Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

As one reviews the current state of the American body politic, one sees a shrinking economy and an unravelling mess. The state seems very much to be undergoing a legitimization crisis. People are waking up and asking, What use is the state? The mask is coming off.

My mother grew up in one of the most statist of the American states. The church she attends is expanding its parking lot and even she feels that the rules and quotas about the size of the spaces and the number of islands and trees is a bit much. I am not sure how much progress this is for her thinking. Many will complain but also demonstrate a limited ability to learn from the past. The situation today in the United State is quite changed from the past. As Hauerwas observes ”

Now, after two centuries, the long-delayed outcome [of freedom of religion in America] has arrived. . . Establishment by law ended in the nineteenth century. Establishment by cultural domination ended in the twentieth” (Stanley Haurwas and his quoting of William Lee Miller in After Christendom, p. 73).

In spite of all the changed features of America 233 years after 1776, many well-meaning persons would still like to take us back to the days of this nation’s founding.

I understand. I admire the zeal. I was there not so long ago, and I don’t claim to have arrived. But my point is, that although the reality distortion field fails, its residual effects often remain.

It is a good thing that we begin to see through the dark veil of the state. But the state is not the only way to order society. A return to the hallowed days of the founding of America would set us up to run through in a similar way to a similar outcome to what we have today. We must do better. I am glad the reality distortion field is failing, but I would hope that we would not do that all again. People are sour because the principles of statism are stripping the economy of soundness. I would be more comfortable if statism were resisted on the basis of deeper principle.

In any case, the change in attitude is a good thing. We need to see through for there to be an increased potential for real change. Still, it will take more than anger at state overreaching to change our world. More than negative angst, we need positive principle. You, the reader, I invite to actually drill through, even deeper. One might discover that what we have today is (1) NOT government according to the Constitution, that (2) the Articles of Confederation were superior to the Constitution, and (3) an anarcho-capitalist society would be superior to even the earliest United States government.

In my next post I hope to carry this discussion into the religious realm with the question of a just ordering of the world.

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