This past Memorial Day brought forth the usual military idolatry. What makes it worse, though, is that this military idolatry is so rampant among Christians and in churches.
And just how can a Christian know if he is guilty of military idolatry? Simple.
Christian, you might be guilty of military idolatry:
- If you send a care package to a U.S. soldier, but not to a missionary.
- If you thank a veteran for his service, but not a pastor, priest, deacon, or minister.
- If you can recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but not the Ten Commandments.
- If you value serving your country more than serving your fellowman.
- If you sing the National Anthem at a sporting event with more enthusiasm than you sing a hymn in church.
- If government welfare spending bothers you, but not government military spending.
- If anti-war rallies make you mad, but cadences recited in basic training don’t make you blush.
- If you shed more tears singing patriotic hymns than hymns of worship about the person and work of Christ.
- If you get more excited about U.S. soldiers killing Muslims overseas than U.S. missionaries preaching the Gospel to them.
- If you pray for the troops more than you pray for the furtherance of the Gospel.
- If you can sing patriotic songs without looking at a song book, but have to look at one to sing hymns of worship.
- If you compare the death of a U.S. solider killed in combat to the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world.
- If the murder of American unborn children by American doctors upsets you more than the murder of foreign children and adults by American soldiers.
And how can a Christian know if his church is guilty of military idolatry? This also is simple.
Christian, your church might be guilty of military idolatry:
- If it asks veterans to wear their military uniforms to church on the Sunday before a national holiday like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Veterans Day.
- If it applauds young men who announce their intentions to join the military with more fervor than it applauds young men who announce their intentions to study for the ministry.
- If it has the members recite the Pledge of Allegiance in church on the Sunday before a national holiday.
- If it sends more soldiers to the Middle East than missionaries.
- If it decorates the grounds and buildings with flags on Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, and the Sunday before Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Veterans Day.
- If it has special military-appreciation Sundays.
- If it has the members sing patriotic songs on the Sunday before a national holiday.
- If it has the members sing the blasphemous "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at any church service.
- If the sign in front of the church on the Sunday before a national holiday says that as the soldier gave his life for your freedom so Christ gave his life for your soul.
- If it welcomes home U.S. soldiers from war with more enthusiasm than it welcomes home missionaries from foreign fields.
- If it recognizes veterans in church on the Sunday before a national holiday.
- If it offers up more prayers for U.S. troops to be kept out of harm’s way than for foreigners to be kept safe from U.S. bombs and bullets.
- If it justifies Christians serving in the military because the Bible mentions soldiers.
It is no longer safe for non-imperial Christians who think the state should be separated from the church to attend church on the Sunday before Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Veterans Day. And woe be unto them if the Fourth of July or Veterans Day falls on a Sunday!
Originally appeared on LewRockwell.com on June 10, 2013.
Tags: Christianity, church, culture, ethics, theology, war
Recapping a few interesting and significant links of the past few weeks.
Here are some things you might not have seen in your internet sojourns lately…
Pope Francis is urging that world leaders end the “tyranny of money”. Unless he’s talking about fiat money like the Federal Reserve and the European central bank, I am not sure this is his best moment. Would any Catholics care to comment further? I may not have all the information here…
Rand Paul had an interesting day at the Reagan Forum last week.
Looks like Ayn Rand really hated C.S. Lewis. I’m not a big fan of Rand in the first place, and this isn’t increasing my esteem.
Check out these really intense historical anti-war posters. Wow!
Have anything you want to share? Let us know in the comments. I read every single comment and respond to as many as I can. Thanks!
