Archive for statolatry
I have a confession to make. I have been accused of writing with an agenda. I hereby plead guilty. For those who are new to LewRockwell.com or to my writings and suspected that I had an agenda, your suspicions are confirmed.
Although I write about a lot of different things—abortion, libertarianism, the military, conservatism, the Republican Party, foreign aid, the minimum wage, discrimination, the war on drugs, vouchers, Social Security, Medicare, taxation, federalism, foreign policy, free trade, the Constitution, the free society, food stamps, government regulation, the U.S. empire, the state, gambling, theology, the U.S. government, English Bible history, the federal budget, war, economics, education, gun control, the welfare state, the warfare state, health care—I must confess that I do write with an agenda—an iconoclastic agenda.
My mission in life is to destroy anti-biblical Christian traditions about economics, politics, government, war, the military, and the state that are near and dear to the heart of many Christians, too many Christians. It doesn’t matter what their theological persuasion—Catholic, Baptist, Reformed, Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, Charismatic, Fundamentalist, Evangelical—there are enough of these anti-biblical traditions circulating for members of every group to have a handful.
Tags: Bible, christian libertarianism, Christianity, church, government, militarism, politics, statism, statolatry, war
I am not a pastor. I am not a minister. I am not a preacher. I am not a priest. I am not an evangelist. I am not an elder. I am not a deacon. I am not a reverend. I am not in the ministry. I am not ordained.
I am not complaining, and am honored to be addressed as such.
I only bring this up because, since I often write about Christian themes, I sometimes get e-mails in which I am addressed as Pastor Vance, Father Vance, Rev. Vance, or Preacher Vance. I also occasionally get e-mails in which reference is made to my church or my congregation or my ministry.
I am a conservative, Bible-believing Christian, and am no stranger to preaching, teaching, and church work, and have written a number of Christian books, but I don’t want to give people the impression that I am something I am not.
So, I am not a pastor; however, if I were a pastor, and if I did have a congregation to lead, there are some things that I would never allow to take place in the church on my watch. Here are seven of them.
First of all, if I were a pastor, there would be no flags of any kind on the platform, on the walls of the church, on a flagpole, stuck in the ground, or anywhere on the property. Not even on the Sunday before Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, or Veterans Day. And not even at a funeral for a veteran if held in the church. And not only would there be no American flag, there would also be no Israeli flag or “Christian” flag. But even if the church had an American flag on the platform because of years of following mindless tradition, I would not lead the congregation in the Pledge of Allegiance. I would, of course, point out that the Pledge was written by a socialist Baptist minister.
Second, if I were a pastor, there would be no hymns sung to or about the state. No “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” no “America the Beautiful,” no “We Salute You, Land of Liberty,” no “This Is My Country,” no “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” no “Star-Spangled Banner,” no “God Bless America,” no “God Bless the U.S.A.” And certainly not the blasphemous “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Not even on the Sunday before Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, and Veterans Day.
Third, if I were a pastor, there would be no invoking the Jewish wars of the Old Testament against the heathen as a justification for the actions of the U.S. government and its military. Just because God sponsored these wars, and used the Jewish nation to conduct them, does not mean that God sponsors American wars or that America is God’s chosen nation. The U.S. president is not God, America is not the nation of Israel, the U.S. military is not the Lord’s army, and the Lord God never sanctioned any Christian to go on a crusade, commanded him to war on his behalf, or encouraged him to kill, make apologies for the killing of, or excuse the killing of any adherent to a false religion.
Fourth, if I were a pastor, there would be no American statolatry. Romans 13 would never be invoked to justify support for the U.S. government and its wars. There would be no special September 11th commemoration service. The sins of America would not be downplayed because of blind nationalism or American exceptionalism.
Fifth, if I were a pastor, there would be no political activity. This means no Christian Coalition or Focus on the Family voting guides on the back table, no introducing local candidates who claim to be Christians, no promoting candidates, no promoting the Republican Party, no appeals to fax members of Congress about impending legislation, no running for office or encouraging others to do so, no voter registration drives, no reminding the congregation to vote, and certainly no letting the county use the church buildings as a polling place.
