Looking to the State to Enforce Morality
Many professing Christians look to the State for the answer to life's problems, instead of relying on the influence and persuasion of holy Christians and churches. The Bible tells us to “seek first the Kingdom of God” and to keep ourselves from becoming entangled in the affairs of this life. This does not mean that Christians cannot seek to have an impact on the customs and norms of their community, but the State is not a legitimate center of authority. I agree with those who see the State as an illegitimate entity that undermines families, churches, and the Natural Law. Be that as it may, through taxation and force, we are slaves to the authoritarian State. Still, great things have happened through the witness of Christians in places where State actors have sought to curtail or even stamp out Christian practices, so it is obvious that Christianity does not need State approval to accomplish its purposes. There is something to be said for the impact that Christianity has on others when they see people preaching and following Christ when it is dangerous for them to do so. I believe Christianity makes an impact on society regardless of the actions of State officials.
Christians can try to harness the power of the State so Christian practices can be implemented as the law of the land, but this would mean Christians would be using aggression and theft, both of which are sinful. Or they can go along with the system only so far as to protect their families from harm, while they preach, peacefully protest, and vocally support legislation that gives liberty to all people to believe and do as they please, even though it will result in people choosing to do things we disagree with. I reject the first and accept the latter. It goes without saying that safeguards that protect people from violence should be present in any society, and this can be accomplished apart from State rule.
While many worship their false god – “democracy” - others ask how people can be duped into thinking democracy (or any form of State rule) is worth killing and fighting for, or that it is a system worthy of our allegiance. Democracy is nothing more than a dominant minority ruling (and manipulating) the subservient majority. Many people submit to the yoke of tyranny. It’s one thing to have it forced upon us as we try to survive the best we can, but many are willing to be enslaved by the State. Some do it out of fear. Others submit because they have believed the lie that the State, or their country or nation, is a God-ordained center of authority over their lives. Even some professing Christians, who should be speaking against the evils of the State, are shills for the State. Rather than trusting in the Lord and seeking to change the world through his churches, many believe the answer to the world’s ills is a “righteous State Government”, yet this a mistaken concept, for God’s agent for good is the Church. Accordingly, people have allowed Governments to determine truth for them, and in the process, truth and liberty have been sacrificed. Families allow the State to determine truth for them. Many churches allow the State to determine truth for them and they bend the knee to the State’s dictates. Communities do whatever the State demands so they can continue to receive State funds. Government is god in the eyes of many, and that’s why they will pledge their allegiance to its flag, its constitution, or its representatives. They will do what the Government says is good, and will avoid what the Government says is evil (Isaiah 5:20-21), and it is all enforced by Government hirelings. Government hirelings are those who obey what they are told, no matter what it is. They are not serving humanity, they are serving themselves, earning a paycheck, and they don’t care what happens to those the Government says to kill, arrest, or imprison. They are just “doing their job.” The founders of the US were against standing armies and a police state, but today, political conservatives and liberals empower and unleash both. They are not for freedom, they are for control – and their hirelings enforce their tyranny.
I consider myself a Christian anarchist, more specifically, a private property anarchist that acknowledges no king but Christ and no authority except that which is established by God – family authority, Church authority, and social functions that follow the natural law - enforced through customs, norms, and voluntary contracts. As a Christian anarchist, I oppose chaos and disorder, for I believe no one has the right to aggress against another person or his property, and that includes State officials. One can look at a dictionary definition and see different meanings of the word anarchy. The general understanding of those in a particular society can be influenced by the bias of those in control, thus a word such as anarchy, which merely means the absence of State rule, can be used by those who claim their lack of control will always lead to disorder and chaos (to make people think their rule is necessary) to make the unfounded logical leap to – anarchy means chaos and disorder.
To say anarchy is the absence of order is a false premise. Disorder can be present in any society, but many argue that disorder is most prevalent under State control, not the other way around. Because of the way humans behave, an anarchist society would not be perfect, but statist societies are worse, because the State accumulates power and control over others that could never happen under an anarchist society, where people are responsible for coming together for their mutual benefit and they are not forced to abide by tyrannical dictates.
Furthermore, to say that anarchy is the absence of governance is misleading. As I stated above, every society should be governed by family authority, Church authority, and social functions that follow the Natural Law, enforced through customs, norms, and contracts. Stateless societies have existed (the Old American West, Native American tribes, ancient Ireland, and others), and they did not have a monopolistic Government in control that ignored property rights. A tyrannical, monopolistic State is not necessary, and in fact where it is present, true chaos and disorder persists. Anarchy, then, does not mean looting and rioting, it is in fact order without tyranny. It is not lawlessness or unruliness, it is the absence of rulers. It is not an absence of governance, it is an absence of the State. If only people could understand how they have been sold out by their forbears to State rule, and indoctrinated with State propaganda, perhaps many of them would disengage from the system. I do not agree with the idea of attempting to infiltrate and influence the system, I am of the opinion that people of conscience should forsake the system as much as possible. The State is not something that can be redeemed, it is an entity that should be starved. It survives by claiming the resources of the people as its own.
