A New State Agency: Department of Ecclesiastical Subordination

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Faith-based” alliances and partnerships are all the rage.  Since January 2001 when George W. Bush — within days of being sworn in as president — created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (later renamed the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships), the lure of federal money to assist in community assistance programs has been irresistible.  Churches and non-profits have lined up to take the king’s nickel, forgetting that there are government-mandated “strings” attached to that nickel.

In my home state of Arizona, the state agency responsible for administering welfare, “child safety,” job training, unemployment, senior, family and other social services is the Department of Economic Security.  The DES.

Last week, Gov. Jan Brewer signed an executive order creating a new state agency: the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships.  It is modeled after the federal program, which Barack Obama renewed in February 2009 — again, shortly after being sworn in as president.  (Government control of churches and charities seems to be a high priority with these newly-elected presidents!)

I suggest a new name for this new state agency:

Department of Ecclesiastical Subordination

Its mission: to protect you from unwanted unconstitutional abuses like… being presented the Gospel and quoted inspirational Scripture verses by church workers or rank-and-file Christian volunteers who overstep their statutory bounds by inadvisedly sharing their faith with the people they serve in the context of showing their faith to the people they serve, while they are engaged in providing state-supported, publicly-funded social services.

It’s for your own good, you know. Separation of Church and State.  Establishment of Religion and all that.

If I were a pastor or church worker, I wouldn’t worry one whit about the state controlling what I say or what I do while I’m “on duty” administering state-supported, publicly-funded social services.  Nope.  I would simply tell that poor mother or handicapped person or jobless or homeless person, “Sorry, Charlie (or Charlene), I know I’m a Christian.  But since I’m helping you here using your hard-earned (or not) taxpayer dollars, I have to play by the unbiblical, religiously intolerant rules.  I can’t say a single syllable that might be construed (by government or ACLU or SCA lawyers) as being “religious” or proselytizing, or else — BAM! — no more tax money.

And we can’t have that.

Better for you to be warmed and fed and spiritually-deprived than for us to violate agency rules and not gain more tax money!   This is called high finance for high callings.

Cainsian Economics

How does this work?  It’s really very simple.  Let’s say you’re pastoring a church that has a legacy of helping the poor and “underprivileged” in the community.  But, the economy being what it is, you’ve fallen on hard times.  Giving is down.  Building projects and expansions are up.  The needs are there.  The means to meet them are not.  What do do?

“Partner” with the state.  Of course!

In exchange for some free tax money, you get to dole out services and shut your mouth.  They’re not paying you to talk about Jesus and all that Christian stuff.   They’re paying you to be the hands and feet of the state.  Do good unto others, but don’t talk about Him who is good.  They want the works without the faith.  It’s the American way.

Why do Christians accept this? Why do Christians believe this?

Because they have been fed a steady diet of artificially-flavored, theologically-homogenized evangelicalism.

Because they have refused the solid teaching, the strong meat-and-potatoes of covenantally-robust, historically-orthodox biblical theology.

Because they have sat under preaching and worshipped in churches that believe in “no creed but Christ; no law but love”: antinomianism.  Pietism.  A perfect recipe for swallowing bad ideas wrapped in good intentions.

And because they have, for the most part, been “educated” in the public school system — a rigorously atheistic, pro-government, pro-socialist system that Christians overwhelmingly support and put their own kids through.  But I digress. (But maybe I don’t.)

This kind of “partnership” is rightly called, Faith-Based Fascism.  Churches get some extra money.  Along with an extra muzzle.  The state gets more useful idiots to do its bidding.  And Christians get to feel like they’re “in the game” and “have a seat at the table.”

Seat at the table? What’s for dinner?  Your faith and religious freedom of speech, that’s what!

If your pastor thinks this is a good idea, tell him that it isn’t.

SCOTUS and God’s Law: Not By THAT Standard!

same-sex-marriageDespite the hue and cry this past week over the most recent landmark Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriages, the harsh truth of it is this: the Supreme Court of the United States last week did not do anything differently from what it has been doing for the past 223 years (since its inception in 1790) — ruling and deciding on cases brought before it based on a homogenous, humanistic standard of interpretation that is deliberately and scrupulously compounded from sources NOT based on the biblical laws and precepts of the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture.

Were you surprised by the hubris of those five men and women in sober black robes who voted in favor of it?

You shouldn’t be.

Surprised by the fact that, of the nine men and women who sit on the Court, six are Roman Catholic and three are Jewish — even as both of these “traditional” religions ostensibly and officially denounce the practice of homosexuality?

You should be.

But, then again, maybe you shouldn’t be surprised.

