Not Just Another "Bible-thumper."
I would think that my identity as a right-wing fanatic should be pretty clear. But no right-wingers will permit me to join their organizations, whether political or religious. I guess that makes me a "leftist." If you are afraid to read my web pages because you think I'm a member of the Radical Religious Right, relax. I am an anti-fascist, anarchist, pacifist, anti-American, Catholic Worker radical.
Although I long considered myself a Calvinist (and still do, at least theologically), I have to admit I was shocked to read the story of the "Left-wing" of the Reformation, the Anabaptists. The works of Leonard Verduin were recommended by Jon Zens, and with appropriate scepticism, I read them. It seems that traditional impressions of the Anabaptists were formed by reading the opinions of their detractors, rather than primary source documents. The Anabaptists were orthodox in their theology, often Calvinist, but their study of the Scriptures led them to challenge the church-state synthesis of their day. They believed it was inappropriate to use the sacrament of Baptism as in initiation into political citizenship, and so baptized themselves again as a Christian religious sacrament. The Reformers called for the execution of the Anabaptists for doing so. (Thus, even their name reflects the opinion of their opponents: "Ana" Baptist means "Re" baptizer -- but the "anabaptists" felt they were baptizing for the first time. History is always written by the conquerors, not the conquered.) My support of the Anabaptists resulted in my becoming a persona non grata in some Reformed circles. (Also the fact that I called the Reformers "fascists." Click here for more on that.)
Rushdoony and the Reconstructionists set a standard of political critique by urging Christians to deny the legitimacy of any political power which is not explicitly grounded in the Bible. The Bible does not give the State the power to conscript children for indoctrination, hence public schools were out. Welfare was also out. Roughly 98% of the current State does not have direct authorization in God's Law, according to the Reconstructionists.
That leaves courts and national defense. I began working with the Christian Conciliation Service of Orange County after reading the sixth chapter of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. "How dare you sue one another?" he asks. I eventually served on the Board of Directors, and discovered that the overwhelming majority of commercial disputes are resolved through arbitration, not the State's courts, and this tradition goes back to the middle ages, before the faircourts were absorbed by the State. In the Bible, disputes were arbitrated by the "elders," yet the "elders" in the church I attended vehemently disagreed with my proposal that we move toward a free market judicial system.
I also advocated free market defense systems, based on the same Biblical analysis, supported by the the same John Birch Society analysis of the conspiratorial use of the power of defense by the liberal establishment. I met with the same response.
Soon I began asking, "Where in the Bible does God command men to form a 'State?'" The answer is "nowhere," but that conclusion is too far to the right for most right-wingers. "Anarchists," and "pacifists" are clearly "left-wing," and need not be taken seriously, I guess.
In addition to the John Birch Society, my favorite right-wing anti-communist movement is the Catholic Worker Movement. In 1933, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin began publishing their response to the paper of the Communist Party, The Daily Worker. Their paper urged a rejection of Stalinist Industrialism and a return to the personalist agrarianism of the mission-building Franciscans of California. "Going to the right is the only way not to get left," Maurin proclaimed. The paper was called The Catholic Worker.
Today the movement is considered a "leftist" movement. It is, as I have discovered during the nearly ten years I have lived in a CW House of Hospitality. But like most Americans, most CW'ers are not in touch with their history. And Dorothy Day, the prolific writer-editor of the CW newspaper and convert from socialism, never fully assimilated the vision of Peter Maurin, her teacher.
In 1776, America proclaimed its right to an "equal station" among "the powers" of the earth. Colonial Tax-rebels began blowing away British revenue agents. Is this a Christian movement? I don't think so.
Although America was originally intended to be a New World of Christian Theocracies, that vision was repudiated for a vision of secular enlightenment. The California State Bar will not admit me to the practice of law, though I am otherwise qualified. My case is now in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The word "radical" means one who goes back to "the roots." For me the roots are in the Bible. If following the Bible makes me a "conservative," fine; if it makes me a "leftist," that's OK too. My goal is not to be approved by the Christian Coalition or the ACLU. My desire is to be approved by God.
I appreciate questions and comments. Please write me at Kevin4VFT@aol.com.
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