Archive for church
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all."
There are three holidays that cause otherwise sound-in-the-faith evangelical, conservative, and fundamentalist Christians to lose their religion.
I am referring to Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day.
One of these holidays doesn’t even have to fall on a Sunday for some churches to go wild with celebration.
Memorial Day, of course, is always observed on a Monday. The other two holidays only fall on a Sunday every seven or so years. But if one of them doesn’t happen to fall on a Sunday, the Sunday before the holiday will do just as well. In some years, like when the Fourth of July or Veterans Day occurs late in the week, the Sunday after the holiday is reserved by some churches for observation.
As if the blind nationalism, hymns to the state, and exaltation of the military that occurs in some churches on these Sundays isn’t bad enough, sometimes the festivities also include the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, in church, by the congregation, facing the flag on the platform. The Pledge is usually led by the pastor or a boy scout or veteran, sometimes in uniform.
This is not only unfortunate; it is an anti-biblical disgrace.
There are several reasons why no one that treasures liberty, is familiar with American history, and knows the history behind the Pledge (an ad campaign to sell magazines) would waste his time saying the Pledge. I want to focus on one of them.
There are also several reasons why Christians that treasure liberty, are familiar with American history, and know the history behind the Pledge (written by a socialist minister) would waste his time saying the Pledge. Again, I want to focus on one of them.
In 2000, an atheist sued his daughter’s school district because he said that the words "under God" in the Pledge amounted to an unconstitutional establishment of religion. He lost.
After an appeal by the atheist parent, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2002 that the phrase in question was unconstitutional.
After an appeal by the school district, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that the father of the child lacked standing to file the lawsuit because his daughter’s mother had sole legal custody of her and that she was not opposed to her daughter reciting the Pledge. The ruling of the appeals court was then reversed.
In 2010, the same federal appeals court upheld the words "under God" in the Pledge in another case, ruling that the phrase does not constitute an establishment of religion.
The idea that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is ludicrous. As stated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its 2010 ruling:
Not every mention of God or religion by our government or at the government’s direction is a violation of the Establishment Clause.
We hold that the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the Establishment Clause because Congress’ ostensible and predominant purpose was to inspire patriotism and that the context of the Pledge – its wording as a whole, the preamble to the statute, and this nation’s history – demonstrate that it is a predominantly patriotic exercise. For these reasons, the phrase "one Nation under God" does not turn this patriotic exercise into a religious activity.
However, just because the phrase "under God" in the Pledge doesn’t violate the Constitution doesn’t mean that it belongs in the Pledge or, more importantly, that Christians should recite the Pledge.
One reason why Christians should not recite the Pledge is a simple one, and one that has nothing to do with patriotism or religion.
The United States is not a nation "under God."
The United States is in fact about as far from being "under God" as any country on the planet.
The United States leads the world in the incarceration rate, the total prison population, the divorce rate, car thefts, rapes, total crimes, illegal drug use, legal drug use, and Internet pornography production.
At least the United States is second to Russia when it comes to abortions.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, "nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion" and "twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion." There are over 1,700 abortion providers in the United States. And even worse, 37 percent of women obtaining abortions identify as Protestant and 28 percent as Catholic.
Only a madman would say that the United States is a nation "under God."
Oh, but the Pledge is just some words, some say, the reciting of which doesn’t really mean anything.
Then why say it? If the Pledge is just some words that don’t really mean anything, then it makes more sense not to say it than to say it.
The Pledge doesn’t say that the United States used to be one nation under God. It doesn’t say that the United States should be one nation under God. It says that the United States is one nation under God.
That is a lie.
Christians are not supposed to lie:
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds (Colossians 3:9)
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another (Ephesians 4:25)
Thou shalt not bear false witness (Romans 13:9)
Is it unpatriotic to not say the Pledge? It may be. But it is certainly right, Christian, and biblical not to.
Tags: christian libertarian, christian libertarianism, church, civil religion, nationalism, religious freedom, religious right, statism
This past monday, the Vatican’s Justice and Peace Department issued a statement condemning “idolatry of the market” and calling for a new world economic authority to manage crises in a more “fair” manner.
To me, it seems ironic to me that they would criticize “neo-liberal thinking” of trying to implement “technical solutions” to economic problems, then essentially propose a new central bank. I can’t think of anything more “technical” than forming a new state apparatus that has monopoly power over money itself. If anything, the statement shows a profound confusion about the nature of economic problems in the world and what must be done to solve them.
Tom Woods has been very busy these past few days writing response articles to this statement, and they are worth reading (especially if you’re not particularly familiar with the internals of the Catholic Church). Here are the links:
Idolatry of the Market at LewRockwell.com
Truth and Charity at Taki’s Magazine
Tags: catholicism, central banking, church, economics, free market, libertarianism
If I were to tell you that the condition of the Body of Christ in Afghanistan is dire, would you believe me? If I told you that the United States in militaristic bloodlust for vengeance went to another country, and as a result of its intervention decimated the churches of that country, would you take me seriously? Probably not, because how could you possibly believe it could be that bad.
But guess what. It’s worse.
CNS News reports that the U.S. State Department says there are now ZERO churches in Afghanistan. Every last one has been destroyed. Razed. Mowed down. Gone.
“The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s latest International Religious Freedom Report.” There are no longer any Christian schools either.