Many support statism because they do not mind being told what to think and what to teach their children. They like receiving money from the Government that was taken from someone else so they can do little to nothing. They like having Big Government provide them with food and medicine. They like the “security” of State control. They don’t mind letting the Government run their lives. Others of us reject the notion that a group of politicians and bureaucrats should be able to tell us what we can or cannot do. We despise the thought of being someone’s slave. We hate the idea that the State thinks it knows better than the fathers and mothers. The State is the real cause of disorder and chaos. Consider the theft committed by the State every day, the senseless killings by the State, the curtailing of liberty, the lies, the tyranny, the many harms caused by mandates, the number of people imprisoned (creating concentrations of pure evil), the debt foisted upon the people, the murders in the womb, the disregard of God’s design for marriage and the family, and the number of injustices.
In the Bible we see that God expects us to respect people and their property. The State kills, threatens, and steals, and does so with impunity. We are not allowed to govern our own lives – we must obey the State. People assume that humans cannot govern themselves, but they are willing to give humans the power to govern others. The absurdity of this seems to escape many people.
We do not have property rights under State rule. In a free society, a society governed by voluntary agreements, we could govern our own lives and we could do as we wish with our own property. The only thing we couldn’t do is use violence against others and their property. Those who do would suffer the consequences.
Certainly, having a society based on Christian values would be beneficial, but trying to force beliefs and behaviors upon others through the power of the State would cause more harm than good. Whose “Christianity” should become the law of the land? There are many denominations and unaffiliated Christian churches across the country, and they differ in their doctrines, practices, and world views. Would we want a Catholic nation? A Baptist nation? A Methodist nation? A Presbyterian nation? A Calvinist or Arminian nation? A nation that believes in the enforcement of the Mosaic Law? I prefer to live in obedience to God according to my own understanding of scripture rather than having someone tell me and my family what we must do and what we must believe.
Theonomists claim that the civil laws governing the people within a territory should be State enforced and should follow the example of Israel’s civil and judicial laws under the Mosaic covenant. I look at this idea and see the danger of a Church-State relationship and how it jeopardizes the freedom to oppose official religious decrees being enforced by the State. God’s theocratic purposes for and through Israel are not now his purposes for and through the kingdoms of men, though the US is not the first State to make these claims for itself. The civil laws that God enforced in Israel were meant to protect the special relationship between himself and Israel, as well as his purposes through Israel as a nation, and we have no indication from the scriptures that God established the State to carry out these regulations.
There are some professing Christians who think that the State should be given the power to carry out the death penalty, but this gives an illegitimate entity the power to do the same to them just for being Christians if it so decides. I do not oppose the death penalty in principle, however I do oppose the death penalty being in the hands of the State. Throughout the scriptures we see God calling on people to repent of these kinds of sins without the death penalty being enforced. In Israel, King David committed adultery, yet he repented, and God forgave him of his sin without putting him to death. When the religious hypocrites dragged the woman caught in the act of adultery to the Lord Jesus in an effort to question him and place him at odds either with the directives of the Mosaic Law or the civil magistrates of Rome, the Lord put his finger on their hypocrisy, and they dropped the matter and left the scene. The Lord had a conversation with the woman and asked her: “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” She said: “No man, Lord.” The Lord Jesus then said: “Neither do I condemn thee; now go and sin no more.” We see that God’s morals are ever the same, for he did not say it was permissible for her to continue in adultery, but the idea that God uses the State to impose strict civil retribution for sin is refuted in these examples and others.
It is good when churches have liberty to proclaim the gospel, but it is not good when the State uses religion to control the minds and behaviors of people, even if it claims to be a “Christian” State. People may claim they want to see moral and religious uniformity being enforced by State power, but pursuing this model of governance is dangerous to individual Christians because the largest and most powerful religious group will set the standards for everyone else, and this will result in tyranny and persecution. In the history of the Church, rather than having one group dictate to everyone else what it means to follow Christ, Christians have worked through theological difficulties via conflicts, disagreements, and freedom of thought and expression. This would be impossible in a static, State-imposed system.
I consider the State to be a source of evil that is not concerned with justice; it is only concerned with maintaining its monopoly over the lives of the people in its territory. Christians should not seek to accomplish “good” by means of aggression or control, which are the hallmarks of statism. For the good of humanity, the Church’s sphere of influence must increase, and State power must decrease.