Tags: Ayn Rand, catholicism, money, Rand Paul
Philip Mauro (1859-1952) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and educated at Columbian University in the nation’s capital, now known as George Washington University. He was a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and one of the foremost patent lawyers of his day. Mauro maintains offices in Washington DC and New York. Among his regular clients were American Telephone and Telegraph and Bell Telephone. He was a personal friend and patent counsel for Alexander Graham Bell. Mauro was converted to Christ at the Gospel Tabernacle in New York in 1903. In 1905 he published his first of about forty books and at least eighty shorter writings. He was on the Carpathia in 1912 when it rescued survivors from the Titanic, and later wrote "The Titanic Catastrophe and Its Lessons." In July of 1917 he wrote a small booklet titled Shall We Smite with the Sword? In the Christian Workers Magazine, published by the Moody Bible Institute, for August (p. 923) and September (p. 1) of 1917, there appears an ad for Mauro’s work reading: "Plain words regarding the teaching of the Bible as to the Christian’s position and attitude toward war. If you are not clear as to your position; if you have no settled convictions regarding a Christian and war, be sure to read this. It will give you the help you need. Just the thing for placing in the hands of fellow-Christians. It should have a wide circulation at this time. We solicit your co-operation. Single copies 3c; two for 5c; 25c per dozen, postpaid." After World War I was over, Mauro added an eight-page "Part II" to his treatise. The whole work, which is reproduced below, was later published by the Scripture Truth Depot of Boston. – Laurence M. Vance
Tags: Bible, ethics, theology, war
Hillsdale College in Michigan hosts Mises Lectures in free-market economics and houses the library of Mises in the Ludwig von Mises Room in its Mossey Library. But being a neocon outfit, it also has on the campus statues of Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill.
This dichotomy is also evident in the college’s monthly newsletter, Imprimus. The newsletter regularly features articles on the Constitution, limited government, and the free market. However, it just as frequently features articles that uphold Ronald Reagan, foreign wars, and an interventionist foreign policy. Imprimus sure has come a long way since Lew Rockwell served as its inaugural editor.
The most recent issue (April 2013) contains an article by R. R. Reno – the editor of First Things magazine – titled "Religion and Public Life in America" – that was adapted from a speech he delivered on February 20, 2013, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Bonita Springs, Florida.
In his speech/article, Reno slanders libertarianism. Here is the complete context:
A recent book by University of Chicago professor of philosophy and law Brian Leiter outlines what I believe will become the theoretical consensus that does away with religious liberty in spirit if not in letter. "There is no principled reason," he writes, "for legal or constitutional regimes to single out religion for protection." Leiter describes religious belief as a uniquely bad combination of moral fervor and mental blindness, serving no public good that justifies special protection. More significantly – and this is Leiter’s main thesis – it is patently unfair to afford religion such protection. Why should a Catholic or a Baptist have a special right while Peter Singer, a committed utilitarian, does not? Evoking the principle of fairness, Leiter argues that everybody’s conscience should be accorded the same legal protections. Thus he proposes to replace religious liberty with a plenary "liberty of conscience."
Leiter’s argument is libertarian. He wants to get the government out of the business of deciding whose conscience is worth protecting. This mentality seems to expand freedom, but that’s an illusion. In practice it will lead to diminished freedom, as is always the case with any thoroughgoing libertarianism.
So, according to Reno, a thoroughgoing libertarianism will diminish freedom. This is the most preposterous falsehood about libertarianism I have ever heard out of the mouth of a conservative. And it is strange that Reno would slander libertarianism based on the argument of Leiter, a leftist who is sympathetic to Marxism.
In a libertarian society; that is, a free society, government (the antithesis of freedom) is strictly limited, a real free market exists, property rights are supreme, and individual liberty abounds.
Libertarianism embraces financial freedom. Instead of the government confiscating a portion of everyone’s income and redistributing it in the form of grants and welfare, paying the bloated salaries of government bureaucrats, maintaining an empire of troops and bases, and spending billions on numerous boondoggles and pork barrel projects, Americans keep the fruits of their labors and save, spend, or support charitable causes as they deem best.
Libertarianism embraces educational freedom. This means no Pell Grants, student loans, vouchers, research grants, teacher-education requirements, teacher-certification standards, Title IX mandates, free and reduced school-lunch programs, Head Start funding, bilingual-education mandates, forced busing to achieve racial desegregation, diversity mandates, standardized-testing requirements, special-education mandates, math and science initiatives, directives such as the No Child Left Behind Act, restrictions on homeschooling, regulation of private schools, and, of course, no federal Department of Education.
Libertarianism embraces medical freedom. This doesn’t means just repealing Obamacare, but also the elimination of Medicare, Medicaid, FDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, SCHIP, government vaccination programs and mandates, government grants for medical research, medical-licensing laws, government funding of clinical trials, government HIV/AIDS-prevention initiatives, government nutrition guidelines, restrictions on organ sales, restrictions on the sale of medical devices, government regulation of medical schools, government medical records mandates, regulation of alternative medicine, federal laboratories, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, special privileges for the AMA and Big Pharma, and all laws and regulations related to drugs, health insurance, hospitals, physicians, and medical care.
