Religion and Morality vs. The Sword
Part 2


During the 20th century, the State murdered nearly 10,000 people per day, on average, or legalized, subsidized, or otherwise approved of those murders. It can only be hoped that those living in the 21st century will see that the greatest idolatry in Western Civilization was the belief that the State is morally justified and pragmatically necessary for the maintainance of social order.

Paul Johnson 
"God and the Americans" 
The American Jewish Committee 
Commentary Magazine, January 1995, p.32 

2. The Moral Theology of the Melting Pot 

Alexis de Tocqueville in his Democracy in America, published in 1835, said that the first thing which struck him in the United States was the attitude of, and toward, the churches. At first he found it almost incredible:

In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of  freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other: but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country. 

He added: "Religion must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of [the United States]; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions." And Americans, he concluded, held religion "to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions." 

America's most typical churches tended to look back from the 19th century straight to the New Testament, dismissing the totalitarianism of the Middle Ages and the age of religious wars as nightmares which had little to do with true religion. They refused to associate Christianity with compulsion in any form. The assumption of the voluntary principle, the central tenet of American Christianity, was that the personal religious convictions of individuals, freely gathered in churches and acting in voluntary associations, would gradually and necessarily permeate society by persuasion and example. Thus the world was seen primarily in moral terms. 

 
Extract from the Message of President Jefferson, December 2, 1806.

"The question now comes forward, To what objects shall surpluses be appropriated, and the whole surplus of impost, after the entire discharge of the public debt, and during those intervals when the purposes of war shall not call for them? Shall we suppress the impost, and give that advantage to foreign over domestic manufactures? On a few articles of a more general and necessary use, the suppression, in due season, will doubtless be right; but the great mass of the articles on which impost is paid are foreign luxuries, purchased only by those who are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them. Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance, and application to the great purposes of public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of federal powers. By these operations, new channels of communication will be opened between the states; the lines of separation will disappear; their interests will be identified, and the union cemented by new and indissoluble ties. Education is here placed among the articles of public care. Not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal; but a public institution alone can supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation.
Jonathan Elliot, ed., Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Published under the Sanction of Congress (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1901) Vol. 4, p.349

Jefferson believed the union would be served by better communication, which only the feds could ensure. He was wrong. Capitalism has increased communication far more than the government has. The Founding Fathers believed that the Federal Government should run the post office. They were wrong.

They were right in believing that government control should be resorted to on only extraordinary occasions. They were wrong in believing these extraordinary occasions ever occurred; that there was ever a time when a Christian people could not accomplish necessary social functions through voluntary associations and networks.

When two men each believe they are God, no communication is possible.
What enhances communication, commerce, and cooperation is not socialism, a class war mentality, and taxing the rich, it is Christian morality. 
This is what made America great, not the State. 
Christianity and freedom, not secularism and socialism.

The superiority of UPS and FedEx over the USPS is obvious to all. The only thing less essential to social order and economic prosperity than government intervention is government monopoly.

New Hampshire Constitution, Art 1, sec. 6, "Bill of Rights" 

As morality and piety rightly grounded on evangelical principles will give the best and greatest security to government and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to due subjection; and as the knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through a society by the institution of the public worship of the Deity and of public instruction in morality and religion; therefore, to promote these important purposes, the people of this State have a right to empower, and do hereby fully empower, the legislature to authorize, from time to time, the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies within this State to make adequate provision at their own expense for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality.

 

 

A prosperous Free Market depends on "the strongest obligations of due subjection" to morality in the hearts of men. It is not the State which inculcates this willingness to abide by Christian principles in the course of our economic activities.

   

 



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