Ten years, uncountable thousands upon thousands of Afghani lives, seventeen hundred American lives, and $440 billion later, the United States government – those who said they would bring “freedom” and “justice” to the Middle East – have reaped what they sowed. Instead of bringing peace, they brought death and destruction via the longest prolonged conflict in American history. The new “government” that the American government and military forcibly installed with their puppets is even worse than the last.
How dare we ever say that this American government is motivated by “Christian” virtue! This government exists to pillage and destroy, and for Christians to support such folly is utterly ludicrous. War is antithetical to the Christian way of life; it is nothing more than mass murder executed by a gang of criminals – for that is indeed the nature of the State.
Pray for those few Christians left in Afghanistan, that they may flee from the terror wrought by Bush, Obama, and their subordinates. And if you, follower of Christ, still support this war, shame on you.
What would it take for you to reject war entirely? How about the complete and utter elimination of the church from a country? Would that do it?
Thank you, America, for driving every last vestige of desire for war from me.
Tags: Afghanistan, church, war, war on terror
Here is the first installment of Q&A Week, where we are exploring reader questions submitted to the Christian Libertarian FAQ. Cylons70 (awesome name, btw) has been wondering about churches that hold Christian libertarian positions…
I currently go to a non-denominational church (which is actually a denomination in itself). I was wondering if there is any church that specifically supports libertarian Christian beliefs?
As far as I know, there is no particular denomination that has Christian libertarian positions explicit in their doctrinal statement. However, the common thread of non-violence and anti-statism has been discussed in numerous theological traditions, from Baptists, to Lutherans, all the way to Churches of Christ (the tradition I grew up in). I would actually say that arguably the Churches of Christ and Anabaptist denominations have some of the strongest histories of libertarian leanings. For example, historically the Churches of Christ have held remarkably excellent anti-war positions, especially around the Civil War. Tolbert Fanning, David Lipscomb, and Alexander Campbell were major leaders in the Stone-Campbell Restorationist movements during that time and made great contributions to the anti-war movement. You can even see some of their writings in Tom Wood’s book, We Who Dared to Say No to War.
Have a question? Submit yours here.
Tags: christian libertarian, church, libertarianism
The Sunday before Memorial Day is not one of my favorites. The "patriotic" things that go on in churches in celebration or acknowledgment of Memorial Day are downright sickening.
Churches encourage their veterans to wear their military uniforms. Special recognition is given to those who "served." Prayers are offered on behalf of the troops, not that they would cease fighting foreign wars, but for God to keep them out of harm’s way and protect them. Mention is made of the troops defending our freedoms.
Churches decorate their grounds and the inside of their buildings with U.S. flags. Sometimes it is a few large flags hanging from the ceiling or adorning the walls. Sometimes it is many small flags stuck in the ground near the church entrance. Sometimes it is both. Some congregations are asked to recite the pledge of allegiance.
Churches sing hymns of worship to the state instead of hymns of worship about the person of Christ and his work. Songs like "My Country, ‘Tis of Thee," "America the Beautiful," "We Salute You, Land of Liberty," and "This Is My Country." Some churches go even farther and sing "God Bless the U.S.A." or "God Bless America." Too many churches sing the blasphemous "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
I know these practices are widespread because of the scores of people that have e-mailed me in disgust about what occurred in their churches on the Sunday before Memorial Day.
In most cases it is not even necessary to visit a church on the Sunday preceding Memorial Day to know what goes on inside. Just look at the sign outside of the church. Instead of a verse of Scripture or an announcement of an upcoming event, you are more likely to see some patriotic slogan, often with a Christian theme.
I have personally seen two signs this year that I find particularly offensive, not only to my Christian faith, but to reality:
Pray for the Troops,
God be with them.
The American soldier and Jesus Christ,
one gives his life for your freedom,
the other for your soul.
Yes, we should pray for the troops. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1 that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." But what should we pray? That God would bless the troops while they injure, maim, kill, and destroy property where they have no business being in the first place? That God would be with them while they wage unjust and immoral foreign wars? Since when does wearing a military uniform excuse killing someone you don’t know in his own territory that was no threat to any American until the U.S. military invaded and occupied his country? How about instead praying that the troops come home where they belong or that Christian families stop supplying cannon fodder to the military?
That Christ gave his life for our souls is indisputable, but do American soldiers give their lives for our freedoms? You know, the freedoms we have steadily lost since the troops starting defending our freedoms after 9/11? Has there been in American history any foreign war, military action, CIA covert action, or intervention of any kind in any country that was for the purpose of defending our freedoms mentioned in the Bill of Rights? Of course not. Not one Iraqi or Afghan killed by U.S. forces was ever a threat to our freedoms. The troops don’t defend our freedoms, and neither do they fight "over there" so we don’t have to fight "over here." And I can’t think of anything more blasphemous than mentioning Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace in the same breath as a U.S. soldier who unjustly bombs, maims, kills, and then dies in vain and for a lie.
It is time for Christians to slay the golden calf of the military. Christians should stop joining the military. They should stop encouraging their young men to enlist. They should stop being military chaplains and medics. American churches must be demilitarized.
It is a terrible blight on evangelical Christianity that our churches have sent more soldiers to the Middle East than missionaries. If Christians are so concerned about the threat of Islamofascism, then what better way to confront it than with the Gospel of Christ?
Originally posted on LewRockwell.com on May 30th, 2011.
Tags: Afghanistan, christian libertarian, Christianity, church, civic religion, Evangelicalism, iraq, militarism, violence, war, war on terror