December 26, 1996
First ThingsFax: 212 627-2184
To the Editor:
It was said at the Episcopal General Convention in Phoenix, August 1991, that "there are two religions on the floor..." The same two religions are fighting for the soul of America -- represented by (1) the Tree of Life, the Biblical relationship of trust and obedience to God, and (2) the forbidden and lethal Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the secular/pagan life with no trust in or obedience to a personal creator God, a life of attempted spiritual and ontological autonomy and self-sufficiency.
The same two religions are at war in the American public square. Biblical folks, after a backsliding absence of over a century, are beginning to reappear and stand again for the sovereignty of God. They are being accused, of course, of wanting to force their view on everyone else, nevermind that that is what law always does. It is merely a question of whose views. God insists that His views will have consideration in an open, honest public debate. If His people are obedient, He will do it through them. "The End of Democracy?" -- it depends on the people of God.
The issues are those which divide ultimately. There are, I think, only two ways to avoid a civil war somewhere down the road. One way is by the secular/pagan side continuing its successful attempt at mind-control through the government education system, to dumb us and our children down and make us controllable. It is much cheaper and less wasteful to impose tyranny by educating people to vote for it. The other way to avoid a civil war is by freedom-loving people educating the public again to the principles of limited government under God.
"Under God" is the only way to sustain a limited government, so secular folks who want civil government to be a servant of the people want something they can have only at the cost of something they will not grant. The secular/pagan world is driven by the compulsive need to fill the gaps for what in fact only God can do -- in this case, provide a unifying moral consensus.
Those who have lost any relation to a living God will inevitably substitute Big Bureaucratic Government in His place. "Democracy" without God will always become socialism -- which is "democratic" (servant to the people) in name only. Apart from the obligation which the higher law of God places upon civil government, there is no possibility of sustaining limited government freedoms.
Several responses in the January issue point out that we have a cultural problem more than a judicial one. True. But that analysis is drastically altered by the fact that civil government has made itself the arbiter of culture through a state-controlled, mandatory, tax-supported school system. Big Bureaucratic Government is not only telling us what the constitution means, it is telling us how to think and what our values are to be. Civil government in the 19th and 20th centuries discovered mind-control.
Some in Minnesota are now pushing for state licensing of parents to have children. This is not just a foolish, inept, and wasteful kind of government, it is a wicked kind of government.
The culture war is being fought primarily in our schools and churches, and we are still losing because we have been persuaded to believe that we are incompetent to run our own lives. We will either get the hands of civil government off the minds of ourselves and our children or we will lose the battle for freedom. We need the separation of school and state for precisely the same reasons we need the separation of church and state.
The editors say they are not calling our government "illegitimate". But if the law of God is the highest law of the cosmos, and if the highest court in the land has declared itself no longer under that law, is that not outlaw behavior? And was that not precisely the argument of the Declaration of Independence to King George III?
Our obligation to continue obeying the government does not come from an inherent right of the government to be obeyed, but rather from our obligation to God to honor the government until He asks us to replace it. With that in mind, we indeed need to "move toward a conversation that is calm, deliberate, and keenly aware of the implications of conclusions reached."
I agree that we ought not take up arms. We are not near that point. But we ought vigorously to press the issue so that the other side must either concede or take up arms. God never lost a battle. We need to find out what He is doing and join Him in doing that.
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