It depends on three things: whether or not you believe a person’s religious faith and personal beliefs should influence his decisions and actions as a political, or in this case judicial, figure; whether or not you believe Supreme Court decisions are always legally (constitutionally) binding and therefore to be followed and enforced in any and all cases; and, whether or not you believe the Supreme Court indeed has the last word on deciding so-called constitutional issues such as this one, and is the supreme “law of the land.”

Whose Law Is It Anyway?

If you’re a theonomist, consistent Calvinist or, heaven forbid, a full-on Christian Reconstructionist, you appreciate ethical and moral dilemmas like this one, and you should find this brief, three-part quiz to be a cinch to answer.

First, should a political or judicial figure’s decisions and actions be influenced and informed by his personal beliefs and religious faith?

Of course!  Are they any different from the rest of us who live and work in God’s economy in various capacities of leadership and spheres of influence under the rule and dominion of Christ?  A Christian magistrate should rule first and foremost as a Christian.  A Christian judge should decide cases first and foremost as a Christian.  (We have a nice “church-word” for people who profess one thing and live out (or promote and defend) another: hypocrite!)

The problem is, unless your faith and personal beliefs tell you that, (a), there is no neutrality — it is never a question of law or no law, but rather whose law — and, (b), God’s law has continuing validity and authority in our lives today despite what antinomians, most evangelicals and, frankly, most Christians say to the contrary, then your faith is truncated and based on the shifting sands of an inconsistent, non-covenantal theology.

Two, are ALL Supreme Court decisions to be considered “binding” and thus enforced and obeyed and respected by citizens and presidents (who are also citizens) alike in all cases?

Not by a long shot!

American history is replete with examples of presidents and politicians (and civilians and military) who disregarded and ignored — or threatened to ignore — Supreme Court decisions which they did not agree with.  But there is a difference between disregarding and ignoring for political or expedient reasons and doing so for sound theological, moral and doctrinal reasons.

As theonomically-inclined, historically and biblically-informed Christians (who tend to be somewhat more “liberty-minded” and politically astute than others in the same demographic!), we are empowered and even duty-bound to disregard and ignore, or at least challenge, criticize and (publicly) denounce court decisions — or laws for that matter — that blatantly and explicitly VIOLATE SCRIPTURE and force Christians to do likewise by imposing either unbiblical requirements or unbiblical sanctions and restrictions.

That point should lead us to a lengthy discussion of “Christian resistance” and the proper interpretation of Romans 13… But not right now!

Third, does the Supreme Court have “the last word” on deciding constitutional issues and questions?

No, the Supreme Court does not have the last word on deciding constitutional issues and questions, despite all appearances to the contrary.

Not even the venerable U.S. Constitution says anywhere (including Article III) that the Supreme Court has the power of judicial review (let alone the lofty position of “judicial supremacy”).  This is simply a “well-established precedent” (much like the well-established precedent of following and enforcing decisions of denominational assemblies on similar issues!) that we have all come to assume is, by virtue of custom and tradition, “the way things ought to be.”

Who’s In Charge?

So, we are back to the question originally posed by Rushdoony in his 1958 book, “By What Standard?”

We know the answer.  The biblical laws of the Old and New Testaments.

The problem is, most of the country does not believe this, most CHRISTIANS do not believe this.  Hardly anyone in Congress or on Capitol Hill and no one in the Oval Office believes it.  Certainly no one sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court believes it.  (They haven’t believed it for at least 225 years!)

Where does that leave us?

It leaves is with a political system that has been hijacked at the top, manipulated clear down to the bottom, and corrupted everywhere in between.  It leaves us with an executive branch that behaves less and less like the “servant-leadership” that Jesus and the Scriptures exemplify, and more and more like the tyranny, oligarchy and unbridled monarchy that Samuel warned Israel about.  It leaves us with a legislative branch that promotes an intransigent and intractable bureaucracy which exists to satisfy every whim of the electorate and take away all the “uncertainties” and exigencies of life, carefully placing its demands on the rest of us while carefully exempting and enriching the law-makers and their cronies.  It leaves us with a judicial branch that autonomously judges man-made laws by other man-made laws and seemingly acts with “no controlling legal (or moral) authority” other than itself.

Sadly, as long as the money machine of taxpayers (church-going, Bible-reading and otherwise) and their central bank masters keeps churning out financial and electoral support for this unbiblical system of political-messianic programs, unscriptural laws and unchristian policies and practices, we can continue to expect more of the same.

How Shall We Then Reform?

We have an enormous library and burgeoning body of literature, including online and offline resources and media at our disposal, including an “action manual” now that gives us clear direction and concrete, historically and biblically-validated steps to take.

This is good, because correcting more than two centuries of political and judicial apostasy is no short-term project and will not be an easy task.

So, Christians, let’s get busy.  We have a LOT of work to do!