Sixth, if I were a pastor, there would be no special law enforcement appreciation days. State and local law enforcement personnel are just as aggressive, militarized, and on the lookout for victimless crimes as their federal counterparts. (See here for the latest outrages.) I would no sooner have an appreciation day for them than I would for FBI, TSA, and DEA agents. Law enforcement personnel would, of course, be welcome to attend services, they would just be encouraged to fight real crime instead of victimless crime, to not set up speed traps and sting operations, and to lay off the doughnuts.
And last, but not least, if I were a pastor, there would be no special recognition given to current or former members of the military. All veterans and active duty military personnel would, of course, be welcome to attend services, just as all pimps, prostitutes, pushers, and politicians would be welcomed. There would be no special military appreciation services. No veterans would be encouraged to wear their uniforms to church on the Sunday before Veterans Day. No veterans would be recognized on the Sunday before Veterans Day. I would instead briefly explain its origin as Armistice Day, and talk about the folly of World War I and how the United States was led into it by a sorry excuse for a Christian named Woodrow Wilson. Not only would I not introduce to the church any young person in the congregation who joined the military, I would actively persuade them from joining. As a pastor, I would be disappointed and ashamed if any young person in my congregation joined the military. There would be no prayers for the troops to be kept out of harm’s way while they defend our freedoms. There would instead be prayers that the troops didn’t harm anyone in an unjust war and that they would come home from foreign military interventions and overseas bases.
I don’t get very many invitations to speak in churches. Now you know seven reasons why.
Tags: Christian Right, Christian warmongering, Christianity, church, culture, society, statism, statolatry
This guest post is by LCC reader Paul Maitrejean.
Many Christians today are quick to leap to the defense of the current American regime. They will go to any length to defend its actions, particularly in the case of foreign policy and “culture” wars. On both sides of the aisle, Christians will throw their support behind virtually any politician of their particular political leaning regardless of his record, his words, or his current actions. Supporting without question the activities of the American government, particularly in foreign matters, has nearly become an unwritten prerequisite for being a Christian.
Amazingly, these Christians are supporting and swearing allegiance to among the most godless, cruel, greedy, murderous governments in history. When this is pointed out, though, the supporters of the State will cite Scripture in their defense – usually the oft-heard and badly-twisted Romans 13:1 – and they fall upon the dissenter like wolves. Is this the sort of mindset Jesus came among us to promote?
Tags: Bible, Christianity, government, render to caesar, Romans 13, statism, statolatry
We can thank Randy England, author of Free is Beautiful: Why Catholics Should be Libertarian, for this great little video on Romans 3:8 and government.
Tags: christian libertarianism, ethics, government, libertarism, statism, statolatry, The State
If you go to church at all you’ve probably heard the prayer requests: "Protect our troops in harm’s way," "Shield our men and women overseas from the enemy," "Keep our brave soldiers safe," "Defend our soldiers as they defend our freedoms." And even if you don’t attend church, you’ve seen the signs outside of business and on bumper stickers: "God bless our troops."
But does anyone ever stop and consider whether we should ask God to bless the troops?
The war Afghanistan, like the war in Iraq, is a monstrous evil. U.S. troops are not defending our freedoms, protecting America, upholding the Constitution, keeping us safe from terrorists, preserving our way of life, fighting them "over there" so we don’t have to fight them "over here," or any of the other blather that passes for reality now a days. To those on the receiving end of American bombs, missiles, and bullets in Afghanistan (and Pakistan, Yemen, etc.), U.S. troops are attackers, invaders, trespassers, occupiers, aggressors, and killers. I conclude with Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation that
after 10 years of invasion, occupation, torture, killings, incarcerations, renditions, assassinations, death, destruction, anger, hatred, and the constant threat of terrorist retaliation, it’s time to admit that the military invasion of Afghanistan, like that of Iraq, was horribly wrong.
And as much as Americans also don’t want to admit it, because these wars and military operations are unnecessary, immoral, and unjust, and U.S. troops have innocent blood on their hands.
