centered devotional on June 3.
“As faith is coupled with works, we might consider what we can do to maintain and enhance rule of law in our own sphere of influence,” Magleby said.
The rule of law is the outline that our local government established to keep the personal desires and will out of political judgements. Ortega’s actions are not according to rule of law, but reflect his own will.
Why is this important for us here at BYU-I? We need to take for granted and not underestimate the blessings and gifts that we have here because we follow the rule of law.
The Constitution of the United States of America has the rules and guidelines provided for us back in 1789, and there have been changes to these rules that we are asked to follow in order to have the trust of our leaders.
Ortega does not completely follow the laws given to him by his country’s constitution. The people consequently believe that they don’t need to follow them either, which has gotten them to where they are today.
I remember when I was small, I never got any allowance for doing my chores. I did, however, always get a candy, soda or some sort of food I wasn’t allowed to have when I did something without being asked. As I got older, sweets turned into privileges. I was able to take the car out for the night, I could watch movies with friends at home and I got help buying something expensive for my passions and hobbies.
This is the way that the world should run: Follow the rules and be rewarded. We are all human, though, and at some point, the rules demand too much. This is where we need to understand where the line is drawn between the letter and the spirit of the law.
The letter is physical, the spirit is personal. When our personal affairs interfere with the physical letter, then the law becomes corrupt. These laws have been set for us to be able to continue to increase our own freedoms as we follow the law to the letter. The Honor Code, the sacrament, covenants made in the temple, the rules in a board game, the warnings on George Foreman grills; all of these things are meant to warn and be obeyed.
When we don’t understand the laws and riot against our country that gave them to us, we end up like our own personal Nicaragua. We have riots and rebellion in our own minds, trying to find another way to get what we want and need while avoiding the rules, but the rules stand still and strong.
The Founding Fathers of the United States had the right idea for how the people should be governed. Ortega and his wife do not. Scroll stands with the rule of law and doing what’s necessary in the moment.