Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ Category

You lie!

Don’t say it. The guvmnt—lie? During president Obama’s recent speech, representative Joe Wilson shouted out “You lie!” He has since apologized. But let’s be clear. Coercer Obama lied, undoubtedly, concerning a number of things, and coercer Wilson, on this occasion, to make political hay, told the truth, but then apologized for telling the truth, at least in the manner that he did it. Politics is not hard to figure out. It is the main gang of coercers versus the other main gang of coercers. The presently dominant coercers get to coerce just somewhat more than the gang of out-of-power coercers. And year after year more than 300 million people not only put up with it, but they call this the American way, and their eyes tear up when the state idol, the star-spangled banner, is put on parade.

Most citizens are voluntarily party to the farce of the state. We participate in it, and so we justify it as being good. It must be good, for we are involved, eh? When elections are presented before them, most dutifully go and pull the lever for one party or the other. Because they voted for the present coercers, they think they have the right to complain about the coercion. If they hear that you did not vote, you did not participate in the circus, they say that you have no right to complain about the coercing. They lie. (And they have a poor understanding of logic!)

We should determine whether we wish to be party to all this. If the answer is no, then we should withdraw our fealty from the state. We can reduce its footprint in our lives a great deal without directly confronting it. We can choose to be free men and women. We can refuse to grant the state its sheen of legitimacy. But after a lifetime of being surrounded by the all-powerful state, after years of education in state schools where we learned how good the USA is and how it carries the torch of freedom from coercion on behalf of the world, we have somewhat of a project in reeducating ourselves.

But if we do not reeducate ourselves, we will soon find that we lie too. We will join the liar-in-chief. We will begin to voluntarily strip our own children and grandchildren of their wealth and their freedoms. We will subject them to state schools and all the juicy “the state is good” programming. We’ll mess with their heads. We will perpetuate the myths.

The president is the leader of the national gang, 300 million liars. As far as the state goes, once we have seen its fallacies, it would be well, that is to say, moral, for us to exit the lemming horde. Hauerwas nailed it: we need to learn how to tell a counter story to the commonly accepted story of the United State and all the presumptions that underwrite the supposed necessity for what we call the nation-state system (See Stanley Hauerwas, After Chistendom, p. 150).

Interesting juxtaposition

From blog:

…with this…

Nice pan/reveal starting around 28 seconds. But start at the beginning and let it run through to it.

Obama and the “National Day of Prayer”

The president is doing something right. OK, half right. He is reducing presidential promotion of a “National Day of Prayer.” See here:

On the other hand (the reason we only give him “half” here), he is issuing a presidential proclamation designating May 7, 2009 a “National Day of Prayer.” His political foes, of course, are apoplectic about his “lack of support” for Christianity. Actually, the further apart the state and the church stay, the better for both. Close association corrupts both parties.

Imagine a proclamation by Caesar that there would be a “National Day of Prayer” happening in the time of Christ. How do we think Jesus would respond? Would He be ecstatic, or wary? What need the church of a declaration of a day of prayer by a secular or pagan state? Ellul is right:

Jesus . . . treated power with disdain and did not accord it any authority. In every form he challenged it radically” (Jacques Ellul, Anarchy and Christianity, p. 56).

If Ellul does not suit us, how about Thomas Jefferson in 1808:

Sir,—I have duly received your favor of the 18th and am thankful to you for having written it, because it is more agreeable to prevent than to refuse what I do not think myself authorized to comply with. I consider the government of the U S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the U.S. Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority. But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting & prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the U.S. an authority over religious exercises which the Constitution has directly precluded them from. It must be meant too that this recommendation is to carry some authority, and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not indeed of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of proscription perhaps in public opinion. And does the change in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation the less a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed? I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct it’s exercises, it’s discipline, or it’s doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting & prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, & the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the constitution has deposited it.

I am aware that the practice of my predecessors may be quoted. But I have ever believed that the example of state executives led to the assumption of that authority by the general government, without due examination, which would have discovered that what might be a right in a state government, was a violation of that right when assumed by another. Be this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U S. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.

I again express my satisfaction that you have been so good as to give me an opportunity of explaining myself in a private letter, in which I could give my reasons more in detail than might have been done in a public answer: and I pray you to accept the assurances of my high esteem & respect. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to letter to Rev. Samuel Miller, from Washington, January 23, 1808; Merrill D. Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: Writings, New York: Library of America, 1994, pp. 1186-1187. )

I will not observe the proclamation. Like Daniel, I will persist in my pattern of prayer regardless of the state (Daniel 6:10).

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