Yet, I am sometimes told, even by opponents of current U.S. military actions, that it is the president, the politicians, the ruling class, the neoconservatives, the Joint Chiefs, the military brass, the defense contractors, and/or the Congress that should be blamed for these wars.
My detractors have forgotten one important group: the soldiers that do the actual fighting. They are the ones invading, occupying, torturing, killing, maiming, incarcerating, indefinite detaining, extraordinary renditioning, assassinating, destroying property, stirring up anger and hatred against the United States, and increasing the threat of terrorist retaliation – not the president, not the politicians, not the ruling class, not the neoconservatives, not the Joint Chiefs, not the military brass, not the defense contractors, and not the Congress.
That some joined the military out of a sense of patriotism after 9/11 or that some joined the military because they were deceived by a recruiter or that some joined the military out of ignorance of U.S. foreign policy or that some joined the military because they couldn’t find gainful employment still doesn’t change the fact that it is the soldiers who do the actual fighting.
Yes, they are pawns in the deadly game of U.S. foreign policy, but as free moral agents they are still responsible for their actions.
So, if it is true that current U.S. military actions are morally wrong, then it stands to reason that asking God to bless the troops would not only be an exercise in futility, but downright blasphemous. And if it is true that current U.S. military actions are morally wrong, then it also stands to reason that blessing the troops would be the last thing on God’s mind. I get this idea from reading Proverbs 6:16-19:
These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
We have all heard the slogan, "The Few, the Proud, the Marines." But is there anything the Marines are doing overseas that they or we should be proud of? There are the lies about defending our freedoms by fighting in Afghanistan or being stationed in Japan. There is the innocent blood being shed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are wicked imaginations being devised in retaliation against insurgents who killed occupying U.S. troops. There are feet swift in running to mischief that keep open the network of brothels surrounding U.S. bases overseas. There are false witnesses who kill civilians and retroactively declare them insurgents and a threat. There is discord sown among Americans over the actions of the military.
And it’s not just the Marines. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – they all take pride in their service just as Americans take pride in them. Americans greet the troops as conquering heroes in airports. They applaud them on airplanes and in sports arenas just for being in the military. They thank them for their service in the Post Office. They recognize them in church on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day, or on the Sunday before. And the troops stand up straight and stick their chest out and take it all in.
When was the last time a soldier who "served" in Iraq or Afghanistan came home and acknowledged that what was going over there was nothing short of criminal? Sure, it has happened. And I have had many current and former soldiers write me and say as much. But when was the last time one of the tens of thousands of soldiers who have returned from a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan publicly stated that he was not proud of his "service"?
Perhaps they are too concerned about their career, their rank, their next assignment, or their image? In today’s economy I almost can’t blame members of the military for remaining in, hanging around, lying low, and staying under the radar until retirement. I suspect that many soldiers come home with serious doubts about what they were doing in Iraq or Afghanistan and are even ashamed of what they did, but come home in such horrible shape – mentally, physically, and emotionally – that they just want to forget about it.
But there is a difference between staying under the radar until retirement and just being another government employee like a clerk at the Social Security Administration and going back to Afghanistan and being put in a position where you might shed more innocent blood, devise more wicked imaginations, engage in more mischief, spout more lies, witness more falsely, and sow more discord. Yet, many willingly return.
I have never said to not pray for the troops. But praying for the troops is not the same as asking God to bless the troops.
Pray that the troops don’t shed innocent blood. Pray that the troops don’t commit suicide. Pray for pastors to stop recommending military service to their young people. Pray for Christian families to stop supplying cannon fodder to the military. Pray that the troops come home. Pray that young people find employment instead of join the military. Pray for the end of military recruiters preying on young, impressionable students. Pray for an end to senseless foreign wars. Pray for an end to the U.S. empire of troops and bases that encircles the globe.
Oh, there are many things regarding the troops to pray for, but God blessing the troops should not be one of them.
Originally posted on LewRockwell.com on July 4, 2012.
Tags: church, culture, ethics, militarism, peace, prayer, statolatry, theology, war