Libertarianism embraces economic freedom. Instead of abandoning free-market principles in order to save the free-market system, as George W. Bush once said, libertarianism espouses a real free market based on the principle of laissez faire. This means no price-gouging laws, ticket-scalping laws, minimum-wage laws, anti-trust laws, interest-rate caps, SEC, FCC, FTC, Commerce Department, price-discrimination laws, restrictions on advertising, predatory-pricing laws, anti-dumping laws, special privileges for unions, corporate welfare, or restrictions on any business conducted between willing buyers and sellers.
Libertarianism embraces gun freedom. This means no government background-check system, waiting periods, government required gun-free zones, licensing of gun dealers, gun-owner databases, gun licensing, concealed weapons laws, government limits on gun purchases, government mandated trigger locks, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, National Firearms Act, Gun Control Act, Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Gun Free School Zones Act, bans on certain types of weapons, magazines, or ammunition, or regulation of gun sales, gun purchases, gun shows, gun storage procedures, ammunition, magazine capacities, gun calibers, or gun barrel lengths.
Libertarianism embraces personal freedom. Want to travel to Cuba or any other country? Go right ahead. Want to grow, sell, or use marijuana? Go right ahead. Want to discriminate based on religion, race, age, height, weight, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ethnicity, or color? Go right ahead. Want to drive without a seat belt? Go right ahead. Want to ride a bike or motorcycle without a helmet? Go right ahead. Want to fill in a "wetland" on your property? Go right ahead. Want to drink raw milk? Go right ahead. Want to purchase a beer on a Sunday morning? Go right ahead. Want to permit smoking anywhere in your bar or restaurant? Go right ahead. Want to play blackjack with your friends for money in your own home? Go right ahead. Want to purchase Sudafed without restriction? Go right ahead. In the words of the great Leonard Read, anything that’s peaceful. In a free society, consenting adults have the fundamental right to do anything that’s peaceful as long as they don’t aggress against someone else’s person or property while they do it.
In short, libertarianism embraces real freedom, not the false freedom of conservatism. Most conservatives never met a federal program they didn’t like as long as it furthered their agenda. We know what the conservative idea of limited government is: a government limited to a government controlled by conservatives. We experienced it for over four years under George W. Bush and a congressional majority of conservative Republicans. And what did that get us? It got us two senseless foreign wars, the destruction of civil liberties, a doubled national debt, the TSA, and the monstrous Department of Homeland Security.
For the libertarian, freedom is not the absence of morality, the rule of law, or tradition; it is the absence of government paternalism. Libertarianism is the absence of the ability of puritanical busybodies, nanny-statists, and government bureaucrats to make it their business to mind everyone else’s business.
It is a conservatism like that espoused by Reno and the Republicans that has contributed to this country becoming more and more every day a fascist police state. It is a conservatism like that espoused by Reno and the Republicans that diminishes freedom.
Originally published on LewRockwell.com on May 23, 2013.
Tags: freedom, libertarianism, politics, republicans
It is often said that libertarians arrive at their views from different routes. Some by Ron Paul (a conservative Christian), others by Ayn Rand (a devout atheist), others still through studying economics or history. Some grow up in libertarian homes. We are all on a journey, and those of us who call ourselves libertarians (whether we assume that title proudly or apprehensively) often criss-cross each other along the way.
Joseph Charles Putnam has recently self-published a book titled A Bible Based View of Liberty and Free Governments. Putnam definitely comes at his libertarian-leaning viewpoints from a different route than I have. Putnam describes himself as “limited government ‘Constitutional’ libertarian,” and his book is a manifesto of his viewpoint on Scripture and its relationship to liberty.
Putnam makes no qualms about his commitment to the AV1611 translation of the Bible, more popularly known as the King James Version, as well as a reliance upon Webster’s 1828 English dictionary. As a fundamentalist Christian looking to find God’s expectations for humans, he has a thorough knowledge of the English text of Scripture, and cites it throughout the book. Read More→
Tags: Bible, government, libertarianism, liberty