Biblical Anarchy 3   2 comments

Hi, Lela. I hope you and everyone reading enjoyed a blessed week since our last discussion!

I am enjoying it, Becky, and I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation.

So am I, Lela.

Last time we focused on the Bible’s implications against the State, beginning with the Ten Commandments; we observed that if Christians seriously upheld them, the State could not exist. Hence, the Mosaic law contains the first of Scripture’s many intimations that political government is evil.

We find another huge hint that the State violates God’s will in the Golden Rule – or, as we often paraphrase it, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Ouch! Officers of the government break that one all the time!

Oh, indeed, they do! I’m amused whenever I read of another exemption politicians grant themselves from the laws they impose on everyone else. Nor do cops do unto us as they want us to do unto them. Rather, they physically brutalize civilians while prohibiting us from so much as brushing against their exalted personages. And how many bureaucrats open their homes or businesses to us though they trespass in—or “inspect,” as they euphemize it—ours? How many busybodies at the various Departments of Motor Vehicles would want us to deny them the right to drive though they strip us of that essential power? How many employees at Child Protective Services would tolerate our remanding their kids to foster-care as they daily do to parents around the country?

I can actually speak on how social workers feel about having their kids taken by Child Protective Services, because I worked as an administrator for a community mental health agency. They get as worked up as any other parent when it happens and, of course, they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong … which they probably haven’t. Usually the parents who don’t have an SW after their name haven’t harmed their children either.

Breaking up families is so utterly heartless and anti-Scriptural. Christians ought to combat the State for that barbarity alone.

Obviously, government by its nature violates the Golden Rule. Even clearer proof comes when we consider yet again the State’s two most characteristic behaviors: war and taxation. No one wants soldiers shooting at him while bombing, raping and pillaging; even the most belligerent hawks in Congress would mightily object should troops storm Capitol Hill and subject them to the horrors they so readily visit on the rest of the world. And the Chief Thief at the IRS would never permit any of us to pick his pockets though he routinely loots ours.

It would seem, then, that the Golden Rule prohibits our participating in the State’s atrocities. If we call ourselves Christians, we not only can’t “work” in government, we must actively oppose it, just as we oppose other evils (cruelty, child abuse, pornography, etc.) that violate Christ’s clear teaching in the Golden Rule.

There are other insinuations of Biblical hatred for the State. For example, Holy Writ repeatedly assures us of God’s special concern for the poor and His fury against those who exploit them. Yet political government always, in all times and places, preys on the impoverished, anecdotally and statistically. So standard is the State’s victimization of the poor that Scripture cautions us against amazement: “Don’t be surprised when you see that the government oppresses the poor and denies them justice and their rights. Every official is protected by someone higher, and both are protected by still higher officials.” Alas, this verse from Ecclesiastes 5 is another text I have never heard preached from any pulpit.

Remember our definition of “government”: a group of people who claims a monopoly on the legal and moral authority to initiate physical force within a certain geographical area. Physical force is political government’s sine qua non, its hallmark, its distinguishing feature; it underlies all government’s actions, even those that seem beneficial or moral.

Give us some examples of that, Becky.

Well, Lela, some people, even Christians, consider housing the homeless to be one of government’s duties. What they are actually saying is that politicians and bureaucrats should compel certain folks, i.e., landlords, construction workers, their suppliers of brick, mortar, etc., to provide their products and labor without payment – and if the landlords, builders, and suppliers refuse, the politicians and bureaucrats may fine them. If they continue to refuse, the government will imprison them. If they resist the officers pushing them into those cages, their assailants may “legitimately” kill them. (Of course, in reality, the process is far subtler: the landlords, builders, and suppliers’ loss is spread among taxpayers. But the principle holds, as we see when any taxpayer refuses to pony up: the State can and will fine, jail and ultimately murder our hero, should he resist.)

I had not actually thought of it that way before. Cast in that light, it doesn’t seem like a Christ-like response to homelessness. Are there other examples?

Millions, tragically enough. What of the poor sap addicted to drugs the State disapproves? Many people, even Christians, consider preventing, punishing, and curing addiction to heroin, cocaine, etc., worthy goals for government. But again, that means arresting, caging and, in some cases, killing anyone who resists. Does the Lord we worship approve of such violence against people who were neither threatening nor harming anyone?

You have a point, although I don’t wholly buy the argument that drug users aren’t threatening or harming others. Let’s hold that topic for a later discussion because I do agree with you that Jesus did not treat sinners the way the government treats those it has deemed as criminals. I don’t think He approves of that.

I don’t think He does either. He certainly didn’t resort to physical force Himself when dealing with needy people or sinners. He fed the 5000 after asking volunteers to share the food they’d brought. He did not order the disciples to search the crowd for hidden lunches and confiscate whatever they found, like a squad of hungry TSA goons. Nor did He single out the wealthiest people in the audience and double them over with abdominal pain until they bought everyone else dinner.

When the Pharisees insisted on executing the adulterous woman, Christ defended her from that enforcement of virtue. What a contrast to modern Christians, who, with their love of the State’s power, consider its punishment of “victimless” “crime” God’s work! And Christ famously dined with winebibbers and sinners, as His enemies charged, rather than agitating for laws limiting Sunday sales of alcohol or requiring ID for purchase.

Jesus wasn’t a complete pacifist though. He did resort to physical force at times.

Only once: when He chased the money-changers from the Temple. And then He was remarkably restrained. Rather than divinely striking these cheats dead or causing an earthquake to swallow them, He limited Himself to His own human strength and a whip.

So, you’re saying that the morality laws that many Christians advocate are actually violations of God’s law?

Yes, I am. The left is fond of pointing out that you can’t legislate morality, and just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, they’ve got a point. Force precludes morality.

What do I mean by that? Note that a God powerful enough to create the universe never compels us to love Him. He endows us with free-will. And His earth, both before and after the Fall, requires liberty and the power of choice as a framework for virtue.

I get no credit for being virtuous if my husband hogties me inside our home: I cannot commit adultery; I have no chance to; I’ve not opted for faithfulness over infidelity. Similarly, you are not a moral person if I hold you at gunpoint and say, “Don’t steal my wallet”: I have deprived you of the ability to decide to do otherwise. (Now, certainly, all of us lock our homes and cars, use passwords on our accounts, etc. But we are protecting our property from those who have already decided to steal, already chosen immorality.)

Ergo, liberty is a pre-condition of virtue. If we are not free to act, we cannot be virtuous. Christians who try to outlaw immorality via the State’s physical compulsion are completely illogical—and unbiblical. Our Lord doesn’t instantly zap sinners when they transgress His laws, and He doesn’t compel blasphemers to their knees in punishment.  Should we through the agency of the State? Or should we permit others to live as they see fit, sharing the Gospel with them, certainly, but relying on the Holy Spirit and persuasion to change their hearts rather than on government’s violence? The Bible does not condone force as a response to sin except in self-defense.

Now, some Christians will protest, “But I want laws against prostitution! I can’t live next door to a whorehouse!” And freedom holds the answer, but let’s explore that later.

Lela, we’ve looked at the Bible’s abhorrence, both obvious and implied, of political government. But perhaps the most compelling reason for Christians to denounce the State is that it is Satan’s citadel. He owns it, as the Bible clearly, graphically tells us and as I’ll explain next week.

I look forward to that discussion, Becky.

Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian who has written two novels about the American Revolution, Halestorm and Abducting Arnold.

Posted March 3, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy

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2 responses to “Biblical Anarchy 3

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  1. Becky is on fire! Great discussion.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Allure of Power with Becky Akers | aurorawatcherak

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